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Torta Caprese

Italian Torta Caprese is a decadent, flourless cake made with dark chocolate and almonds.

With only 5 ingredients and straightforward steps, this easy recipe is the perfect dessert for busy cooks or beginners. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free!

Torta Caprese with a wedge cut and slightly removed.
Torta Caprese is a dessert anyone can master.

Torta Caprese is named after the island of Capri and is said to have been created by a baker’s mistake when flour was left out of the recipe. There are several stories, but I’m unsure which one is correct. Either way, it’s a much-loved torta throughout Italy because it’s deliciously moist and fudgy, perfect with a dollop of raspberry compote and topped with mascarpone cream.

Similar to my Espresso Brownies, the thin crust on the top cracks and settles as this cake cools and sinks a little, creating a wonderful rustic surface. Inside, this almond flour chocolate cake is dense, moist, and rich, satisfying any devout chocolate lover!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Easy: Torta Caprese is both delicious and easy to make. No fancy ingredients or techniques are required, yet it delivers an impressive dessert.
  • Naturally Gluten-Free: While you may not need to avoid gluten, and neither may your family, there will be times when you need a gluten-free option. So, just like my Almond Flour Cookies, this is the cake to serve.
  • Kid Friendly: The flavor of the liqueur compliments this Torta Caprese perfectly. However, it’s completely optional and can be omitted for a kid-friendly dessert.
  • Stunning: This cake looks gorgeous with just a dusting of cocoa powder. It’s a naturally elegant dessert that requires minimal effort to present beautifully.

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe as in the recipe card.
  • Almonds: Use whole, unblanched (skin-on) almonds, ground in a blender or food processor. Check the Substitutions below for more information.
  • Chocolate: I use 70% cacao dark chocolate. Depending on your preferred chocolate intensity, you can use anything from 60% to 85%.
  • Butter: Unsalted or salted is fine. Adding a good pinch of fine salt to the cake batter is important if you choose unsalted butter.
  • Sugar: Regular white granulated sugar is used in this recipe.
  • Eggs: Good quality, large eggs will give you the best results.
  • Cocoa Powder: I like to finish Torta Caprese with just a dusting of cocoa powder to keep it from being too sweet.
  • Liqueur: This is optional. If you want to add a little, as in the recipe, try grappa or a coffee liqueur like Kahlua or Grand Marnier if you’d like to add a citrus twist.

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 320ºF/160ºC. Then grease and line an 8 or 9-inch (20-22cm) springform pan. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or carefully in the microwave) and set aside to cool.

Ground almonds in a food processor.

If not using ground almonds or almond flour, grind the almonds in a food processor. Set aside.

Egg yolks being added to creamy butter  mixture in a bowl.

Beat butter with half the sugar, then add egg yolks.

Stirring ground nuts and melted chocolate together.

Stir in the melted chocolate and liqueur, followed by ground almonds and salt.

Whisk covered in stiffly beaten egg whites held above a bowl of beaten egg whites.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites to soft peaks, then sprinkle in sugar. Whisk to form firm peaks.

Beaten egg whites being folded into melted chocolate mixture.

Using a rubber spatula, fold egg whites through the chocolate mixture.

Grainy chocolate cake batter in a round cake pan.

Pour into prepared pan and bake.

Cool completely in the pan before serving.

    Hint: Torta Caprese makes wonderful use of almonds. If you love almonds as much as I do, try this Tosca cake or these yummy Italian Orange Cranberry Biscotti. If you have time, always toast the nuts before using them in any recipe. Toasting brings out the true flavor in all nuts.

    Substitutions

    • Almonds – Instead of whole almonds, use almond flour or ground almonds, depending on whether you prefer a coarse or fine texture. Almond flour will produce a finer, denser texture than ground almonds.
    • Liqueur – The alcohol part is entirely optional. Leave it out if you would rather. If that is the case, check the cake at 45 minutes instead of 50 minutes.
    • Cocoa Powder: Dust the finished cake with powdered sugar instead.

    Variations

    • Hazelnut Torta Caprese: Use ground hazelnuts instead of almonds.
    • Citrus Zing: Add the finely grated zest of one orange for a hint of citrus.
    • Ganache Topping: For extra lusciousness, drizzle with chocolate ganache. Use the ganache topping recipe from my Chocolate Tart.

    Equipment

    An electric hand-held or stand mixer is essential for this recipe because the egg whites must be beaten until they are thick and white. It can be done using a hand whisk, but it will take time and a bit of muscle.

    I like to use a springform pan to make unmolding this Torta Caprese easy. Either an 8 or 9-inch pan will work. That’s 20 or 22 centimeters. A regular round cake pan will work, though the thin crust on top may crumble. A deep pie plate is another option; the cake can be served directly from the pie plate.

    Storage

    This cake will be fine for 3-4 days. If you live in a hot, humid climate like I do, pop it into a sealed container and the refrigerator if not eaten on the first day. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.

    This cake will freeze quite well. If you have leftovers you can’t eat, cut them into slices, wrap well in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months.

