This Torta Caprese, made famous by the Italians, combines ground almonds with rich, dark chocolate resulting in an elegant and indulgent chocolate almond cake. Incredibly simple to make, this gluten-free chocolate torte recipe will become a firm favourite.
My favourite thing about this Torta Caprese recipe is its simplicity. A single layer of joyful baking done right. I love baking cakes, but with this one there's no need for multiple layers, bells and whistles of buttercream piping and shards of brittle. This cake wins on all accounts.
The ground almonds add the perfect texture and crumb yet due to their natural oils they add to the moist nature of the cake. In addition, the cake is leavened by the eggs alone, resulting in a surprisingly light cake. This flourless chocolate torte is rich yet not overpowering. It’s best served with a dollop of thickened cream but stands well on its own too.
What is Torta Caprese?
Italian Torta Caprese originates from the island of Capri off Southern Italy. It goes by various names such as Chocolate Almond Torte, Caprese Cake, Chocolate Torte or flouless chocolate cake. As with the origins of many desserts, the history of the torte is a little murky. One story I like is that a baker in Capri was set to make a chocolate cake for a group of tourists to the region.
However, the baker ‘forgot’ to add the flour into the cake batter and the result was this cake with a crisp exterior shell and incredibly moist interior. Luckily, the tourists loved this happy accident so much and named it Torta Caprese for which Capri became famous for.
What’s the difference between a cake and a torte?
The main difference between the two is the ingredients used. A standard cake will include the usual suspects of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. With the inclusion of flour, the cake will be taller in appearance.
A torte on the other hand will have little to no flour in the recipe and will include groundnuts, in this case, ground almonds as a replacement for the flour. The result is a much smaller cake in height that’s denser and richer than a sponge cake. A flourless chocolate torte recipe will either include a simple dusting of cocoa or add chocolate ganache or whipped cream as decoration. One of my favourites from Austria is the Sacher Torte, as it's such an elegant dessert.
I should point out that whilst technically this recipe is considered a torte, I wouldn't blame you if you call it a cake! Actually, I've heard it fondly called the Capri cake!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Need only 8 ingredients. Got to love a recipe that uses only 8 ingredients and still tastes fabulous.
- Super simple to make. The steps to make this chocolate torte recipe are small in number and simple in themselves. Another reason to adore this cake.
- The taste gets better. This is one of those cakes that the flavour develops and deepens as time goes by. The chocolate almond flavour intensifies as every day goes by.
My biggest recommendation with simple cakes is to use the best quality ingredients that you can. You’ll taste the difference when you use the best dark chocolate you can afford in your Almond Flour Chocolate Cake.
- Chocolate: I prefer 70% chocolate as it’s dark but not too bitter. It holds a nice balance of richness that pairs well with the almonds.
- Butter: As with all baked goods, butter adds flavour but also moisture to this cake. I prefer to use unsalted rather than salted butter to then control the amount of salt that I add to the torte. However, if you prefer salted butter then omit the salt in the recipe.
- Amaretto: This is an optional ingredient but one that adds SO much extra flavour. Amaretto is an almond flavoured liqueur and adding a couple of tablespoons to the batter intensifies and lifts the almond flavour. That being said, if you decide not to include it then replace the liqueur with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or paste and you will still have a beautiful tasting cake.
- Almond Meal (ground almonds): Along with the chocolate, the almond meal is the hero of this cake. It adds moisture but also provides a beautiful texture to the crumb of the chocolate almond flour cake.
- Cocoa Powder: Some recipes don’t call for cocoa powder in the recipe, but I like to add just a little. It helps to intensify that beautiful chocolate flavour.
- Salt: An absolute necessity when baking, especially with chocolate. It aids in cutting through the sweetness of the cake and intensifies the chocolate flavour.
- Eggs: Use large eggs at room temperature. If you forget to take them out of the fridge ahead of time then add them to a bowl of warm water for ten minutes. The eggs are the only leavening agent in the batter and create the unexpected lightness to this torte.
- Sugar: Adds the obvious sweetness but also helps in the texture and structure of the torte.
What if I can't find almond meal (ground almonds)?
Ground almonds can be made at home if you have a food processor. Made using almonds with their skins on, if you have blanched almonds you will have equal success!
Place almonds in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse until finely ground, kind of like wet sand. You want to be able to feel the grains between your fingers. If you take this stage too far you’ll end up with almond butter, so take care. Not ideal!!
Is this Torte gluten-free?
Actually- yes it is! There is zero flour added to this recipe making this totally gluten-free. It's a wonderful flourless chocolate cake recipe that you can rely on to feed your gluten-intolerant friends and family!
How to make Torta Caprese
I’ve taken step by step process shots and made notes below referring to each image. You'll soon see how simple it is to make. But the guide will show you how to line your pan or melt your butter in a bain-marie and how long to whip your eggs for.
1. Prepare the pan and melt chocolate and butter. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20 cm (8 inches) springform pan. (Image 1) The cake is going to rise up in the oven and then fall back down after baking so a high sided pan is needed.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie. (Image 2) What's a bain-marie, I hear you saying? It's a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Just make sure that the base isn't touching the water. Stir the chocolate and butter occasionally until they've melted. Remove from the heat.
