Ever since I first watched Babettes Feast over 10 years ago I have become completely obsessed with baking and eating Babàs, so much so that my Dad teasingly calls me "Baba". Then five years later I went to Italy and was thrilled to see these little babàs in the Pasticceria scattered all over southern Italy, the Neapolitans are considered the master babà-makers of Italy. My favorite was a babà soaked in Limoncello, a lemon liqueur. This recipe is one I have tweaked over the years and is pretty close to those I had in Italy and note that I have given you two syrup recipes, one for a rum and one for a limoncello syrup.
12 cup bundt pan
Food processor or mixer *NOTE: if you use a mixer you will need to mix for 8 minutes at the end instead of 2 minutes.
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup Jamaican rum
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup limoncello
zest of 1 lemon
21/2 teaspoons yeast
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1 stick butter (room temperature)
1/4 cup warm water
Rum Syrup: Boil water, add vanilla and sugar and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove, cool, and add rum.
Limoncello Syrup: Boil water, add sugar, zest, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove, cool, and add liqueur.
Cake: Disslove yeast in the milk and water. Add the 1 tablesoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of the flour. Cover with plastic and allow it form a sponge and double in size, just a few minutes.
Place the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the sponge and mix on low speed.
On low speed add the eggs 1 at a time.
Add the butter in 2 batches and mix together, then mix on low for *2 minutes- see note .
Note: This will be a very sticky gooey dough!
Preheat oven to 350.
Pour into a very well sprayed bundt pan. Cover with sprayed plastic and allow to double in size in a warm place (on top of pre- heating stove), about 50 minutes.
Bake for 25 minutes at 350.
Loosen the edges with a knife and then rest for 10 minutes.
Loosen edges again and then flip onto tray.
Poke holes with a toothpick and brush mixture on with a brush. Repeat this every now and then until the syrup is gone. Make sure to get edges, sides, and inside the center of the cake.
Serve with Rum or Limoncello flavored homemade whipped cream (Placed in the center of the cake) or like the Neapolitan's do, with Vanilla Custard!
Babette preparing her feast!