    Top tips

    Whole round unfrosted chocolate cake dusted with cocoa powder.
    • I recommend using high-quality dark chocolate for this recipe. The recipe calls for 70% cacao, but feel free to choose a darkness between 60% and 85% to suit your taste preference.
    • There is no baking powder in Torta Caprese. The rising comes from the beaten egg whites. So use only very fresh eggs. Separate the eggs carefully. That means no yolk in with the whites and use a clean bowl to whisk the egg whites.
    • Don’t overwhip the whites. Only whip until the mixture looks creamy and firm peaks form. That means when the whisk is pulled out, the tips of the egg whites will slightly droop. For best results, don’t beat until dry, stiff peaks form.
    • Because this cake is quite delicate when hot, cool it in the pan completely before removing it.

    FAQ

    Where is Torta Caprese from?

    Torta Caprese is a recipe from Italy. It’s named after the island of Capri, where this cake is said to have originated. Today, it’s quite well known and is a much-loved dessert in the nearby city of Naples.

    Is Torta Caprese gluten free?

    Yes, this recipe is completely gluten-free, as written. If you choose to substitute any ingredients, please check that they contain no gluten if that’s important.

    Can I freeze Torta Caprese?

    Yes, this cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.

    Serving Suggestions

    Round unfrosted chocolate cake with a wedge slightly removed viewed from above.

    This Italian dessert will complete any meal, especially a seafood dish like Octopus Salad or Stuffed Squid.  

    Torta Caprese is a beautiful cake that requires no fancy decorating skills. A simple dusting of cocoa powder with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of my Mascarpone Ice Cream is all that’s needed. So impress your guests with this stunning dessert – they’ll never guess how easy it was to make.

    Related

    Italian Lemon Cake
    Torta Sbrisolona
    Torta Della Nonna

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    Torta Caprese with a wedge cut and slightly removed.

    Torta Caprese Recipe

    This flourless Chocolate Almond cake is known as Torta Caprese in Italy. As the name suggests it takes it’s name from the island of Capri. It is gluten free by nature and is a delicious dessert that everyone can enjoy.
    5 from 33 votes
    Print Pin Review
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 50 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
    Servings:12 servings
    Author: Marcellina

    Ingredients

    • 8 ounces (225 grams) bittersweet (dark) chocolate See Note 1
    • 1 ¾ cup (250 grams) almonds (unblanched) See Note 2
    • 1 cup (2 sticks/225 grams) unsalted butter ( room temperature)
    • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
    • 5 eggs separated
    • 3 tablespoon (45ml) Grappa (or other liqueur) optional see Note 3
    • pinch salt
    • cocoa for dusting See Note 4

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 325ºF/160ºC. Butter an 8 or 9 inch (20 or 22cm) springform pan and line the base with nonstick baking paper.
    • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Set aside to cool.
    • Grind the almonds in food processor until they resemble cornmeal but not as finely ground as flour. It’s ok if it’s a little more than cornmeal.
    • Using a stand mixer, beat the butter with half the sugar until smooth and well mixed.
    • Add yolks one at a time while the mixer is on low speed. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides.
    • Mix in the melted chocolate and liqueur and then the ground almonds and salt. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl to be sure all of the chocolate and almonds are mixed through.
    • If you have another bowl for your stand mixer use it for the egg white. Otherwise, scrape out the chocolate mixture into a large bowl and wash out the stand mixer bowl to prepare to beat the egg whites.
    • Beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
    • Sprinkle in the remaining sugar and whisk until firm peaks form but the mixture is not dry.
    • Mix a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Then mix in the rest of the egg whites gently until no white traces remain.
    • Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with just a few crumbs clinging.
    • Cool cake in the pan. When cool, run a knife around the edge and remove the ring.
    • Place the cake onto a serving plate and dust generously with cocoa.

    Notes

    1. I use 70% cacao dark chocolate. 
    2. Almond flour or ground almonds can be used. You’ll need to weigh the amount required. Don’t use measuring cups.
    3. You can optionally add a splash of your preferred liquor. Grappa, coffee liqueur, or a citrusy option like Grand Marnier would all work well!
    4. Torta Caprese can also be dusted with powdered sugar.
    5. This cake improves on keeping, so get organized and make it the day before.
    6. If storing for longer than a day, cover it and keep it in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
    7. Freeze by wrapping well in a double layer of plastic wrap. 
    Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

    Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

    Serving: 0g | Calories: 464kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 32mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 3.3mg

    Nutritional Disclaimer

    Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

    This updated and improved recipe was first published here on August 15, 2018.

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    40 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      OMG, THE BEST TORTA I EVER HAD!
      DECADENT, RICH. VELVETY WITH A CRISPY EDGE! YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH THIS ONE. IT IS FABULOUS! (I used almond flour and for the liquor I used Grand Marnier Orange Cognac.) It came out beautiful! It was perfectly done in 40 minutes in my convection oven. Thank you, Marcelina!

      1. 5 stars
        Followed the recipe exactly and used Kahlua. Refrigerated overnight and brought it to room temperature a few hours before serving . Made it for a friends anniversary and it was gone in seconds 🙂 topped it with mascarpone whipped cream . Absolutely brilliant ! 10 stars , grazie Marcellina