The Baba Mold, also called the Mafter Mold, is a utensil used to make the Baba Cake, a traditional European pastry. The dessert is particularly popular in Poland, but it is also served in other places as far as the Eurasian country Turkey.
The Baba Cake is usually thought to have originated from Russia and then carried over to other parts of Eastern Europe. There are a number of stories that purport to explain the Baba Cake’s origin. The most popular account has it that a Polish king was eating a pastry called a Kugelhopf, which had already gone stale. In order to give it back some flavor, the king dipped the kugelhopf into rum. The king apparently liked the way that the rum-dipped cake tasted, and a new pastry recipe was born.
Properly known as "Baba au rhum," the Baba Cake has been known under many names in the various countries where it has been served. It is known among the Poland and France as “Babka,” and is perhaps where its more common designation was derived from. In Turkey, it has been referred to as the “Father’s Cake.” There have also been variations in the Baba cake recipe, such as the French “Savarin,” which is baked in a large ring-shaped mold.
The ingredients for the basic Baba Cake recipe are ¾ cup of raisins or currants, 2 ¼ cups of bread flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of yeast, 2 tablespoons of warm water, salt, 4 eggs, ½ cup of softened butter, 4 1/3 cups of water, 2 ¼ cups of sugar, and some rum. The materials needed are a spatula, and of course, some Baba Molds.
To start, the ¾ cup of raisins or currants is soaked in rum to infuse them with the rum’s flavor. Then, the 2 ¼ cups of bread flour are to be mixed with 2 tablespoons of sugar, along with 2 teaspoons of yeast that are dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water, and add a dash of salt. Add 4 eggs into the flour mixture (one egg at a time), and beat the resulting dough using a spatula. Add ½ cup of softened butter, knead the dough until it smoothens and becomes flexible, then put the soaked raisins into the mix, saving the rum for later.
One has the option of either dividing the kneaded dough (placing each portion into separate oiled Baba Molds), or stuffing the dough into one large oiled ring-shaped mold. As the oven is being pre-heated to a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, allow the Baba cake to rise until its size has doubled enough to fill the Baba molds. Place the cake in the oven, allow it to bake for a period of 15 to 20 minutes, then leave it on a rack to cool afterwards. Make a sugar syrup by boiling a mixture of 4 1/3 cups of water and 2 ¼ cups of sugar. Glaze the cake with the syrup, followed by a sprinkle of rum, and the Baba Cake is ready for serving.
Essential in giving the Baba Cake its form, the Baba Mold is made from either steel or aluminum, ideally with a non-stick coating on its interior to make it easy to remove the cake after baking. It comes available in a variety of sizes, from as tall as 1.5-2.5 in. and ranging in diameter from 1.75-2.5 in, capable of holding as much as 4-6 oz.