Torta Caprese (Italian Gluten Free, Chocolate Cake)

Torta Caprese is a dark, gluten free, Italian chocolate cake made with ground almonds, from the island of Capri.
Torta Caprese (Italian Almond Cake)
Sprinkling sugar on chocolate cake (torta caprese), dark photo
Torta Caprese

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 Bianca al Limone (Italian Almond, White Chocolate and Lemon Cake)
Torta Caprese Bianca al Limone (Italian Almond, White Chocolate and Lemon Cake)

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!

pouring coffee in white lungho cup, dark photo
Coffee with Torta Caprese is always good

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
  • butter
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • optional liqueur

⇒ I add a little cornflour (just 1 Tbsp) to the mix to help bind it all together.

slice of torta caprese, slice of dark chocolate, dark photo
A slice of dark heaven

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.

Torta Caprese
You can use stencils for the icing sugar, for a prettier effect

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.

Lin xx

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Torta Caprese (Italian Almond Cake)

Torta Caprese (Italian Gluten Free, Chocolate and Almond Cake)

Torta Caprese is a dark, gluten free, Italian chocolate cake made with ground almonds, from the island of Capri.
5 from 15 votes
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Course: Cakes
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cake, chocolate, italian, torta
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 (8-12), makes an 8″/20cm cake
Calories: 318kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor

Ingredients

  • 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)
  • 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

    Instructions

    • 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.

    Notes

    Makes an 8″ (20cm) cake. You will need to grease and line your cake pan, as required. The cake pan you see me using in the video doesn’t need to be lined.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 126mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 136IU | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 3mg

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    18 thoughts on “Torta Caprese (Italian Gluten Free, Chocolate Cake)”

    1. 5 stars
      Pinned! Truly delicious cake AND a wonderful origins story. Excellent post dear Azlin! We’re really looking forward to try this out. If we buy almond flour, which is finer than fresh-ground almonds (like from a food processor), does it work?
      Again, thank you for this delicious dessert! xoxo

    2. 5 stars
      Thoroughly enjoyed the story behind this delicious cake! I wish my occassional incidents of forgetfulness resulted in similar awesome recipes.
      This one is a must try!

    3. Claire Donovan

      5 stars
      Sitting down after Easter lunch, enjoying a glass of wine with the visitors. So I’m taking the time to tell you that I made this torta for dessert today, and it was a big hit. I loved the recipe as it is, a little on the dry side and not too sweet – perfect for me. Thank you Azlin.

    4. Joan Campbell

      5 stars
      I’ve heard so much about this cake but always assumed that it would be a tough one to make. But your video makes it look so easy. Bookmarked for Saturday. Will it keep for Sunday lunch?

      1. Thank you, Joan, it really is very easy.It will keep for 3 days, stored in air airtight container. It’s more moist the day after, I feel. It freezes pretty well too.

    5. Sherry Thomas

      5 stars
      OMG! As a photography enthusiast, I’m in love with your photos! Especially that first one! What camera do you use, and what settings did you have for that first photo?

      1. Thank you so much, I’m still learning and experimenting! I use a Nikon D3300. The settings for the first pic was ISO 1600, f/2.2, SS 1/1250.As you probably know, the faster the shutter speed, the clearer the movement.

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