How my pops started off… Renato’s Carnival Cake

I got a few emails and blog messages last night requesting Renato’s recipe which I meant to add today but instead I am flagging a new post as you may miss it if I add it at the bottom…

The photo above is how my pops started off yesterday. A small carnival cake using Renato’s recipe. It is festive and cheerful, with quasi Christmas colors on snow white meringue. You will find them in every cafe right now, shelves of them in all the food stores, bright, sugary and just looking at them gives me an instant lift, not dissimilar to the buzz from the sugar rush I would get from an actual mere bite…..

And I cannot tell you my usual that this recipe is easy. It does not need any special technique but it is time consuming. This is Renato’s recipe handed down to him by his father and the photo below is his very own creation of a few days ago, a carnival fantasy… a mountain of sweetness embedded with gaudy jewels and splattered all over with dark chocolate. As you can see from my cake above and his below, you can shape it as you wish… It is an over-the-top dessert, too sweet, too rich, too messy, too colorful … And I have seen nothing more perfect to represent carnival…

You will need :

625g flour
200g butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
a few drops of a good vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
250g sugar
150g water

Rub in the butter into the flour and add the baking powder, vanilla and lemon zeat.
Mix the sugar with the water until it dissolves.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well until it forms a dough.
Form the pastry into a long sausage shape and bake in the oven at 190C for 15 to 20 minutes. Watch it, do not let it burn.
Leave to cool and using a sharp knife slice them into biscotti shapes.


For the butter cream you will need:

900 g Butter
1200g icing sugar
6 drops vanilla

Beat together in a electric mixer until it becomes a smooth butter icing

You will also need:

200g chopped dar chocolate
150g candied peel
100g Roasted almonds chopped up

Mix the pastry biscotti with the butter cream and all the rest of the ingredients,
When all the ingredients are combined form the cake in the shape that you prefer. I did mine into a Chrismas pudding shape and Renato builds a mountain,

Now you will need to prepare an Italian meringue with :
850g sugar
285 g egg white

Place the sugar in a sauce pan and just add enough water until all the sugar can soak,
Mix with a wooden spoon.
As soon as it comes to boil add e egg whites and whisk with an e,extricating beater until it reaches the hard ball stage. I do this by using a sugar thermometer which is clearly marked ‘hard ball stage’ so it’s very easy this way. Add the egg whites and mix at low speed for 3 minutes.

Cover the cake generously with the meringue and it will set and slightly

You will also need 200g dark melted chocolate and 100g glacé cherries, halved and 100g pinenuts.

Decorate the Carnival cake by drizzling melted dark chocolate all over and pressing the halved cherries all around … Sprinkle pine nuts all over…


Saturday’s Independent and a link to my Carnival Afghans, less complicated and still very colorful !


6 responses to “How my pops started off… Renato’s Carnival Cake”

    1. Thank you very much Jueseppi !

      1. You’re very welcome Ms. Lea. 😉

  1. Time consuming, indeed, but I think it is well worth it. I love the candied fruits which gives all the colors and of course the busts of tastes. I sure want to give it a go someday!

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