The Neapolitan Babà

The Neapolitan Babà

Babà is a typical Neapolitan pastry dessert, known for its fluffy texture and characteristic mushroom shape. In Naples, every pastry shop prepares it with great pride because it is much more than just a dessert: it represents the emblem of hospitality and conviviality. For this reason, it is also often served on special occasions or during celebrations.

The origins

Contrary to popular belief, the origin of the baba is not Neapolitan but Polish. Initially called “babka ponczowa,” this sourdough cake passed through France before landing in Naples. Stanislaus Lesczynski, king of Poland, is said to have invented it in the 18th century by accident, dipping a kugelhupf in rum. Brought to Versailles by Stanislaus’s daughter, wife of Louis XV, the dessert was perfected by Parisian pastry chefs and the name shortened to “babà”. Arriving in Naples thanks to French cooks serving the noble families, the baba has become a classic Neapolitan pastry, bathed in rum or limoncello, often enriched with cream or custard.


In the city, baba is prepared to satisfy every palate. In addition to the classic rum version, there are several variations, including:

– Cream babà: filled with custard.

– Limoncello babà: soaked in a limoncello syrup instead of rum.

– Babà mignon: small in size, perfect for a bite.

How and when to enjoy it?

Babà tastes best when eaten fresh, that is, when it is still fluffy and well impregnated with the syrup. It goes well with a glass of liqueur or coffee, and is appreciated both as a dessert and as a mid-day dessert. But actually in Naples any time is the right time for a nice baba. Some people choose it for breakfast, such as tourists visiting the city’s historic center. Right here, in fact, it is possible to taste some of the best babà in Naples. Such as that of Scaturchio, in Piazza San Domenico, or the baba of Capparelli pastry shop in Via dei Tribunali (a stone’s throw from Napoli Sotterranea) or that of Mazz Pizza e baba (in the street of the same name). In short, in the historic center of the city, where the charm of art and culture is combined with gastronomic delicacies, it seems that babà is the right dessert to start the tour of discovery of the city.

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