Prinjolata, Malta's carnival cake mini size
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This gooey decadent mini mound of a cake is carnival on a plate! Recipe adapted from this one on Serves 12. Make as large-size dariole mould mini cakes or make one single cake. Half a mini cake is really the max most people can eat – even in this mini size J managed only ¾!. So halve the recipe if need be.
Recipe type: Cake - special occasion
Cuisine: Maltese
Serves: 12
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp best quality vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp lemon zest, chopped finely
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp whisky/Vermouth (or one of each)
  • 50 g pine nuts, roasted and chopped finely, but not ground
  • 50 g glace’ cherries (mixed colours)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa nibs
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250ml cream, whipping
  • half packet of shop-bought topping mix in white
  • glace’ cherries, halved, to decorate
  • flaked almonds, to decorate
  • 50g chocolate, melted in bain marie, to decorate
  1. Prepare dariole moulds by lining them with cling film leaving overhang, or do the same with a 22cm basin, if making a single cake.
  2. Sponge: Preheat oven to 180°C. Using a mixer, beat the eggs and caster sugar together until smooth and thickened; this takes 5-8 mins.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat in. Pour the mix into a single sponge cake tin and bake for around 25 mins unitil risen and lightly golden.
  4. Turn out the sponge and allow to cool on a wire rack. Then, break the sponge into small cubes (1 cm max).
  5. Put the sponge cubes into a large bowl, sprinkle over the whisky and/or Vermouth and add the chopped glace’ cherries and cocoa nibs, stirring in well.
  6. Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan over a medium heat, dry, no oil. Toss them and make sure they don’t burn – they toast very quickly. Chop using a herb cutter board to fine pieces. Do not grind them up in a food processor. Add pine nuts to the sponge mixture. Set aside while you make the filling…
  7. Filling: beat the softened butter and sugar together well. Add another tbsp whisky to the mix to loosen it as it can be stiff.
  8. Transfer the sugar-butter mixture to the bowl with the sponge crumb mix. Add the vanilla extract. Beat the whole lot together until well mixed. The sponge will completely disintegrate and blend in. It will be a stiff mixture, but persevere and add a tiny drop of whisky or water to loosen if need be, but not much.
  9. Forming the dome cake: using a tablespoon, take good spoonfuls of mixture and dollop into the dariole moulds, pressing down gently between each spoonful to get rid of gaps.
  10. When the moulds are filled, cover over the top with the excess cling film and chill for a couple of hours in the fridge.
  11. Topping: beat up the cream along with half the topping mix until it’s thick and forms soft peaks, but do not over beat other wise it will granulate.
  12. Turn out the little cakes from the dariole moulds on to serving plates. Spread over the whipped topping roughly. Decorate with halved cherries and sprinkle over almond flakes, or pine nuts. I ran out of pine nuts and found almond flakes more interesting to decorate with.
  13. Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over simmering hot water (bain marie). Drizzle it messily over the little cakes. Keep cakes chilled til ready to serve.
  14. Particularly if using fresh cream, eat within two days and keep cakes chilled in the fridge.
Recipe by The Red Bistro at