Flourless Chocolate-Almond Cake (Torta Caprese)
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Containing no flour and leavened by whipped egg whites alone, this flourless chocolate-almond cake is at once light, rich, and moist. Bittersweet chocolate makes it perfectly sweet, and ground almonds give it a wonderful texture throughout. It can stand alone without any garnish, but it’s especially good with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
On Christmas Eve my mother served this torta caprese — a flourless, chocolate-almond torte originating from the Isle of Capri — for dessert. Not a single person sitting at the table, nine in total, turned down seconds. Later that evening, Santa even helped himself to thirds.
I love this class of cakes, those that can stand on their own, that don’t beg for layers of buttercream, pools of crème pâtissière, or glazes of chocolate ganache. This one, like the orange-and-olive oil cake and the Chez Panisse almond torte, fits into this class.
Containing no flour and leavened only by whipped egg whites, this torte is at once light, rich, and moist. Ground almonds give it a wonderful texture throughout, and a splash of Grand Marnier offers a lovely, complementary hint of orange.
Made with bittersweet chocolate, it is perfectly sweet, and when it bakes, a brownie-like, most-delicious, paper-thin crust forms on the top-most layer. It is every bit elegant the finale of a special occasion should be. I hope you find time to celebrate it soon.
How to Make Torta Caprese, Step by Step
First, gather your ingredients.
Then, grind the almonds with some of the sugar in the food processor until fine.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler or a microwave if you have one.
Separate the eggs.
Then beat the yolks with some of the sugar until pale yellow and thick.
Add the chocolate-butter mixture to the eggs, followed by the ground almonds, and stir to combine.
Add the salt and Grand Marnier, if using, and stir to combine.
Beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form.
Then fold the egg whites into the batter in two additions.
Transfer the batter to a buttered- and parchment-lined springform pan.
Flourless Chocolate-Almond Cake (Torta Caprese)
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 12 servings
Source: The Best American Recipes 1999
Notes: Like the orange-and-olive oil cake and the Chez Panisse almond torte, this one stays moist and delicious for days, so don’t be afraid to make it ahead of time. If you are abstaining from alcohol, the Grand Marnier, or other liqueur, is truly optional — delicious and moist with or without.
Chocolate: I like the Guittard 74% cacao wafers. No need to chop if you use the wafers. I also have success simply pouring the hot melted butter over the wafers in a bowl, letting them sit for a minute, then stirring.
- 2 cups (about 227 g) unblanched whole or sliced almonds
- 1 1/4 cups (250 g) sugar, divided
- 8 oz (227 g) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped, see notes above
- 8 oz (2 sticks, 227 g) unsalted butter
- 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon (4 g) salt
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, optional
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional
- flaky sea salt, optional
- fresh berries such as raspberries
- Preheat oven to 325ºF and set a rack on the lower or middle level. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper.
- Grind the almonds in a food processor with 1/3 cup of the sugar. (Post grinding, your almond-sugar mixture will be about 3 cups).
- In a bowl over simmering water or in the top of a double boiler or in the microwave, melt the chocolate and butter together. Set aside.
- Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer until lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in 2/3 cup of the sugar. Add the chocolate mixture, stirring to mix well. Add the ground almonds and stir to incorporate. Add the salt, and the 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier, if using, and stir to combine.
- In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until they form firm peaks. In two additions, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour or longer — a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or if you have an instant-read thermometer, it should register 205ºF or above.
- Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan, then let cool completely.
- When the cake has cooled, transfer it to a serving platter. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top.
- Optional: beat 1/2 cup heavy cream with a few tablespoons of confectioners sugar and a pinch of flaky sea salt until soft peaks form — I do this with my flat-bottomed whisk (which I love: it’s the Xlarge Whipper). Taste. Add more sugar and/or salt to taste, and beat lightly again — I love whipped cream that’s still soft and billowy in texture and not too sweet. Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and some fresh berries, if you have them.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian/American
Keywords: flourless, chocolate, almond, cake, torta, caprese
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
94 Comments on “Flourless Chocolate-Almond Cake (Torta Caprese)”
Grand Marnier is such a great flavoring for chocolate desserts, but if someone was not inclined to use alcohol, you could use a combination of vanilla and almond extract, I imagine. What a beautiful torte–and how nice that it keeps.
Flourless choc cake is one of my favorite desserts, my default recipe is from David Rosengarten, his good old days of FoodTV show, Taste.
