Jamie Oliver’s Amalfi rum baba

I first made this extravagant drunken sponge dessert with Gennaro [Contaldo] back when I was a teenager. I love the concept of rehydrating sponge with flavoured syrup to make it even more sumptuous and delicious. Enjoy.

David Loftus



1 x 7g sachet of dried yeast
250g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
12 large free-range eggs
750g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

500g golden caster sugar
750ml limoncello
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
4 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 oranges
3 lemons

David Loftus

1. Cover the yeast with 100ml of lukewarm water. Melt the butter, then let it cool a bit while you whisk the eggs in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Still whisking, gradually pour in the melted butter, then the flour, a pinch of sea salt and the yeast mixture, switching to a rubber spatula when it gets too stiff. After 5 minutes it should be thick, smooth and shiny. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a draught-free place for 40 minutes.

2. Uncover the baba batter and mix vigorously for 3 minutes so it’s loose and shiny. Generously butter a deep 24cm Bundt tin and pour in the batter. Prove again, uncovered, for a further 40 minutes, or until the batter sits just above the edge of the tin. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas 2.

3. Gently place the baba in the oven for 1 hour, or until golden. Meanwhile, for the syrup, place the sugar and limoncello in a pan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and add with the cinnamon, cloves, bay and rosemary. Use a speed-peeler to add strips of peel from the oranges and lemons, then squeeze all their juice into a measuring jug. Top up to 500ml with water, then pour into the pan. Boil and reduce by half to a syrupy consistency.

4. Leave the baba to cool, then put your knife at the tin’s edge and trim off the excess sponge (perfect in my Limoncello Tiramisù on page 41). Gradually feed the sponge with the syrup, making sure you get down the sides, then leave overnight. The next day, release it on to a cake stand or platter. I like to fill the hole with sweetened ricotta, mascarpone or even ice cream, top with seasonal berries and dust with icing sugar before serving.

446 kcal; 14.4g fat (7.6g saturated); 7.8g protein; 55.4g carbs; 27.6g sugars; 0.5g salt; 1.2g fibre

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