Tarta de Santiago- Gluten Free Almond Cake

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Tarta De Santiago

Last week at work, my co-worker Todd came to work with news that he has just made a delicious cake. My response was, “Why didn’t you bring any for me to try?” Work was a very busy and kinda unpleasant last week, so he was blowing off steam in the most appropriate way… baking.

Todd was very kind and brought me in a slice the next night and it was fabulous. The texture was really nice. It wasn’t fluffy like a regular cake. It was a little chewy and dense in a good way with tiny pieces of ground almond. There was a couple great delicate flavors: almond and something citrusy (which turned out to be just lemon and orange zest.)

The gluten free almond cake recipe is an old dessert that comes from the almond growing regions of Spain.

I knew I would try to recreate this cake. I had a hard time finding the original source because I have an addled mind. But I finally was successful. And I had the perfect occasion to try the cake when I remembered we had some friends from Brazil coming to visit.

They live in San Lorenzo Brazil outside of Rio de Janeiro and they are here visiting family. The Strong Man met them when he lived in Rio.

We had an incredible time reconnecting and chatting with them. They are such great people.

When I was preparing the cake, I only had a bag of whole almonds. So I had to blanch and them grind them into almond flour. But you can save yourself some time and effort if you just buy almond flour. I also don’t own any superfine sugar, so I just threw regular granulated sugar into the food processor and gave it several pulses.

Apparently, it is traditional to sprinkle powdered sugar over the top of the cake using a stencil of the cross of Saint James, (which Todd went to the trouble of doing, but I did not.) I couldn’t get this out of my mind when I considered cutting out the stencil.


I think it still turned out pretty. And it was very delicious! My Brazilians were very complimentary.

The blackberries were stolen from my neighbors blackberry bush, which is fruiting right now. They are incredible blackberries. Crazy sweet and delicious! Sure hope they don’t read this post 😉Tarta de santiago

Sometimes it seems we are stretching to make things gluten-free, but this recipe just happens to be gluten-free. And that, in my opinion, makes it yummier, more authentic somehow.


Tarta de Santiago- Gluten Free Almond Torte

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 1 11-inch cake

Tarta de Santiago- Gluten Free Almond Torte


  • 1/2 pound blanched almonds ground into fine meal or 1/2 pound almond flour
  • 6 large eggs separated
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 4 drops almond extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350. Spray an 11-inch springform pan or cake pan with removable bottom if you have one with cooking spray. You may also dust with flour (gluten free if necessary).
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine egg yolks and 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar. Whisk until color turns pale yellow and mixture becomes thick.
  3. Add the zests and almond extract.
  4. Add the almond flour. The batter will be very thick at this point, but this is normal.
  5. In a clean bowl with a clean whisk beat egg whites to a stiff peak.
  6. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter. Don't worry about keeping the eggs whites fluffy. Just mix in the egg whites to loosen the batter, so it is easier to fold in the rest of the egg whites. Mix until well incorporated.
  7. Scoop another 1/3 of egg whites into the batter. This time fold carefully, trying not to deflate the egg whites. Fold until well incorporated again.
  8. Scoop the final 1/3 of egg whites into the batter. Fold carefully and gently until well incorporated.
  9. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until the the middle feels firm to the touch.
  10. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the perimeter of the pan. Let cool before trying to remove.
  11. Serve with fresh fruit.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Tarta de Santiago from The Food of Spain via The Fresh P



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  1. Denise says

    Thanks Anita! Now I’ve got another Brazilian dessert to add to my collection! Looks like it’d go wonderfully with a large cup of coffee.. 😉

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