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Italian Rum Baba: the classic dessert recipe for Neapolitan rum baba

Total time: 180 Min
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 10 people
By Cookist


Manitoba flour or strong white flour
300 g
butter, softened
50 g
Granulated sugar
20 g
a pinch
Active Dry Yeast
1/2 sachet about 3.5 g
for the decoration
450 ml
200 ml
Granulated sugar
190 g
Lemon peel
Whipped cream

The Italian rum baba, or babà al rum, is a typical dessert of the Neapolitan tradition. It is a leavened sponge cake which is baked in a classic fluted mold – or in individual aluminum cups for the single-portion version – and then generously soaked in a sticky, citrus-scented rum syrup.

Neapolitan rum baba is a soft, moist dessert with a markedly alcoholic taste, which can be decorated with whipped cream, custard and fresh fruit. With a melting texture and an irresistible flavor, you can find it in any Italian pastry shop and serve it whenever you want.

Rum baba it is a sweet treat of French origin that was imported to Naples in the 19th century by monsù, cooks trained in France who worked for wealthy Neapolitan families. Now it is one of the dessert symbols of the regional tradition, along with sfogliatella, pastiera and zeppole.

For an impeccable result, it is important to use fresh, good quality ingredients. Separate and beat the cold eggs during the mixing phases and gradually incorporate them as the mixture absorbs them. Only by waiting patiently for the right moment you will be able to achieve the perfect texture.

The rum baba will repay you for the efforts made and you will bring to the table a delicacy that will conquer even the most demanding guest.

Tips for making Babà al Rum

You can make a single rum baba cake or individual portions using appropriate molds.

Like all traditional recipes, there are different variants and each family has its own secret version.

For a different recipe, you can replace baba with limoncello.

Instead of whipped cream, you can decorate rum baba with diplomat cream, or chocolate.

How to store Neapolitan Rum Baba

The Neapolitan baba can be stored in the refrigerator, covered with a sheet of cling film, for 1-2 days.

Freezing is not recommended.

How to make Italian Rum Baba

Open 3 eggs in a bowl and 3 in another 1.

Beat them in order to obtain a homogeneous and rather uniform mixture 2.

Mix the dry yeast with the Manitoba flour and collect them in the stand mixer bowl. Then add the sugar 3.

Operate the stand mixer with the leaf and pour in the first dose of eggs 4.

Continue to work and gradually incorporate the second dose in 2 or more stages 5, as the dough absorbs it. Then add the flaked butter and finish with the salt.

Grease a 20 cm diameter mold, taking care to grease the grooves well 6.

Pour the dough when it appears shiny and elastic 7.

Cover with cling film and place in a sheltered place to rise for about 90 minutes 8.

When the mixture has almost reached the edge of the mold, remove the film 9 and bake in a preheated static oven at 190° C (374°  F) for about 25 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the syrup; collect the water and sugar in a saucepan, add a little lemon peel 10 and put on the heat until completely dissolved.

Then remove from the heat and add the rum 11. Let it cool completely.

Remove the baba from the oven and let it cool 12.

Turn it out by brushing the edges with a thin-bladed knife and then turn it over 13.

Place it in a large bowl and sprinkle it with the syrup on each side 14. Then press it lightly like a sponge, turn it over on the driest points and wait for it to completely absorb the rum syrup.

Taking care not to break it, transfer the baba to a serving dish and decorate it with wisps of whipped cream 15.

Store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve 16.

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