Torta per Carnevale

Carnival cake   Our original home cooking

A cake for Carnival must be colorful and good. The version I show you below is made with sponge cake filled with custard and whipped cream. For the topping I used ready-to-use marzipan and I colored it (slightly) with natural dyes. I'm not a fan of these products, I always prefer natural ingredients but I know many people have very little time to spend cooking. This cake is for them! Two children helped me in the kitchen and you can see it ;))

decorated carnival cake
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Carnival cake

Ingredients / Serves 12

  • For Carnival cake
  • 400g (14 ounces) sponge cake
  • 400ml (13 1/2 fluid ounces - 1 2/3 cup) whipping cream
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) candied cherries
  • 150g (5 1/3 ounces) fine-quality plain chocolate, chopped
  • Cake sweet decorations (smarties ..)
  • 200g (7 ounces) marzipan
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Food colourings (green, red and yellow)
  • Some liqueurs (alchermes, lemon-flavoured liqueur, mint syrup, sherry)
  • For custard sauce (pastry cream)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 45g (1.6 ounce) all-purpose flour
  • 140g (5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 500ml (1 pint - 2 cups) milk
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • Time:
    preparation: 60 minutes
    cooking: 30-35 minutes (for the sponge cake)
    total: 1 h 30 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    medium difficulty
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 444 (kcal) 23 % GDA (*)- 1859 (kJ)
    Protein: 8.7 (g) 18 % GDA
    Total fat: 18.4 (g) 27 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 62.6 (g) 24 % GDA
    Sugars: 49.7 (g) 56 % GDA

Look at infographic of nutrition facts

Download free PDF version (103 download).
or use QRCode with your smartphone

Recipe for Carnival cake

Preparation and cooking

  • - Prepare sponge cake following my directions or your favorite recipe. Link below.
    Once cooled cut your cake horizontally into 3 layers.
  • - Soak every layer with alchermes or sherry diluted into water according to your own taste,
  • - Prepare custard sauce (pastry cream).
    Place milk in a saucepan with lemon rind.
    Bring to a boil, remove from heat and set aside.
    Beat egg yolks with sugar until light and thickened (4 to 5 minutes) in a heavy-based saucepan.
    Stir in all-purpose flour, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
    To avoid any lump you'd use a colander.
    At this point pour in warm milk whisking until blended.
    Place your saucepan over a very low heat or in a bain-marie, bring to a boil and continue cooking, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens.
    This will take about 2 to 3 minutes.
    Remove from heat and stir frequently to prevent a skin forming or pass a little piece of butter throughthe surface with a fork.
  • - When cold, pour in the candied cherries cut into four quarters.
  • - Whip cream with 1 tablespoon icing sugar and add it to the custard cream very gently stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • - Stuff your sponge cake with this mixture.
    Spoon 2 layers and sandwich the 3 discs of your sponge cake together.
  • - Chill your cake, at least 2 hours.
  • - Prepare melted chocolate to decorate your cake.
    Melt chocolate with 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar in a double boiler or in a bowl set over hot water (bain marie).
    Alternatively use a microwave.
  • - Ice the top of your cale with melted chocolate.
  • - Prepare marzipan decorations (let your children help you!).
    If necessary, add icing sugar to the marzipan.
    Then divide it into 3 parts.
    Flavor the first with some drops of lemon-flavored liqueur, the second with mint syrup and the third with sherry.
    If you want to obtain more brilliant colours, you have to add some drops of food dyes.
    Now you have to obtain from every part some thin and long strips (just as streamers).
    Arrange them on the top of your cake together with other sweet decorations.
    See the photo for more details!

Just before serving

  • - Chill your cake until serving.



  • - If you have no time, you can use ready-to-use sponge cake.
  • - You can stuff your cake only with jam instead of whipped cream and custard sauce for a low-fat recipe.
    In this case you have to dilute the jam with milk to spread it better on the layers.

Menu planning

  • - This cake is ideal when you have to plan a party for your kids.
    Here are some tips. Link to suggested recipes in the next paragraph!
    Prepare small sandwiches stuffed with ham or cotto ham, mini bruschettas or baked crostini with mozzarella and tomato on top, mini pizzas. Add a savory pie or tart too.
    In Italy we use to prepare fried pastries for Carnival but I think it isn't a goof idea to serve them when there are a lot of other tidbits. I'd prefer to prepare sweet ravioli and other baked Carnival cakes.
    At the end your cake!

Useful links for this recipe

  • - This is the link to sponge cake recipe.
  • - Consult our directories for pizzas and savory cakes to choose your favorite recipes.
  • - In the special page dedicated to Carnival you can find a lot of baked or fried pastries for your party.

Healthy eating

  • - There are no smarties in nutrition facts.
  • . As you can see a slice of this cake is more or less a full dinner or lunch. What is the consequence? make it few times in a year! Nutritionists engaged in anti-cancer diet recommend us to use whipping cream and custard only 2 or 3 times a week!
  • - This cake has only 1.2 g of fiber per serving.


What's the right wine for " Carnival cake "?

Sweet sparkling wine such as Asti spumante for adults and homemade orange or lemon juice for your kids.