Tarta de Santiago {Spanish Almond Cake}

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The Tarta de Santiago, a naturally gluten-free Spanish almond cake, is a very traditional Spanish dessert originating from the town of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.ย 

The Tarta de Santiago (Saint James Cake) is a classic Spanish dessert. This gluten free almond cake recipe is simple to follow and makes a delightful dessert or tea cake. * GoodieGodmother.com

Making this cake was a request from my daddy. He grew up in Spain, where this cake is very common and he requested I bake him this memory. I was very curious to try it as a friend of mine from the flamenco studio where I took lessons in California had also recently completed a portion of the Camino de Santiago and this cake is one she would have seen in countless bakery windows along the way. Besides, almond and citrus just make such a beautiful flavor combination, so the dessert is not just a beautiful way to bring a little Spanish sweetness to your table, it’s also incredibly delicious! The Tarta de Santiago (Saint James Cake) is a classic Spanish dessert. This gluten free almond cake recipe is simple to follow and makes a delightful dessert or tea cake. * GoodieGodmother.com

The Tarta de Santiago isย so classically Spanish in fact, that it was granted a Protected Geographical Indication in 2006. This means that the government set out regulations as to the recipe and location of origin from which a St. James Cake could originate in commerce to be marked as “authentic.” In its purest form, the cake is an almost even ratio of almonds, eggs, and sugar. It doesn’t always need to have the cross of Saint James decoration on top, in fact, it wasn’t added until 1924, but it has become an almost universally added decoration, so I always include it. I make my stencil by printing an outline of the cross of Saint James, cutting it out, and placing it on the cake before dusting on my powdered sugar.

The Tarta de Santiago (Saint James Cake) is a classic Spanish dessert. This gluten free almond cake recipe is simple to follow and makes a delightful dessert or tea cake. * GoodieGodmother.com

For a lighter texture, I whip the egg whites. Many Tarta de Santiago recipes nowadays do include steps for whipping the whites to create a lighter cake, although it’s believed the “original” recipe just mixed the eggs whole and was very dense. I also add fresh orange zest and a bit of flavoring, which is optional, but I find that it really makes the cake special. In lieu of orange zest you may also try lemon or even grapefruit, and feel free to substitute a vanilla bean for the vanilla extract. These are absolutely modifications from the classic recipe, but the overall ratios for an authentic Tarta de Santiago are there.

The Tarta de Santiago (Saint James Cake) is a classic Spanish dessert. This gluten free almond cake recipe is simple to follow and makes a delightful dessert or tea cake. * GoodieGodmother.com

I hope you enjoy this beautiful Spanish cake. It’s a lovely gluten free dessert that’s most often served during July for the Feast of Saint James, but is equally appropriate any other time of the year as a dessert or tea cake. Buen provecho, darlings!

The Tarta de Santiago (Saint James Cake) is a classic Spanish dessert. This gluten free almond cake recipe is simple to follow and makes a delightful dessert or tea cake. * GoodieGodmother.com

The Tarta de Santiago (Saint James Cake) is a classic Spanish dessert. This gluten free almond cake recipe is simple to follow and makes a delightful dessert or tea cake. * GoodieGodmother.com
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Tarta de Santiago {Spanish Almond Cake}

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Goodie Godmother

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups almond meal 228 g
  • 6 eggs separated
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto liquor or 1 tsp almond extract and 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar 213 g, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar for decorating

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter and line a 9" springform pan with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Beat the egg yolk and sugar together in a mixing bowl, by hand. Stir in almond meal, extracts, and zest.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
  4. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture. Stir in about 1/4 cup first to lighten the yolk mixture, then fold in the rest of the whites.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack, then decorate before serving.

 

The Tarta de Santiago (Saint James Cake) is a classic Spanish dessert. This gluten free almond cake recipe is simple to follow and makes a delightful dessert or tea cake. * GoodieGodmother.com

Love it? Share it!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on YummlyShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

15 Comments on Tarta de Santiago {Spanish Almond Cake}

  1. Heather
    July 3, 2017 at 5:19 pm (3 weeks ago)

    I finally made this for Easter this year and am just now getting around to telling you! It was amazing. I can’t wait to make it again!

    Reply
  2. Denise Coccioloni-Amatto
    December 12, 2016 at 9:10 pm (7 months ago)

    I have made this cake before and it is always a hit! I was hoping to make it ahead of time and serve it on Christmas Eve for supper. Is it possible to freeze this and will it freeze well? I was just wondering because of the eggs. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      December 12, 2016 at 10:15 pm (7 months ago)

      I haven’t tried freezing it yet, but I believe it should freeze just fine since you’re freezing the baked cake, and every baked cake I’ve frozen has worked well. Just be sure to double wrap to prevent freezer burn or flavors from sneaking in. Thaw in the refrigerator to avoid condensation from forming inside the wrapping, then unwrap and bring to room temperature to serve, dusting with the powdered sugar just before serving if desired. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  3. Nicole
    November 25, 2016 at 7:38 pm (8 months ago)

    This may seem like a silly question, but are you greasing the pan and then adding the parchment or greasing the parchment paper and then putting it in the pan?
    Thanks for clarifying.

    Reply
  4. Brian Jones
    July 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm (1 year ago)

    What a great sounding recipe, I love almond anything but as I am not usually a baker I tend to use them in savoury dishes… I’ll have to give this ago, or more accurately I will forward this to my wife to make for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  5. Meaghan | Cook. Craft. Love.
    June 30, 2016 at 11:36 am (1 year ago)

    I’m not an almond flavored anything fan but since I trust that everything you put on your blog is delicious I’m giving this one a go next time I’m in charge of a pot luck dessert!

    Reply
  6. Whitney
    June 29, 2016 at 9:39 am (1 year ago)

    I love it when you post cake recipes.

    Reply
  7. Sophie
    June 14, 2016 at 10:20 am (1 year ago)

    Hey Marie, my hubby is gluten intolerant so I have to bake without flour and have used almond flour before. It is delicious. I really appreciate you posting this recipe which I have not seen before. I never heard of this Spanish delight. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Mary (The Goodie Godmother)
      June 14, 2016 at 1:52 pm (1 year ago)

      Almond flour is definitely one of my go-to flours for gluten free baking. I like that it adds a little extra protein and healthy fats too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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