Cranberry Baba Cakes
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 cup orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier), optional
- Melted butter, for brushing molds plus 4 tablespoons room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 package yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar, plus 2 cups for syrup
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- Whipped cream, for serving
Put the cranberries and orange liqueur (or 1 cup warm water) into a small bowl and set aside. Brush 12 baba molds, a popover pan, or a muffin tin with melted butter and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast, sugar, and egg. Using the paddle attachment, stir in the flour until incorporated. Mix on medium speed for 6 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once. Add butter and mix on medium speed until incorporated, about 2 to 3 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for about 15 to 20 minutes, it just needs to rise a bit not double in volume. Drain the cranberries (reserve the soaking liquid) and mix into the dough with a spatula or wooden spoon. Fill the baba molds (or popover pan or muffin tin) half full with batter. Let rise in a warm spot until the dough fills the molds, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the babas for 20 to 25 minutes or until the tops are a deep golden brown. Remove from molds, put babas onto a rack set over a sheet pan, and allow them to cool completely.
Bring 2 cups sugar and 4 cups water to a boil. Boil for 1 minute and remove from the heat; stir in the reserved soaking liquid and the orange flower water. Using tongs or a spoon, place the babas, 1 at a time, into the sugar syrup. Hold them under until the air bubbles stop coming out of the cakes, about 5 to 10 seconds. Drain on the rack; you can recycle the syrup that accumulates in the sheet pan. Warm the marmalade and brush it onto the tops of the babas. To serve, split open and top with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream.