A delicious gluten-free Torta Caprese. A cake with a fudgy core, made with almonds and chocolate. A famous Italian dessert from the island of Capri. In my recipe, I made it with olive oil and refined sugar-free. Moist on the inside and cakey on the outside, Caprese cake is a well-balanced Mediterranean delight.
What is Torta Caprese?
In Italian, Torta means cake, and Caprese is the place of origin (Capri). It is a vegetarian, gluten-free, well-known dessert, widespread in the greater area of Naples (Amalfi, Sorrento).
There are different stories about the origin of Torta Caprese. One story suggests that it was created for the Austrian wife of the king of Naples. She requested an Austrian chocolate cake (Sacher) and the king's chef didn't know the recipe, so he improvised using almonds, a typical Neapolitan ingredient.
Another story suggests that the chef Carmine di Fiore who invented it forgot to add flour when he was preparing a dessert for three American gangsters who visited Capri to trade with Al Capone! The result was very tasty and everyone was so pleased that wanted to know the recipe.
Almonds: I prefer roasted almonds, but we can always use raw almonds, almond flour, or almond meal. Grind them until they have an almond meal consistency or as fine as you like from this point on.
Chocolate: 75% to 85% chocolate is preferable. I use 75% sugar-free chocolate that contains coconut sugar. But you can use any chocolate percentage you like.
Olive oil: Use a mild extra-virgin olive oil for the true Mediterranean experience. Italian cuisine uses olive oil heavily, which adds moisture and richness to this cake. It is also full of antioxidants and healthy fats with anti-inflammatory properties.
Sweetener: To keep the dessert sugar-free and sweet, I added honey. In this recipe, I am using honey from flowers. You can always use the same amount of maple syrup or 1 cup of coconut sugar.
Eggs: Eggs make the cake fluffy and work as a level and binding agent. I use organic eggs.
Cocoa powder: It helps with the texture and enhances the chocolate flavor of the cake.
Liqueur: Use Amaretto, orange-flavor, or Limoncello liqueur. Carmine di Fiore's recipe calls for rum.
Salt: Adding some salt to a chocolate cake enhances the chocolate flavor.
Tips & tricks for making a tasty Torta Caprese
Add half the amount of almonds and switch half the amount with hazelnuts to give a different flavor identity to the cake.
Substitute liqueur with vanilla extract (1 tsp) or fresh-squeezed orange juice. When using orange juice, add 1 teaspoon of orange zest to make the aroma more intense. We can achieve the same effect using lemon.
If you melt the chocolate in a microwave: add the chocolate pieces to a bowl and microwave it for 30 seconds, pausing in between to stir. Stop microwaving when chocolate is nearly melted. Continue stirring. The heat will melt all the pieces.
If you melt the chocolate in a bain-marie: Add the chocolate pieces to a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally.
Do not overmix the meringue, because you will deflate the cake. It should be just incorporated into the mixture.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for at least 40 minutes. Do not remove the cake from the pan, while still hot. It is very fragile and will most definitely break into pieces.
Torta Caprese is a moist cake, do not overcook it. It may still look very soft but it will continue to bake/harden while cooling. Baking time varies between ovens so keep a close eye on it.
To remove the cake from the pan easier, use a springform pan.
Always bake this cake in a static oven and in the middle of it and not in a fan mode because it will dry the cake out.
How to serve Torta Caprese
Torta Caprese is traditionally served at room temperature or cool. Top it with the following for extra flavor.
- Typically torta Caprese is dusted with powder/icing sugar. Be sure that the cake is absolutely cool, otherwise the sugar with sopped up by the surface.
- Dust it with stevia, erythritol, or monk fruit powdered sugar for a sugar-free alternative.
- Dust it with cocoa powder for an extra chocolate flavor.
- Drizzle with a chocolate glaze or date caramel.
- Add a dollop of maple or honey whipped cream.
- Serve with cherry sauce, fresh berries, or seasonal fruits.
- Serve it with a scoop of ice cream.
- Shave some sugar-free chocolate on top.
How to store
Torta Caprese can be stored at room temperature, in a cake/airtight container, for up to 4 days and is even better the next day.
You can also freeze the cake. Place individual pieces (without the addition of powder sugar, if used) in plastic wrap or zip-lock bags, and freeze for up to 2 months.
See also this:
Italian Flourless Almond & Chocolate Cake (Torta Caprese)
- 200 g/7.05oz roasted almonds
- 200 g/7.05oz chocolate 75%
- 85 g mild olive oil extra virgin
- 130 g/4.58oz honey
- 15 g/2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoon amaretto liqueur
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼-½ teaspoon sea salt fine
- Separate egg yolks from egg whites and set aside.
- Line a 20cm (8 inch) cake pan (bottom and sides) with parchment paper and brush with some oil. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
- Grind the almonds into a meal consistency and place them in the fridge to chill.
- Melt the chocolate, in a large bowl, in a microwave or bain-marie.
- Whisk the olive oil and honey into the melted chocolate. Add the cocoa powder and amaretto and whisk until incorporated. Set aside and let it cool for ~ 3 minutes.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg whites using an electric mixer, until soft, pillowy and stiff (meringue texture).
- Add the egg yolks in the cool chocolate mixture, and whisk until combined. Then, add the chilled almond powder, salt, baking soda and powder, and stir to combine.
- Finally, fold the meringue from the bottom up, until combined.
- Pour the batter into the pan, level it with a spatula, and bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake should be slightly firm at the top and moist in the middle when removed from the oven, or bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely in the pan, and then remove it and place it on a cooling rack.
- When the cake is cool, serve it with your favorite topping.
- Enjoy 😄
Servings: 1 (86g) | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 8.57g | Fat: 28.97g | Saturated Fat: 7.4g | Trans Fat: 0.021g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 378mg | Fiber: 4.8g | Sugar: 13.69g | Vitamin A: 116IU | Vitamin E: 6.67mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 3.66mg | Copper: 0.591mg