Rum baba. A rum baba is a spongy yeast cake containing raisins and steeped, while still warm, in rum or kirsch, said to have been discovered by the Polish king Stanisław Leszczyński when he dipped a kougelhopf in rum. His pastry chef, Sthorer, later perfected a dish of brioche dipped in rum. Although ‘baba’ seems to mean ‘old woman’ it is also said to be named after Ali Baba of the 1001 Nights. It is cooked in a special fluted, cylindrical mould resulting in a cake the shape of a long, gathered skirt. The baba also has a long association with Naples. If the raisins are omitted it is technically known as a small savarin.