‘Torta Caprese’ is a flourless cake, and before you say ‘Surely it’s not good then…?’, let me tell you how utterly wrong you are. 🙂 Well, suffice it to say, I was thinking right along the same line, when I first had a taste of it and I went ‘Hmmm, so that’s how a flourless cake tastes like!’. 😀
This Italian cake originated from the island of Capri, a paradise island on the southern part of Italy. (Can you tell how much I LOVE that place? 😉 ) I’m not sure if there is any truth in the story, but they’re saying it was all an accident how ‘torta caprese’ came about. Apparently, the chef forgot to add the flour to the cake mixture, but once it was cooked, he served it anyway, and everyone loved it. 🙂
No big surprise that the accident turned out to be a hit. I think using less ingredients in it elevates the taste of the almonds and chocolate even more.
A heads-up on this recipe though, I prefer to make my ‘torta caprese’ a bit less sweet. If you prefer yours sweeter, just add a quarter (or half) of a cup of sugar. I think adjusting the amount of sugar is better than changing from a bittersweet to a sweet chocolate. It is good to have a layer of bitterness in there; it complements the almonds and it cuts through the flavor of the orange zests as well.
I also choose to grind my own almonds (without blanching). So, with skin and all, everything goes into the food processor until they are still a bit coarse. I don’t want them as fine as almond flour because I still want to see and chew on itsy-bitsy almond pieces. 🙂
I have heard that they also make this cake with walnuts, instead of almonds. I never had that when we were in Capri, so not so sure how the taste will differ. Tell you what though, I will add that item on my ‘to-try-recipes’ list and I promise to post it as soon as I got the details right. 🙂
In the meantime, give this ‘Chocolate Almond Torte’ a try and let me know! 😀
- 1 and 1/4 cups almonds, toasted
- 1 stick (113 grams) butter, unsalted (plus 1/2 tsp for greasing the pan)
- 230 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large orange, grated zest
- 2 tbsp rum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- confectioner's sugar, for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
Grease an 8-inch cake pan.
Grind the almonds (in a food processor or high powered blender) until they are a bit fine, but not as powdery as almond flour.
Combine the stick of butter with bittersweet chocolate and melt together in a double boiler, stirring constantly. Once the chocolate has completely melted, set aside to cool.
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks with ¼ cup of sugar and mix until they turn slightly golden. Add the orange zest, rum and salt and mix to combine. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in the grounded almonds.
In another mixing bowl, add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar to the egg whites and beat until you get stiff peaks. Add a third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and gently fold to mix.
Add the rest of the egg whites and fold gently to combine.
Pour the mixture into the greased pan and bake until the top firms up (around 35 to 40 minutes).
Take it out of the oven and let it cool down.
Remove the cake from the pan, sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on top and serve.
- I have tried using amaretto instead of rum, and it turned out great as well. Since amaretto is almond based, it lessens the bitterness (from the rum), and heightens the almond flavor.