Gibraltar confectionaries are steeped in the multicultural history of its population. Italian, Spanish and Maltese ingredients were mixed over the years with British and Moroccan flavours. This concoction will mean you will find more than you bargained for at Gibraltar bakeries.
One of the more common cakes sold in the best Gibraltar bakeries is the ‘milhoja’ (thousand leaves). These tasty bites, also used as event cakes, are made with layers of puff pastry, filled with cream and often topped in chocolate.
Another favourite is the Japonesa (Japanese), which consists of fried dough filled with a sort of creamy custard. They are normally coated in syrup or sugar with its name referring to its similarity to the Japanese ‘doriyaki’ cake of the same shape and sweet filling.
A common cake at top Gibraltar bakeries is the ‘Pan Dulce’. Occasionally used as birthday cakes in Gibraltar, its name is literally ‘sweet bread’ in Spanish. With its roots in Genoece ‘pandolce’ or Portuguese variants, it is made out of lard, eggs, margarine, flour and sugar. The fruits added are raisins, sultanas, almonds, pine nuts, candied peel, aniseed and anisette.
Bollo de Hornassa is another favourite, especially around Christmas time in Gibraltar bakeries. The dry, crumbly bread is sweet to taste with the distinct aniseed taste being very evident. Glazed with egg, they are often covered in coloured sugar sprinkles.
Strangely enough, across the border in Spain these ‘hornazo’ cakes are eaten at Easter, commonly topped with hard-boiled eggs.
A big favourite, especially for birthday parties in Gibraltar are chocolate profiteroles. Made from traditionally French choux pastry, it tends to be sweet and soft, perfect accompanying wedding cakes. Choux pastry is pushed through a pastry bag or placed with spoons so that they end up in small spheres. They are then baked hollow at top Gibraltar bakeries so they can be injected with a filling. This can be either custard, cream or ice cream and it is often smothered in chocolate to top it all off.
Moroccan cakes have also been known to be popular in Gibraltar. The connection with the North African state increased after Moroccan workers came to the Rock when Franco closed the frontier in 1969. These pastries can be very intricate and with a great amount of different tastes.
From almonds to sesame seeds, pistachios to walnuts and honey to prunes, they add a different feature to local cuisine.
All these cakes can be made to order thanks to companies that do catering for corporate events, birthday parties and other special events.