2. Add in amaretto and dry ingredients. If using, add in the Amaretto and then the almond meal, cocoa powder and salt. (Image 3) Stir to combine until all mixed together. Set aside to cool whilst preparing the next step. (Image 4)
3. Whip the eggs. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or using an electric handheld mixer), whisk the eggs and sugar until pale, thick and aerated. When you lift the whisk out of the mixture, it should leave a ribbon on the surface. (Image 5 & 6)
5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan and bake. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and level it off with an offset spatula. Give the pan a tap on a surface to release any air bubbles. Just to point out, the batter smells amazing, even uncooked!! (Image 9 & 10)
Bake! Bake it for about 25 to 30 minutes. Every oven runs differently, so check your cake around the 20-minute mark. It needs to be set around the edges but the middle has the slightest of wobbles. (Image 11)
Remove it from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for 20 minutes on a wire rack. Then release the sides and peel off the baking paper from the sides. Allow the cake to cool fully. You'll see the cake sink and the crisp top will start to crack. The cake decreases because the hot air trapped within the cake in the oven starts to dissipate, and so the cake starts to collapse. (Image 12)
How do I know if it's baked correctly?
You’ll know as the top develops a crisp crust and the edges have risen and set. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Insert it into the centre and if it comes out with a few moist crumbs then this is perfect. If it comes out with wet batter then bake for a further five minutes.
Dust the Italian Chocolate Cake with cocoa powder and serve!
How do you serve Torta Caprese?
My personal favourite way to serve this Italian Almond Flour Cake, is with a dollop of thickened cream. I don’t sweeten the cream as I prefer it plain to cut through the richness of the cake. You can add fresh berries on the side too. I would go with raspberries or cherries!
- Whip the eggs and sugar for long enough so that they turn pale and fluffy. It helps create a texture which is light and fudgy and not stodgy.
- Fold the chocolate mixture carefully into the egg mixture. We don’t want to knock out all the air from the whisked eggs, so go gently when folding the chocolate through it.
- Cracks on top. This is one hundred per cent normal. Don’t worry. The heat of the oven and the volume created by the whipped eggs causes the cake to puff up. When removed from the oven the cake will collapse a little as the hot air disappears, causing cracks to appear.
- Dust with cocoa powder. This is one option. Alternatively, you can dust it with powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar). Rather than the bitter notes that cocoa powder adds, the powdered icing sugar creates a lovely sweet layer on the top.
- Bake it in a 23cm (9-inch) cake pan/springform pan? The cake will turn out thinner and so you'll need to reduce the bake time accordingly. Start checking it at 15-20 minutes and go from there.
- Make the torte in advance. It tastes better the next day and the flavours mature and intensify. Check out my note below on how to store it if you do make it ahead of time.
- Chocolate Hazelnut Torte: If you don't have ground almonds then substitute the almonds for ground hazelnuts. The combination is magnificent!
- Chocolate Raspberry Torte: Turn this into Valentine's delight by adding raspberries into the batter just before baking. Then, add some more piled over the top for a bigger fruity kick. Chocolate and raspberries are a lover's favourite combination! Scroll down for some images below of the torte with raspberries- it looks so beautiful.
- Espresso Chocolate Torte: Add 1 tablespoon of espresso powder into the melted dark chocolate and butter mixture. It will infuse throughout the batter leaving you with a beautiful coffee tasting chocolate fudgy cake.
To store: Let the torte cool completely and wrap well in plastic wrap. The torte can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Leave the torte to come to room temperature before serving.
To freeze: This cake freezes really well. Allow it to cool completely and wrap in a piece of parchment paper then place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw place overnight in the refrigerator. Leave the torte to come to room temperature before serving.
Equipment you’ll need
- Springform pan 20cm (8inch): Or if you have a cake pan with a removable base, then use that. Just make sure that you grease and line the base and sides of the pan.
- Stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment: I use the stand mixer as my machine is readily available and accessible. But use electric hand-held beaters with the whisk attachment if that is what you have on hand.
More chocolate filled recipes that you may like
If you tried this Torta Caprese recipe (Italian Chocolate Torte) or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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Torta Caprese (Chocolate Torte) Recipe
- 150 g dark chocolate 70%, coarsely chopped
- 150 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 30 ml Amaretto, almond liqueur
- 150 g almond meal, ground almonds
- 10 g cocoa powder, unsweetened
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 4 large eggs
- 150 g granulated sugar
- Prepare the pan and melt chocolate and butter. Grease and line with parchment paper, the base and sides of a 20 cm (8-inch) springform tin or cake pan with removable base. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Make the chocolate mixture. Melt the chocolate and butter. Add the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (this is called a bain-marie/double-boiler). Ensure the base doesn’t touch the water. Stirring occasionally, heat until the chocolate and butter have melted completely and combined. Remove from the heat. Add in amaretto and dry ingredients. Add into the melted chocolate the Amaretto, ground almonds, cocoa powder and salt and stir until fully incorporated. Set aside to cool whilst continuing on with the next step.
- Whip the eggs. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add in the eggs and sugar and whip on medium to high speed until thick and pale, and the mixture forms a ribbon when the whisk is lifted. (Alternatively, use electric hand-held beaters.)
- Add the chocolate to the eggs. Pour in the chocolate mixture into the whipped eggs, and using a rubber spatula, fold the chocolate through until fully combined. Make sure to scrape the base of the bowl as you fold. Fold gently so as not to knock out the air whipped into the eggs.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan and bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and level with an offset spatular. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a few crumbs still attached to it, the sides are set and the middle has a slight jiggle. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before releasing the cake from the tin. Leave to cool completely before transferring to a serving plate. Dust with cocoa powder to serve.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.