Mangia: Vanilla Sponge Cakes with Rum Syrup.

For those of you who follow us on Instagram and saw our Insta-stories this past weekend, you may know that we had a go at making Rum Baba. Originally a French dessert, it's something Nanna often talks about making, so naturally we wanted to make it for her. 

We were lucky enough to try Rum Baba from Pasticceria Pansa - you can see the photos in our Heart of The Amalfi Coast post - and they were amazing. They were light, soft and completely fluffy while totally soaked in Rum. We were stunned by how even though they were drenched in Rum they weren't soggy. We looked up a few different recipes and in the end we decided on one that sounded simple, which had ingredients we had in at home. Then we added some Italian vanilla powder that smells amazing and kept our fingers and toes crossed. (We do apologise because we have completely forgotten whose recipe this actually is. It's on pintrest somewhere!) The rum syrup was our experiment based on Nanna's instructions.

What you need:

110g of flour.
110g of sugar.
150ml of double cream.
2 eggs.
1 tsp baking powder.
1 vanilla powder sachet. We used Paneangeli. 
1 tsp of Vanilla.

For the Rum Syrup:

45ml of Rum.
45ml of water.
90g of sugar.
2 tsp of vanilla.

What to do:

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Beat the egg, vanilla essence and cream in a bowl until fluffy. 

Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and vanilla powder in a separate bowl. 

Sift the flour mixture into the wet mixture about a third at a time. 

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a piece of spaghetti comes out clean. 

For the Rum Syrup:

In a small pan, allow the sugar, water, rum and vanilla to reach a boil on a medium heat.

Don't mix it, just let it bubble away for a few minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. 

Once it becomes like a syrup, take it off the heat. 

Poke holes in the top of your cakes and drizzle over the syrup. You can put as much or as little as you want. 

We were so, so excited when these came out of the oven. We baked them in our mini Pandoro pan, hence them looking like little stars - adorable or what? We waited to taste them with Nanna and when we did we laughed because, while they taste incredibly delicious, which is why we're sharing the recipe with you, they aren't what we and Nanna would consider Rum Baba. These are beautiful little cakes, but thinking back to Pansa, their Rum Baba is more like a bread. It has yeast in!! We probably should have known that, but alas we love learning, so it's back to the drawing board for us! 


Have you ever made Rum Baba? If you have please share a recipe with us!

Buon Appetito!


  1. I really want to come to your house and eat ALL the yummy food :) you are so good at it!! Well done girls :)

    Have a lovely day! Love you xx

    1. Thank you Aisha. You are welcome anytime! :) Hope you're well!
      Auguri xxx

  2. These vanilla sponges with rum syrup look delectable! #Dolcevitabloggers

  3. These cakes look delicious and the rum syrup is a great touch! I love how the ingredients are simple and things you'd most likely have at home!

    1. Thank you! This is something we love too! We like simplicity and not a million ingredients! They were so soft and fluffy! :)

  4. Kelly and Lucy,
    Ok so I have a confession and it's that I don't like's all rum's fault. I just drank one too many back at uni (or was it high school?) and now sadly I'm not really a fan. My mother-in-law ADORES these though so I know that they are good. I loved your version and how cute they turned out as little stars! I will pass the recipe on to her and maybe she can make them for herself hehe! Thanks for the great post for #DolceVitaBloggers this month! Love, Jasmine.

    1. Haha that's ok, we can understand that! Thank you, you will have to let us know if she likes them, but also let us know if she has a different recipe for actual Rum Baba we could try! :) xxx

  5. Oh I love all your recipe posts! They're perfect for inspiring me to get baking and cooking for pleasure and not just school dinners! x

    1. Aww yay, thank you Kristie, this makes us happy! Enjoy! :) xx