Torta Caprese Chocolate Almond Cake
This gluten-free cake, typical of the Sorrento peninsula and Amalfi coast, takes its name from the island of Capri. It’s said to have been created in the 1920s by a pastry chef who forgot to add the flour to his cake batter.
40 minutes preparation time
40 minutes cooking time
- 250 g (9 oz) blanched almonds
- 180 g (6½ oz) raw (demerara) sugar, plus 2–3 teaspoons extra, for the ground almonds
- 250 g (9 oz) dark chocolate (60–70% cocoa)
- 200 g (7 oz) butter, softened, plus extra, for greasing
- 5 eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1 pinch fine salt
- icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Spread the almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, then allow to cool. Coarsely grind them using a coffee grinder or in a food processor. Add 2–3 teaspoons of sugar, to taste. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water, making sure the hot water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl). Let the chocolate cool until just warm.
Using an electric stand mixer or a wooden spoon, beat the softened butter in a bowl with 100 g (3½ oz) of the sugar until very creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the ground almonds and salt. Pour the chocolate into the mixture little by little and gently combine.
In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks with the remaining sugar to make a smooth meringue. Using a spatula, gently fold it into the chocolate mixture, making sure not to collapse the meringue.
Grease a 22–24 cm (8½–9½ inch) round cake tin and line with baking paper. Pour in the batter and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove from the tin to cool and dust with icing sugar before serving.
If you are using unblanched almonds, drop them into boiling water for a few minutes, off the heat. Squeeze them gently to remove the skin. You can also soak them overnight in water at room temperature.