Torta Caprese is a delicious, flourless, chocolate-almond cake from Capri! If you love fudgy brownies, you'll love this gluten-free chocolate cake, with its crackly top and moist center. It's made with ground almonds (almond flour) and flavored with amaretto.
I give you a Torta Caprese recipe to enjoy during the holidays, for Valentine's Day or anytime you need the comfort only chocolate can provide. Whipped cream or ice cream is optional.
Swooning is mandatory.
What's torta Caprese?
Torta in English is "cake." Caprese simply means it hails from the island of Capri, near Naples.
One legend says this flourless chocolate cake originated when the king of Naples wanted a sacher torte. The Italian chefs were unfamiliar with it, so they used ground almonds in place of flour.
Another story claims a chef in Capri forgot to put the flour in a chocolate-almond cake, resulting in a happy discovery. In any case, this almond-flour chocolate cake became popular in restaurants on the island, and Italians in the area now make it for Christmas and other occasions.
Although Mom is from Naples, I have to admit I'm the first in my family to make this dessert. (As far as I know!)
I started working on this recipe a year ago, and I hope you enjoy my version of this traditional Italian chocolate cake!
Almond flour chocolate cake ingredients
Here's what you'll need:
- Almond flour (affiliate link) - made from finely ground almonds
- Semisweet chocolate bars - Some recipes call for bittersweet chocolate, but my family prefers semisweet.
- Granulated sugar
- Eggs - You'll need to separate them, so an egg separator (affiliate link) comes in handy. Be sure to crack one egg at a time over a separate cup, in case you accidentally get yolk in the egg white. Have extra eggs on hand just in case.
- Amaretto - If you love boozy desserts, this adds the perfect accent to this almond cake. If you need to skip the alcohol, you can substitute one teaspoon of almond extract plus one teaspoon of vanilla. Note, I did test this cake with rum, but we unanimously preferred amaretto.
- Baking powder
- Salt - You just need a pinch, since we're using salted butter.
How to make torta Caprese
You'll start by melting chocolate and butter in the microwave. You'll add amaretto. Then you'll whisk in the almond flour, baking powder and salt.
You'll beat the egg whites with a little sugar until they're stiff. Then, you'll beat the egg yolks with some sugar until they're pale yellow.
Next, you'll stir the chocolate mixture into the beaten yolks. Finally, you'll fold in the egg whites and bake.
The cake will puff up in the oven and sink when it cools. The top will be cracked.
That's part of this dessert's rustic charm, as far as I'm concerned. Sprinkle on some powdered sugar and fuhgeddaboudit.
But some people invert the almond meal cake before serving it, so the surface is perfectly smooth.
Tips for storing flourless almond cake
If you know how to store brownies, you know how to store Torta Caprese. This cake is exceptionally moist and will keep well for a few days at room temperature, covered in a container or wrapped in plastic.
And, this Italian almond cake freezes beautifully. Wrap it well in plastic, then foil and freeze it right in the springform pan (affiliate link). Thaw it in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours before serving.
Well folks, there are only two things left for you to do: Make this gluten-free chocolate cake recipe and devour it!
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C)
Torta Caprese (Flourless Chocolate-Almond Cake)
- 5 extra-large eggs
- 16 tablespoons salted butter
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate bars (or chips)
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar (divided use)
- 3 tablespoons amaretto (or 1 tsp. almond + 1 tsp. vanilla)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- confectioners sugar for serving
- whipped cream for serving (optional)
- Separate the eggs, placing one egg white at a time into a liquid measuring cup and then adding that one egg white to a medium mixing bowl. Add the yolks to a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer). There must not be any yolk or shell in your whites. If any yolk gets into your egg whites, you will need to replace the egg whites. (See notes.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. (If you need to keep the cake gluten free, do not use baking spray, because it contains flour.)
- Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Break the chocolate bars into pieces and add them to the bowl. Cover and heat in the microwave for 25 seconds at a time, stirring as needed, until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth.
- Add the amaretto to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Whisk in the almond flour, baking powder and salt and set the chocolate mixture aside.
- Beat the egg whites with a hand mixer on low until they're frothy. Add ¼ cup of sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
- Add 1 cup of sugar to the egg yolks. Use a stand mixer or a handheld mixer with clean beaters to beat the yolks on medium until they're pale yellow. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- Use a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
- Fold the egg whites into the chocolate batter in three batches, until you no longer see white streaks.
- Pour the batter into the greased spingform pan. Smooth the top with your spatula so the batter is even.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes. The cake will puff up in the oven and crack.
- Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. The center of the Torta Caprese will sink down to be more even with the rest of the cake.
- Before serving, sprinkle confectioners sugar on the cake. Slice into wedges and serve plain or with whipped cream, berries and/or ice cream.
- Store the cake covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. The cake freezes beautifully. Wrap it well in plastic, then foil before freezing it. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours before serving it.
- Have extra eggs on hand in case you mess up when separating the eggs. If any yolk gets into the the egg whites, you won't be able to beat them into stiff peaks. It helps to place one egg white at a time in a measuring cup before adding it to the bowl. That way, if you get yolk in that egg white, you just need to replace that egg white, instead of all of them.
- If you need to keep the cake gluten free, do not use baking spray to grease the pan, because baking spray contains flour. Use cooking spray or butter instead.
- If you don't have amaretto, you could try another liqueur such as Chambord (raspberry flavored), Grand Marnier (orange flavored) or Strega. We tested this with rum, but the flavor was better with amaretto.
- Don't overbake. Torta Caprese should be exceptionally moist on the inside.
- Torta Caprese is delicious plain, with a dusting of powdered sugar, but we love it with whipped cream. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would be fabulous too.