Recipe for Torta Caprese, a chocolate and almond cake from Capri, Southern Italy
What's torta caprese
Torta Caprese is a cake that originated on the island of Capri in the Campania region of southern Italy.
It is a relatively new addition to the world of Italian desserts, dating back to around 1920. It is said that a chef named Carmine Di Fiore on Capri accidentally forgot to add wheat flour to the cake batter and baked it anyway. The result was a cake with a crispy outer layer and a moist and soft interior. This cake became popular and has been continuously made on Capri, giving rise to the name "Torta Caprese."
Similar to Tarte Tatin, there are quite a few desserts in this category of "accidentally forgetting to include an ingredient and turning out delicious." While the authenticity of these stories may not always be certain, the variations in ingredients and recipes make them intriguing and enjoyable to explore.
The ingredients of this cake are basically simple yet intriguing, consisting of chocolate, butter, granulated sugar, eggs, and almond flour, which creates a unique and delightful texture.
The moist texture of baked goods is perfect for serving as a dessert after a meal!
This Torta Caprese is also a baked treat, but it becomes incredibly moist even without the addition of wheat flour.
The reason why a moist texture is important in baked goods recipes, especially for desserts, is because it makes them more suitable for serving after a meal.
Baked goods have a satisfying texture and are ideal for afternoon snacks. Imagine finishing a course meal and having a pound cake presented right in front of you—it might not sit well in your stomach.
When you want to use baked goods as a dessert, options like this Torta Caprese, brownies, or a generously syrup-soaked Gâteau au Citron (lemon cake) are the perfect choices. They have a moist and tender texture, making them easy to enjoy as a post-meal treat.
Original Recipe of Torta Caprese Learned in Amalfi
This Torta Caprese is the same recipe I previously wrote about in the article featuring lemon and walnut pasta, which I learned at an agriturismo in Amalfi. While this cake was born on Capri Island, it is also widely made along the Amalfi Coast.
As mentioned in the article, the Sorrento area, which is the endpoint of the Amalfi Coast where ferries to Capri Island depart, is renowned for its high-quality walnuts. The walnuts from Sorrento have even received the I.G.P. (Protected Geographical Indication) designation for their exceptional quality. In the original version of this recipe, we used a mix of crushed walnuts and whole almonds, splitting them evenly, and processing them in a food processor to create the cake.
The rustic charm of this cake, with its rich aroma and crunchy texture, is enhanced by the subtle sophistication of Amaretto liqueur and rum. When I first tasted it, I was utterly surprised that such a unique treat with this appearance existed! However, when I tried making it outside of Amalfi using the same method, I found that the almond and walnut flavors weren't as pronounced, and only the crunchy texture remained. On the other hand, when I substituted almond powder, the cake turned out even moister.
Using almonds with their skins on does add more flavor, but it also results in a coarser texture, resembling the difference between all-purpose flour and whole wheat flour. That's why for this recipe, I used all almond powder to achieve a moister texture that allows the chocolate flavor to shine through.
If you happen to have access to high-quality almonds and fresh walnuts, I recommend trying the recipe using crushed whole nuts processed in a food processor. It can yield a delightful outcome!
Classic, yet stylish Bundt Cake
The Torta Caprese is traditionally baked in a round cake pan and dusted with powdered sugar before serving, but this time, I tried baking it in a bundt cake pan.
A bundt cake is a ring-shaped cake, and I used to associate it with vintage cake molds from decades ago, so I hadn't used it much before. However, lately, I've come across quite a few trendy cakes made in bundt cake pans, so I decided to give it a try and purchased one. Since there's no specific recipe for bundt cakes, I thought of using my usual marble cake recipe that I used with a pound cake pan before, but baking it in a bundt cake pan feels refreshing and promising. It's also easier for decoration.
How to use ganache sauce
The sauce drizzled on top is a ganache-type sauce that can be made and used immediately. It has a glossy appearance and a perfect richness, making it easy to pour over the cake without flowing too much. When chilled, it sets and maintains a soft and velvety texture characteristic of ganache.
It's also great for decorating the plate when serving the cake.
On the plate, place about one tablespoon of chocolate and use a decorating comb to create wavy patterns. Even if you make a mistake, you can easily re-do it by layering over. Each time, you'll get a different expression, making it a fun experience.
Using the sauce can instantly elevate the same dessert into a fancy restaurant-style presentation, so having a few decoration patterns on hand is convenient for serving as a welcoming treat for guests.
The decorating comb in the picture is specifically designed for creating chocolate decorations and is made of rubber. While I couldn't find the same item online, you can achieve a similar pattern using a cake scraper or similar tools.
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- 125 g chocolate
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 150 g almond powder
- 4 egg yolks
- 75 g granulated sugar, for the yolks
- 4 egg whites
- 50 g granulated sugar, for the egg whites
- ½ tablespoon amaretto liqueur
- ½ tablespoon rum
- 20 g mineral water
- 30 g granulated sugar
- 125 g heavy cream
- 190 g chocolate
- Melt the chocolate and butter using a double boiler or microwave.
- In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and granulated sugar, and whisk until it becomes pale.
- Add the melted chocolate and butter from step 1 to the mixture in step 2, and mix using a rubber spatula.
- Sift in the almond flour and add Amaretto liqueur and rum, then mix well.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites and gradually add the granulated sugar in three portions to make meringue.
- Divide the meringue into two parts and gently fold them into the batter from step 4, being careful not to deflate the bubbles.
- Bake in a 170°C (338°F) oven for about 35-40 minutes. To check if it's done, insert a bamboo skewer into the center, and if it comes out clean, it's ready.
- Warm mineral water, granulated sugar, and heavy cream.
- Gradually pour the warmed mixture into the chopped chocolate and mix using a whisk. At first, it may seem separated, but as the chocolate melts and blends, it will become a smooth cream.
- Pour the prepared ganache sauce over the Torta Caprese, and decorate with sliced almonds.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 490Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 136mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 3gSugar: 33gProtein: 9g