There are few gifts greater than the gift of booze — whether you’re handing over a bottle of something nice with a big bow on it, or slipping it into someone’s main dish or dessert. This Christmas, we’re doing the latter, and boozing up a bundt cake.
This traditional cake will kill a few different holiday birds with one stone. You have stuff to do with the in-laws during the day, you have to a buy a bottle of rum so it won’t look weird when you are chugging alcohol all day (you’re taste-testing for the recipe!), and you get to light it all on fire when it’s done, making you a hero to nephews and father-in-laws alike. Like many classic desserts, there are tons of similar recipes for this dish out there but what makes ours unique is the use of two different kinds of chocolate. By mixing a higher percentage and a lower percentage chocolate you will add complexity to the dessert and the different chocolates will interact differently with the flavors of the rum.
The trick to this dessert is the yeast. It will help create bubbly pockets that will absorb the rum syrup, which ensures that the cake will soak up as much rum as possible. And any dish that has the step “now light it all on fire” is a recipe worth keeping around.
Baba Au Rhum
For the cake:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 (¼ ounce) package active dry yeast
4 large eggs
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
10 tablespoons soft butter (plus more to coat the bundt pan)
¼ cup of 70 percent or higher dark chocolate chips
¼ cup of lower than 70 percent chocolate chips
For the syrup:
¾ cup dark brown sugar
A few inches long hunk of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into cubes
3 strips orange peel
1 tablespoon orange juice
4 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
¾ cup rum, divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup
Begin by placing the sugar in a stand mixer. Add about a half cup of warm water (but not too hot) and stir to incorporate. Add the yeast and let it come to life for about 10 minutes; you should see foam and smell the yeast. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each to blend. Continue beating the mixture and add the flour in a few different phases, allowing the mixture to come to together after each addition. Add the sea salt and butter, cutting off tablespoon-sized cubes one by one.
Cover the bowl, place it in a warm spot and leave the dough alone for 1 hour, allowing it time to rise. In the meantime, take a few tablespoons of butter and grease your bundt pan. Add a little over half the dough to the bundt pan. Then, sprinkle the chocolate chips in the center, careful not to let the chips touch the pan. Gently pour the other half evenly on top of the chips. Cover it and set in a warm place to, again, allow it to rise for one hour. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the cover and place the bundt pan in the oven for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the pan to cool for 15 minutes and then invert the pan on a cooling rack to remove the cake from the mold.
In a sauce pan combine the ingredients for the syrup except for the rum. Bring to a low boil, stir to combine the ingredients and melt the sugar. Turn the burner off and gently mix in the ½ cup of rum. Pour the syrup all over the top of the cake. Place the cake on a separate platter. Place the remaining ¼ cup rum in a saucepan.
Using a grill lighter, light the rum on fire. While it is lit, carefully pour the rum onto the cake to ignite the syrup and set the whole thing ablaze. Allow the alcohol to cook and let the fire go out naturally. Slice the cake and serve with vanilla ice cream.