The history of the Torta Caprese
I love a rich moist dark chocolate cake and there’s none better than this classic Torta Caprese – Chocolate Almond Cake – from the exquisite island of Capri. There are lots of stories about where the original recipe comes from but the history that makes the most sense to me is that the recipe was first made at the beautiful Villa Brunella. The villa makes a positively exquisite Torta Caprese to serve their guests each day in their wonderful restaurant. The villa owner, Brunella, made the cake every day and now it’s her son Luigi who has taken over the daily baking.
Brunella says it was her own mom Jolanda who first made this cake using almonds from the trees from a neighboring villa. Apparently a Russian guest at this villa suggested to Jolanda that she make a cake using the almonds. This was just after the second world war in the 1940s so Jolanda also had lots of wonderful chocolate on hand brought to Capri by American soldiers. So Jolanda finely ground the almonds, and mixed them with eggs, sugar and chocolate and came up with this exquisite recipe. Torta Caprese – Chocolate Almond Cake – is an easy cake to make, absolutely delicious and also happens to be gluten-free as there is no flour at all in the recipe.
Use a mini-food processor or nut grinder like this one to grind the almonds.
Torta Caprese Recipe
- Springform pan, 8"
- Food processor to finely grind the almonds
- Baking paper
- 250 grams Chocolate, dark 70%
- 300 grams Almonds, unpeeled finely ground
- 250 grams Butter
- 6 egg yolks
- 6 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons Potato starch
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 250 grams Sugar, granulated
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 30 grams sugar, powdered
- Melt chocolate and butter together in top of double boiler, then set aside to cool.
- Beat egg yolks with sugar and vanilla until creamy and light.
- Beat egg whites until stiff.
- Finely grind the almonds until almost powdery; the ground almonds are the flour in this cake. You may be able to purchase already ground almonds.
- Whisk the finely ground almonds with potato starch and baking powder together.
- Add melted butter & chocolate, and beaten egg yolks to the almond mixture with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- Gently fold in egg whites with a spatula until just fully incorporated.
- Butter the sides and bottom of the cake pan- springform pan is ideal.
- Line the bottom of the pan with an 8" round cut from baking paper.
- Pour the batter into the 8" baking pan.
- Bake at 180 C° or 350 F° for 45 minutes.
- Cool for half an hour, remove cake from the pan and place on a serving platter.
- Dust lightly with powdered sugar.
- Note: This cake freezes well. Defrost at room temperature.
Another wonderful recipe from the island of Capri are Ravioli Caprese. Here’s a great recipe.
Are you intrigued by Capri? How about a bespoke Weeklong Food Holiday in Magical Capri?
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