Rhum Drenched Babbà Cake from Napoli

This heady cake, called Babbà, will be a truly show-off dessert for your Christmas table. This rhum drenched dessert is originally from Poland and then spread in Europe, arriving till Naples where the name was changed from Babà to Babbà‘. So it was pronounced by the Neapolitan pastry chefs. In the following years the Neapolitan phrase “Sì ‘nu babbà” (you are as nice as a Babbà) was coined to describe a very handsome and nice person. We realised that the Italian language has many catchphrases that refer to the Italian cuisine. We are very keen to hear whether the same goes for your mother tongue.

We want to thank our friend Danila from Campania region, for giving us her family recipe of this scrumptious dessert.

INGREDIENTS for 8/10 servings
Time: preparation 20 min + rising + baking 30-35 min
What you need: High – Sided Round Cake Pan  ≈ 22 cm diameter (with a hole in the middle)

4 medium eggs + 1 yolk
150 g (3/4 cup) margarine
250 g (1 2/3 cups)flour
25 g (5 tsp)fresh yeast
1 tbsp sugar
butter to grease
1⁄4 glass of warm water

For the decoration and syrup

350 g (1 3/4 cups) sugar
350 ml water
biological lemon zest
Rhum liqueur (to taste)
whipped cream (to decorate and to serve)


Melt the margarine a bain-marie (place it into a bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water, stir occasionally) or in microwave until smooth. Let it cool.

Meanwhile, in a big bowl beat the sugar and eggs until creamy and smooth, add the cooled margarine and the melted yeast (melt it in 1/4 of glass of warm water), beat very well for around 10 min. Then sift the flour straight in the bowl and mix again (all lumps have to be gone). Mix the dough until it becomes elastic and it goes completely down from the walls of the bowl. The use of a mixer can help. Grease a round cake pan ≈ 22 cm diameter (with an hole in the middle) very well with butter and flour, be sure to coat every crevice of the pan.
Pour the dough inside, cover and let it rise until it doubles.

Preheat the oven at 180°C and bake for 30-35 min, until it is brown or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the syrup

In a small pan bring the water to a boil. Add sugar and lemon zest and let it simmer for 15 min.
Filter the syrup with a colander and then add the Rhum. When the babbà is still warm make holes with a toothpick in its surface. In this way the syrup will be absorbed better. With a spoon pour slowly the syrup on the cake. When the syrup is completely absorbed flip the cake on a serving dish. Decorate it with whipped cream and fruits. Serve a slice of the babbà with whipped cream.

Tips: you can make the babbà one day ahead. In this case soak it with half the syrup, cover it with the upright pan and let it cool in the fridge. Before serving bring to room temperature the babbà then soak it with the remaining syrup.

🍷Francesca & Marinella🍴

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