Prinjolata Recipe

The Prinjolata is a traditional Maltese carnival time sweet. The name prinjolata originates from the fact that this dessert’s main ingredients are pine nuts (prinjol in Maltese).

You will know it’s Carnival time in Malta from the hundreds of prinjolati that you will see in sweets shops, supermarkets and confectionaries! The prinjolata is a delicious carnival cake that is instantly recognizable from it’s unusual shape. When ready, the prinjolata resembles a snow capped mountain. 

easy dessert recipe malta prinjolata

You will probably find thousands of other pine nut recipes but this easy cake recipe from the Maltese islands is sure to make your mouth water in no time!

Try this dessert recipe from Malta and let us know what you think, even if it’s not Carnival time! We won’t tell … promise :)

Warning: This Maltese recipe is highly addictive but also very fattening!

easy dessert recipe malta prinjolata


150 grms (or 5.29 oz) butter

320 grms (or 11.28 oz) caster sugar

12 slices plain Madeira cake (cut into 3 cms thick slices)

1 egg white

A couple of drops of vanilla essence

50 grms (or 1.76 oz) roasted and ground pine-nuts

(To decorate)

Frosting / Icing

50 grms (or 1.76 oz) whole pine-nuts

50 grms (or 1.76 oz) halved candied cherries

50 grms (or 1.76 oz) grated dark chocolate


Blend the butter and 200 grms (or 7.05 oz) of the sugar with an electric blender. Blend until the mixture becomes a smooth cream. Beat the egg white in a bowl (the bowl should be placed in a hot water bath). Continue beating the egg while adding the rest of the sugar i.e. the remaining 120 grms (or 4.23 oz) sugar. Also add half a tumbler of water and the vanilla essence. Mix and stir well. Remove from the fire and allow to cool. Add the creamed butter mixture and the crushed pine-nuts. Mix well.

Grease a pudding basin, and start layering alternatively to the top - with Madeira cake slices and the creamy prinjolata mixture. So essentially you will have one layer of cake and one layer of creamy mixture. Continue doing this layering until you finish both cake slices and mixture.

Let the prinjolata stay overnight in the fridge.

easy dessert recipe malta prinjolata

Time to decorate!

Turn the prinjolata very carefully out of its container and place on a cake plate. To decorate: cover the prinjolata with the frosting and stick the whole pine-nuts, chocolate flakes and cherries. (You can also pipe some melted chocolate on the surface for added effect).

Put the prinjolata in the fridge and let it cool down for some 5 hours before you serve it.

We hope that you'll try this heavenly carnival dessert from the Maltese Islands. You can thank us later :)

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