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Dec 16, 2017

Champagne Babas

Babas are little yeasted pastries that resemble little chef's hats.

Champagne Babas

Babas are made with a dough enriched with butter and eggs, and then soaked in a boozy syrup (usually rum) and then topped with an apricot jam glaze.

Sometimes they are filled with rum soaked raisins or currants, and finished with whipped cream or pastry cream. They'd also be wonderful served with fresh berries.

This month, the Bread Baking Babes are baking babas with champagne. Our host kitchen, Lien of Notitie van Lien, is helping us celebrate the season with this festive recipe.

Champagne Babas

I baked these babas in 3 inch panettone papers, but you can make these in custard cups, muffin tins, or even mini muffin tins. If you have a popover pan, that would work great too.

Evidently, the name "baba" comes from Ali Baba of the story 1001 Arabian Nights. This story was a favorite of the baba's inventor, the Polish King Stanislas Leszczynski. While exiled in France, he added rum to the region's cakes because he thought the French cakes were too dry (source: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan).

These are pretty easy to make. The hardest part is dividing the dough among the molds, as the dough is almost batter-like but very stretchy from the developed gluten. I used two tablespoons to lift and drop the dough into the molds. You could also use oiled hands to portion the dough.

Champagne Babas

I had some leftover soaking syrup, and it made delicious simple syrup with the hint of sparkling wine flavor. It was delicious in cocktails.

Champagne Babas

For a full-sized baba soaked in rum, be sure to check out Baba au Rhum

After the recipe, be sure to check out the links to the rest of the Bread Baking Babes' Babas.

Yield: 6 Small Babas - 12 mini Babas

Champagne Baba


  • 100 grams water
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 100 grams bread flour
Final Dough
  • All of the sponge
  • 180 grams bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 90 grams melted and cooled butter
Soaking syrup
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 150 grams water 
  • 120 grams champagne, cava, or prosecco (I used cava)
Apricot Glaze and Finishing
  • 85 grams apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons of the soaking syrup
  • Prepared whipped cream


  1. Mix the sponge ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Cover the mixture with the 180 grams of bread flower from the final dough. 
  3. Let the sponge rest for about an hour. 
Final Dough
  1. Add the salt, yeast, sugar, and eggs to the same bowl, and mix with the paddle attachment until it comes together and is smooth, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Add the melted butter and keep mixing to develop the gluten. The final dough should be smooth and elastic, and very sticky. Do not add more flour. 
  3. Spray six 3-inch mini panettone molds, or 12 mini muffin cups or small molds with spray oil. Divide the dough among the molds, about half way (no more), and cover loosely with plastic wrap. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Let the dough rise to just below the top of the molds, about 45 to 60 minutes. 
  5. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the bread reaches an interior temperature of 195 to 200 degrees F. 
  6. Cool the babas in the molds for about 5 minutes, and then remove them from the molds and cool completely. 
  7. Store the unsoaked babas wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature until ready to soak and fill. They can also be well wrapped and frozen for up to a month. 
To Soak and Serve
  1. Bring the sugar and water to a boil and cook until all of the sugar has dissolved. Add the champagne, bring to a simmer, and remove from the heat. 
  2. Carefully pour the syrup into a wide shallow heatproof dish, and place the babas into the syrup, and spoon the syrup over the tops. You can also poke a few holes through the babas with a toothpick or cake tester so that more syrup gets into the cakes. 
  3. Using a slotted spoon, move the babas to a wire rack over a baking sheet to drain. Most of the syrup should be absorbed into the cakes. 
  4. Using a food processor or hand blender, blend the apricot jam. Add two or three tablespoons of the soaking liquid, and heat the jam until warm, and then spoon over the babas. 
  5. If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days (they are best served the day they are made). When ready to serve, prepare your favorite whipped cream recipe, and pipe it into the the middle of or on the side of the babas. 
The Babes are:
Champagne Babas

Would you like to comment?

  1. Oh they turned out so adorable! I just love those little panettone papers. And the jam looks so lovely on top.

  2. So creative! Did you know I've never had a baba? not the traditional, not any variation - very intriguing

    as you know, I've been on a panettone kick, so these could be a very nice new thing to try on a similar path

    loved it....

    1. Thanks Sally! Your panettone is stunning by the way.

  3. Little panettone paper moulds, that is a great idea! Never thought of that (and I have them in store). Love the presentation, cream in the middle and the 'head' next to it, lovely. I wonder how you could have any syrup left over, mine could have done with more if I had some....
    I think these little one have a high "cute"factor!

    1. I might have been a little shy with the syrup, but we saved some to spoon over the insides when serving.
      Thanks for the kind words and great recipe!

  4. Fresh berries - what a lovely spring treat that would be! They looks so pretty - and festive. Happy Holidays!

  5. This traditional shape certainly is perfect for the syrup and I love the top cut off and then the whip cream top! Totally slap my forehead for not thinking "I used two tablespoons to lift and drop the dough into the molds. You could also use oiled hands to portion the dough." I'm adding that to my record of this recipe.
    Thanks for that history as well. I really like the idea of raisin stuffing would my husband.

    1. Thanks Tanna. I definitely want to try it with boozy fruit!

  6. We love babas so much! And this one, with champagne, is so festive!!! What a recipe! KU-DOS dear Karen!!!

  7. Oooh!! So THAT'S how it's done - with panetonne papers! We baked ours in muffin tins (no straight sides) so they didn't end up being shaped like Chefs' hats. They were good though.

    Yours look fabulous. I love the way the apricot jam looks like molten lava. And how clever of you to cut them in half to put the cream in the center and have the hats at an angle. Lovely!

  8. Karen, your babas look divine and the photos are superb as usual! I love the chef's hats! I agree the hardest pat was dividing them among the papers, but it was so worth it.


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