Pastry Post-Doc in Italy: Rum Baba – Babà from Naples

The Rum Babà is one of the iconic desserts of Naples. A Babà is a small yeast cake absolutely soaked in a Rum syrup. If made right, the cake should practically be swimming it it. So definitely not a treat for the faint of heart! Unlike Sfogliatelle, Babà are a French import (which was originally a riff off of babka cakes), and were transported to Naples by French chefs. Renowned chef Alain Ducasse even has a signature Rum Baba dessert (recipe here). But don’t tell a Neapolitan that! Even the most humble shop in Naples will have a little pile of these liquor-soaked brioche-esque goodies along with other cafe offerings. Typical Neapolitan Babà are shaped like popovers – and come in individual portions – though you can get fancy and make a Babà cake to serve many people. Babà are usually served plain, but as you can see below, you might also encounter mini or cream-filled varieties. For an even more Neapolitan experience – how about a Babà soaked in Limoncello?

Varieties of Rum Baba (and friends) in Naples

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