Rum Babas filled with Italian Pastry Cream

Rum Babas filled with Italian Pastry Cream

Rum Babas remind me of the times that I would go to New York with my family. Oh, the delicious pastries. My favorite now, and then, was a Rum Baba. I also love the donuts that were filled with Marshmallow cream. Yum!

When I lived in Los Angeles there was a great Italian store named Sorrento’s that sold Rum Babas that were exactly as I remembered them. I was happy knowing I could just drive over and get a Baba anytime I wanted… then one day the store didn’t carry the Babas anymore. Which really doesn’t matter anyway, because I don’t live in Los Angeles any longer. I’m in Tennessee now, and the chance of finding a Rum Baba out here is slim. So, I took matters into my own hands and made some Rum Baba’s for the first time. I must say they were ridiculously delicious. The Italian pastry cream is so thick and decadent, it really takes the Baba to another level.

Before starting to make the actual Baba, I suggest making the Rum Syrup and Italian Pastry Cream first.

Rum Babas

½ cup Milk
3 tsp Yeast
2 cups all purpose Flour
3 Eggs
2 tsp Sugar
Pinch of salt
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
Cherries, for garnish
Rum Baba Syrup (recipe follows)
Italian Pastry Cream (recipe follows)

Butter and flour a baba mold, cupcake tin, or a mini bundt pan (that’s what I used) and set aside.
Warm the milk in a small saucepan.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine the yeast and ½ cup of flour.
Stir in the warm milk.
Let rise until double in size, about 15 minutes.
Add in the eggs one at a time.
Add in the remaining flour, sugar, and salt.
When a dough begins to form, add in the butter.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the baba dough into the prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap or a clean thin kitchen towel.
Let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until it was risen to the top of the mold.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top of the babas is light golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from mold.
Using a toothpick, poke holes all over the tops of your babas.
I put my babas in a large plastic container and then poured the rum syrup all over them.
I allowed them to sit in the syrup for about 20 minutes.
Remove from syrup and place on wire rack to let the excess syrup drain.
Transfer the babas to a serving platter.
Place the cool Italian pastry cream into the center of each baba.
Since I used the mini bundt pans I had a hole already there… however, you could just pipe the pastry cream into the center of your baba and leave a little coming out the top.
Top with a cherry.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Really taste better the next day when they’re completely cold.

Rum Baba Syrup

3 cups Water
2 cups Sugar
4 tsp Lemon Zest
1 Vanilla Bean, split with seeds scraped
1/3 cup Dark Rum

Add all the ingredients (except the rum) into a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to be sure to dissolve the sugar.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
Stir in the rum.

Italian Pastry Cream

3 cups of Milk, whole
1 Vanilla Bean, split
6 Egg Yolks
¾ cup of Sugar
¼ cup Flour
pinch of Salt

In a small saucepan heat up one cup of the milk and add the vanilla bean.
Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
Allow vanilla bean to steep while you proceed with the recipe.
In a medium saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.
Add in the flour, salt, and remaining milk.
Whisk until completely combined, and mixture is free of lumps.
Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
Place pan over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until custard thickens.
Set aside and allow to cool.

Rum Babas and Cannoli

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24 Responses to Rum Babas filled with Italian Pastry Cream

  1. Ally says:

    Oh, it sounds so wonderful, Helena…I really love the cream and syrup, too…I’m thinking those could be used on so many other things!! I know doing this in your new kitchen just made you feel like you were a star (well, which you are!!)!! xo

  2. Justine says:

    These look great! How many babas does this recipe make using a mini bundt pan?

  3. Caitlin says:

    THANK YOU!! Four attempts and 3 recipes later, I have finally been able to make a perfect italian pastry cream. And those babas look fantastic, and im going to try that too. :)

    • Hi Caitlin – So happy that the Italian pastry cream turned out good for you. And yes… the babas were delicious! Haven’t made them in a while, but they’re one of my favorites!! :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your blog about Italian food is really awesome. I like various cuisines very much. I like Italian culture, tradition, Italian food etc . Last summer I visited Italy, as well. I love to drive the Italian roads at night . I have enjoyed Italian food very much!

  5. Marysue says:

    Happy Birthday, Helena! Hope your day is as sweet as these luscious-looking babas!

  6. More than 10 years ago, I broke my budget and had an Italian rum cake shipped from Sorrento’s (Lodi, NJ) to my home in northeast Texas. Baba au rum from that bakery is my wife’s all-time favorite. So.. I went to work and, to date, no dice. — Until now. I think your recipe(s)/technique might just earn me some brownie points with my bride. Beautiful! And thank you!

  7. Caroline says:

    Your recipe sounds so delicious. I would love to make it but I was just wondering if there is a rum replacement that you recommend as my friend can’t have alcohol anymore but she loves baba?


  8. Georgia says:

    Could children eat these?

  9. mary says:

    If you don’t have vanilla bean can you uae vanilla extract and if so how much..?

  10. Jessica says:

    I am craving one of these soooo bad. I grew up in NY and now live in TN, did you ever find a place that has them here in TN?

    • Hi Jessica – I haven’t found a place that makes them in TN… other than me, at my house! The recipe is really quite easy, so if your craving gets really bad, you have that option of making them. :)

  11. Virginia says:

    Happy New Year!!! I made these yesterday and they were so easy to make, and they were so delicious, even better today!!! and such a big hit. The only change I made is that I added 1 cup of Meyers Dark Rum instead of the 1/3 of a cup that the syrup recipe called for. We like our Babas boozy…When I served them up, I even added a small splash of straight rum for the finish. I topped them off with your pastry cream and a dollop of whipped cream and one of those wild cherries in Amerena syrup….sooooo good!!!
    So I thank you for posting this luscious recipe and for keeping it easy.

  12. Besety says:

    Hello Hellena.

    Your babas looks exactly the ones I enjoyed when I was a kid. Certainly I´m going to prepare your recipe this week. I love babas and any kind of cake with a touch of rum. Thanks for sharing your recipe.


  13. Anyonmous says:


    What sized eggs did you use? I only ever have extra large eggs and I was wondering how many I should use.

    • I think the same number of eggs would be fine. I usually use large eggs… but I have chickens, so sometimes they will lay larger or smaller eggs. I think you’ll be fine using 3 for the dough and the same amount that the pastry recipe calls for, as well. Happy Baking!

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