But, I think yours will be even better, the inclusion of almonds and Grand Marnier… WOW!
Pinned for the future… 😉
Sally— I’ll have to look up the David Rosengarten recipe… sounds like fun!
The picture at the top is mouth watering! I can’t wait to try this! Do you think almonds in their skin would be fine?
Clare — yes, definitely, I’m pretty sure that’s what my mother always uses. My sliced almonds had skins, so I imagine whole almonds with skins would be just fine.
I love simple, stand alone, delicious cakes too! Especially when almond meal and chocolate are involved. This looks fantastic!
Simply delicious! I can’t wait to try!
I have almond meal, can I use that instead of grinding my own almonds? And if so, how much would I use?
Hina — I just emailed somebody about this question. If you have a scale, I would just weigh out 12oz of almond flour, otherwise, I would guess that you use about 1.75 cups. I am going to measure with my dry measuring cups 12oz of almond meal and see what it comes out to be. I’ll report back!
Hina — I just weighed 2 cups of almond flour and it came out to be 6 1/8 ounces. I don’t totally know how to advise. I think using 4 cups of almond flour is way too much, but that is what 12oz almond flour equates to in dry measurements. I say use 2 cups almond flour and then evaluate how the cake comes out from there. Let me know how it turns out!
I made this today and used 2 cups of Almond Flour/Meal and cooked it for 55 minutes as you suggested. It was PERFECT. I will certainly use this recipe again!
Almond meal and almond flour are two different things. : ) Almond meal will weigh more than the flour.
How do they differ? Aren’t they both simply ground almonds? Is almond meal more coarse?
I just made one of these today. Great minds think alike.
Val — too funny. There is something so deeply satisfying about these sorts of cakes.
You need more than two cups ground almonds. I put in a healthy 2 cups and ended up
Baking for the 1 hour 15 as top was done but the inside is a bit too moist. Albeit delicious. Not sure as trying tolet it cool thinking maybe it will become more solid.
Maybe should have let it bake even longer? I’m sure it will get eaten.
Diana — sorry for the trouble with the baking time issue. Thats always frustrating. Did you grind your own almonds or use almond flour? What size springform pan are you using? That could affect the time — the original recipe suggests baking it for as long as an hour and a half. As I noted, I baked mine for 55 min, and it is moist but not underdone. I let it cool completely — for 5 or 6 hours before cutting into it. Did yours sink in the middle at all? Did it get become more solid as it cooled? So sorry for the trouble.
i used ground almond flour–
will try to grind my own whole almonds and see the difference, thats part of the fun of baking /experimenting. It did indeed sink in middle. no worries , half gone already.
Definitely a recipe to return to . By the by… the mac and cheese with arancini was very good even in veg version with no pancetta. Thanks for a great blog.
Diana — Glad to hear that the cake isn’t going to waste, but it is still frustrating when things don’t turn out. I think grinding the almonds is the way to go, and I should probably make a note of that in the recipe. Not only do they provide a nice texture, I think they also might help structurally, though I can’t say for sure. I guess if someone else were to try the almond flour, they should probably go by weight and use more like 4 cups of almond flour vs. 2? That just seems like so much, no?!
So glad you like the veg version of the mac & cheese. Someone else suggested using fresh bay in place of the saffron, which I thought was a great idea. Thanks for your nice comment and for being understanding with the almond flour issue.
Ali: this is FABULOUS! I made it last night along with the pan-seared NY strip and citrus vinaigrette with breadcrumbs, and it was pretty darned amazing. My favorite part was the crackly topping. I had visions of us scooping it straight out of the pan because I don’t have a springform, but it slid right out, and after two flips to keep the crackly top on top, it was divine. I also love your chocolate layer cake…but this one probably edges it out…. just slightly. I used a bar of bittersweet and a bar of semi-sweet from Ghirardelli’s — next time, I’d probably just use the bittersweet (60%). SO GOOD.
Oh Linds, I’m so happy to hear this. I would agree about this one slightly edging out the chocolate layer cake — there’s something just so elegant about its simplicity, and the taste I think is just perfect. I have been using the Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate for a variety of baking projects (namely a chocolate bread that I was hoping to blog about before Valentine’s Day, but alas never got around to), and I have been very pleased with its performance. Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. xoxo
I made this today. I have a problem with these souffle base cakes. They fluff up so much even though juding from the pictures, it’s not supposed to. What am I doing wrong? I thought I was supposed to gently fold until it’s incorporated?
