Try this boozy Italian dessert, then check out our Italian lemon cake, Sicilian ricotta cake and more Italian dessert recipes. After, check out 10 ways to use limoncello, including limoncello spritz, limoncello pie and limoncello tart.

You will need six or eight dariole moulds for this recipe.


  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 12g fresh yeast
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • ½ lemon, zested, plus extra to serve
  • ½ orange, zested
  • 4 eggs
  • 75g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened, plus extra for the moulds


  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 250ml limoncello


  • 200g mascarpone
  • 200g double cream
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod


  • STEP 1

    Put all the ingredients for the baba, except for the eggs and butter, in a large bowl of a food processor with 5g of fine sea salt. With the hook attached, mix for a minute to combine, then add two of the eggs. Knead for few minutes until well combined and the dough starts to become more elastic. Add the remaining two eggs, one at a time. Add the butter and mix well again for 5 mins until the dough is elastic and comes away from the sides of the bowl. If it’s very sticky, add a dusting more of flour. Cover the bowl and leave to prove until doubled in volume.

  • STEP 2

    Split the dough into eight equal pieces and, with wet hands, roll them into balls. Butter eight 100ml or six 150ml dariole moulds and add the dough pieces.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Leave to prove until slightly over the rim of the mould, then bake for 20 mins, rotating the tray halfway through if necessary. Remove and leave to cool completely.

  • STEP 4

    Meanwhile, make the syrup. Bring the sugar, 700ml of water and the lemon zest to the boil in a pan, and cook for 2 mins, then leave to cool until around 60C. Pass through a sieve, then pour in the limoncello. Tip in the baba and leave for about 5 mins to soak, turning occasionally. Put a plate or tray under the cooling rack, then remove the baba from the syrup and put on the rack to allow excess syrup to drip off.

  • STEP 5

    Put all the ingredients for the mascarpone cream in a large bowl and whisk with electric beaters until stiff. Serve the babas with a spoonful of the mascarpone cream.

Check out more lemon desserts

Lemon cheesecake recipe with vanilla


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