Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Torta Caprese is a dark Italian cake made with ground almonds, from the island of Capri. It has no flour, so is also gluten free.
A traditional Torta Caprese is almost like a brownie, with a dry-ish top crust, and an almost fudge like and moist interior. Like its spinoff Torta Caprese Bianca al Limone (below), Torta Caprese is also a pretty forgiving recipe. But more of that later.
First, let’s look at the name:
- Torta – cake
- Caprese – from or of Capri
Torta Caprese History
There are a few stories explaining the creation of Torta Caprese. But the one that seems to be the most popular is about the chef who forgot to add flour to his chocolate cake. Forgetting an ingredient? I can totally identify with!
Once upon a time on an island in the south of Italy, sometime in the 1920s, there was a pastry chef called Carmine di Fiore. One day, he was making up his almond cake for some tourists who were visiting his cafe. Rumour has it these were criminals with close connection to Al Capone. Perhaps that might explain his oversight, the stress that inevitably accompanied the visit!
True or not, legend has it, he forgot the flour, giving rise (pun intended) to a fairly dense cake with an almost truffle like texture. And hence, the tagline that often accompanies it:
uno dei pasticci più fortunati della storia(one of history’s fortunate errors)
Certainly more delicious than penicillin!
Torta Caprese Recipe
As mentioned above, this is a pretty forgiving recipe. I’ve seen so many variations of it in terms of the ingredient ratio, more chocolate, more almonds, more sugar, even custard powder. The latter results in an interesting texture, like a custard cake. Nice, but not really true to the spirit of the cake.
These are the basic ingredients you need to make Torta Caprese:
- ground almonds
- dark chocolate
- optional liqueur
⇒ I add a little cornflour (just 1 Tbsp) to the mix to help bind it all together.
Torta Caprese Ingredient Ratio
I’m giving you a basic recipe here, with a ratio that can easily be remembered. The torta you will get is one with a dry, almost crispy top, and a light, slightly fudgy inside.
Use this recipe as your base. Then, increase the chocolate and/or butter for a more truffle like middle, or increase the sugar for a slightly sweeter cake.
Ground Almonds for our Torta Caprese
I’m lucky enough here in the UK, to have access to good quality ground almonds for baking. The ground almonds, or almond meal, or almond flour, as they can also be called, have to be dry. If in doubt, do it yourself with a good spice mill or chopper.
Get whole, peeled, blanched almonds and chop until fine. Spread them out on a large, flat plate to air dry, while you get your ingredients ready.
No blanched almonds? Not a problem, just use raw ones, but make sure they are peeled.
What liqueur to use in Torta Caprese?
Apparently, rum was the original spirit of choice. But Strega, that green, herbal Italian liqueur, is a very popular choice too. I shall leave that up to you.
I’ve decided to skip the alcohol in this recipe, as I much prefer it without. Rather shocking, I know.
I reckon that’s about it. Shall we get our aprons on?
If you enjoy the recipe, drop me a comment and let me know. And if you are feeling like a star, don’t forget that 5-star rating! Grazie mille!
If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag me @azlinbloor and hashtag it #linsfood.
More Cake Recipes on LinsFood
Torta Caprese (Italian Gluten Free, Chocolate and Almond Cake)
- 115 g (4 oz) dark chocolate (70%)
- 15 g (4 oz) salted butter
- 170 g (6 oz) ground almonds
- 1 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
- 3 medium eggs
- 115 g (4 oz) caster sugar (fine sugar)
- 2 Tbsp liqueur of your choice totally optional
- icing sugar to decorate
You will also need an 8″/20cm cake pan
- Preheat your oven to 180˚C (350˚F/160˚C Fan). Line and grease your cake pan, as required.
- Break the chocolate up into little pieces and place in a bowl.
- Add the butter to the bowl, and melt the chocolate and butter at 50% power in your microwave oven for 60 seconds. Stir, then another 60 seconds. Stir this until you have a smooth and shiny mix. Set aside.
- Mix the almonds and cornflour.
- Separate the eggs, placing the egg whites in a medium sized bowl and the egg yolks in a large bowl.
- Beat the egg whites with 2 Tbsp of the sugar until stiff. Set aside.
- With the same beaters, beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar until pale.
- Add the chocolate mix and stir, using a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula, until you have a smooth mixture.
- Add the ground almonds to the egg yolks, and fold it in, using the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
- Finally, fold in the egg whites in 2 additions.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check at the 35 minute mark with a cake tester or long thin skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.