Crotchfairy — Folding gently is definitely important, so I don’t think you’re doing anything wrong there. My only thought is that you might be overbeating your egg whites. Are you using a stand mixer to do this or a handheld mixer? I use my handheld mixer these days when beating egg whites because I find that it is not as powerful as my stand mixer and as a result will not overbeat the egg whites. My whites, after beating, were firm but still a little soft at the tips, if that makes sense. Also, when I go to fold these whites in, I basically mix (not so delicately) about a third of the whites into the batter to loosen/lighten it up, and then when I add the remainder, I start being more gentle. Hope that helps. Let me know what gadget you are using and we can discuss this further.
I actually have a tendency to agree with every little thing that is put into writing in “Torta Caprese —
Flourless Chocolate Almond Torte | alexandra’s kitchen”. Thanks for pretty much all the actual info.Thanks for your effort,Katherin
I am so excited to make this for my birthday. Especially when the ingredient list is so short and I dont have to go out and buy anything for it, just everything on hand. Is it possible to halve this recipe? It is just me and one other person in our house. Thanks:)
Sana — I think you probably could halve the recipe — all of the quantities are in nice even amounts. My only question is about the size pan you plan on using. What were you thinking? I suppose if you made it in the same size pan here (8-inch springform) you would just have to decrease the time. Do you have a smaller springform pan? I wonder if even a square brownie pan might work?
I made the cake just now and halved the recipe based on my loose calculations. I used 1 cup almonds and processed it with 3 tbsp sugar. And 3 egg whites and 3 yolks with 3 and 2 tbsps of sugar respectively. I didn’t have Grand Marnier, but I will definitely use it next time. And just one stick of butter. It came out perfect after baking for 45 minutes. I just love it so much. My only mistake was not using the darkest of chocolate. I used semi sweet one, thinking that using less sugar will make it better. But it is still sweet for my taste and not as intensely chocolatey as I had wanted. Nonetheless one of the best cakes I had.
Sana — thanks so much for reporting back with your half-recipe experiment. Yes, I think dark chocolate is definitely key. If you have a Trader Joes, they sell Vahlrona chocolate 70% cacao, which I absolutely love. Ghirardelli dark chocolate also works nicely here. And if you don’t use grand marnier, a teaspoon of vanilla extract might be nice. So happy you liked it even so, and thanks again for writing in!
Made this last night for a small get together. I enjoyed the flavor, and the simplicity of the torta is elegant. I noticed it was quite crumbly. Have you found this as well?
Dylan — I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor. The torta shouldn’t be too crumbly — when you cut slices, did they hold their shape? There definitely is a coarse texture created by the ground almonds, but the cake itself should have some good structure.
Pieces certainly held their shape, but gave way a little too easily under the pressure of a fork. Possibly kept it in the oven a touch too long. I was thinking of maybe adding some almond extract next time.
I like your blog a lot. I consider myself a pretty competent home cook and discerning recipe reader, and a lot of your posts are better than a lot I see on the web. Keep up the good work!
Dylan — ok, hmm, I really don’t know how to analyze the crumbliness — I wish I knew a bit more about the science of baking. I think almond extract would be a nice addition here. And thank you so much for your nice comment. It means a lot to read that. I get a lot of pleasure from sharing recipes, especially when they turn out well for other people.
I just made this tonight for a small gathering of a few friends. I used the ground almonds sold in the supermarket and substituted them weight for weight with the almonds ground in the food processor here. It turned out fine, lovely and moist and didn’t sink in the middle at all. A huge success and much easier to make than I thought. I cooked it for about an hour in the end and it was perfect 🙂 The only thing I would do is probably try and use more chocolate next time – I used half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate, so would probably use mostly dark next time, although I’m not too keen on dark chocolate normally. But a lovely pudding that is very versatile 🙂 Thanks for the recipe! Love the blog as well!
UDavies — wonderful to hear this! I love this recipe for the same reasons — lovely, moist, easy, versatile, etc. So glad to hear you didn’t have issues with any sinking in the middle. It’s interesting how chocolates perform in baking versus how they taste on their own. I hope it turns out even better for you next time using mostly dark chocolate. Thanks for your kind words about the blog, too.
I made this cake with a few changes because I love almond meal cakes. I used 12 ozs of almond meal (ground almonds) and I did it the lazy way: whisked the eggs and sugar together until well combined then added the melted coconut oil (I don’t use butter) and chocolate mix, added orange rind, amaretto, the almond meal. I also added some candied clementine slices the second time I made it. I placed these on the top of the batter once the batter was in the baking tin. Thi cake was absolutely delicious – gourmet, dense, moist, orangey, almondy, chocolatey and oh so rich! Fabulous! It will definitely become a keeper.
Wow, amazing! Thank you for sharing all of your substitutions/additions. Sounds divine! I’m curious about the orange and almond essences. Do you recommend a brand?
Oh, I also added pure almond and pure orange essence. Divine! Can’t wait to make it again.
I’m not a reader of your website but I just wanted to thank you tons for this recipe. I’m the kind of person who normally searches the web for recipes and uses them, forgetting to go back to review them. However, I just had to let you know that this recipe is wonderful! I haven’t seen the actual cake but just tried the batter and couldn’t stop eating it! I wanted to let you know before the cake gets out of the oven because I’m worried I’ll be too busy eating it to remember to post. 😉
Hello I made this cake today and everything came out great except it was a little bit too crumbly. Not sure what went wrong. I noticed 2 other comments referred to the cake being a bit crumbly too, do you think it has to do with using a convection oven (fan on), versus a conventional oven? (Fan-off)
Oh no! Somehow, I don’t think the convection vs conventional would make a difference. I’m wondering about the almonds — what kind did you use? I’ll keep thinking in the meantime. Sorry about the crumbliness! I haven’t made this in awhile, so I need to think a bit.
Can I ask if there is a difference between grinding sliced almonds and almond meal? Could I substitute with almond meal?
I think you can use almond meal, but the advantage of slicing the almonds is that they will give you a little more texture in the cake — almond meal is finer. Be sure to use 12 oz. of almond meal (as opposed to going by 2 cups, which isn’t as precise). Hope that helps!
I tried this cake in Italy and fell in love with it at first bite. Immediately I search for a recipe online and came across yours and I must say it is AMAZING. My whole family agreed that it is just as good as the one we had in Naples and the recipe is straight forward, easy and got it perfect on the first try. Thanks for all the little tips and recommendations that you add, that helps a lot to get it just right. I have made it three times in two weeks per request of my family who just can’t get enough of it. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe.
Olivia!! So wonderful to hear all of this! Thank you so much for writing in. Glad to hear your whole family approves 🙂
You say the “turn it upside down onto a serving plate, but also that you never flip it over?
That makes no sense.
It sound like you want the top to be the top when it is served?
Yes. The original recipe says to turn it upside down onto a serving plate, but I never do this because I like the crackly top. But, if you want a smooth top, you can turn it upside down onto a serving plate.
Baking this today with my husband, just put it in the oven! But have a question at the top of the recipie the baking instructions says bake time is 20 minutes however at the end of the recipe it says to bake for 1 1/2 hours, huge time discrepancy, but going with the longer time as that seems more probably. However my husband, a less experienced baker was ready to set the timer for the 20 minutes as stated at the top! So just wanted to let you know 🙂 cant wait to try it when its done! Going to serve with raspberries and fresh whipped cream! Thanks!
Stef, thank you!! I am about to edit the recipe, but I so appreciate you bringing this to my attention. It meant to say, 20 minutes prep, 55 minutes cook time. I SO hope it turned out well for you. Raspberries and whipped cream sound so good.
This sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to make it. Quick question though, do you know if it would freeze OK?
Chrissie, I’ve never tried, so I can’t say. I’m sorry 🙁 I think the texture will change, however, because it’s leavened with beaten egg whites — not sure how these cakes hold up in the freezer?
I’m wondering if this cake freezes well. Thinking of making 8 for a wedding lunch and need to make it ahead.
I need to make this cake 2 days ahead of time, i know it’ll keep but whats the best way? fridge? cool area by the window?? or just the counter? Thanks
I made the Torta capeese for Passover and it was a big hit! I needed to make something that was gluten free for my daughter and lactose free for my husband. I followed the recipe using dairy free baking chips. I was loved by almost everyone. The exception to this are the people who like sugary sweet treats. My family loved it because it was sweet, but not over the top sugary. Will make it again.
I added a teaspoon of almond and one of vanilla extracts, and used cognac instead of grand ma. I brought it to a couple of parties and everyone liked it. I am fairly picky with dessert and was very happy with it. Great recipe, thank you for posting!