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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. 

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 is 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

Tarta de Santiago {Spanish Almond Cake}

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

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.

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.

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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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spanish orange and almond cake – ERRVR

Thursday 4th of July 2019

[…] Tarta de Santiago {Spanish Almond Cake} – Goodie Godmother […]

Beckey

Sunday 31st of December 2017

Can this be made in a 9x13 instead of a spring form to feed more people? My son has to make a dish for his Spanish class. :)

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Tuesday 9th of January 2018

I'm so sorry for the late reply! I probably would not make this in a larger pan... you probably won't get quite as good a rise out of the cake and the bake time would be much shorter because it would be thinner. BUT, you can always take a round cake and instead of cutting in wedges, follow the "catering cuts" and cut the cake into a grid. With that method, he should be able to get enough square or rectangular pieces for the class so everyone can try the cake. If you have already tried baking in the 9x13 pan though, I'd love to know your results!

Connie

Thursday 31st of August 2017

I have offered to make a friend's wedding cake. Although I have never made a wedding cake I am an experienced baker. She is gluten-free. I have several questions:

1.There will be 60-70 people so I was going to do a tiered cake. Will this stand up to tiering (no pedestals)? 2. What size cakes would you suggest for that number of people and how would I adjust baking times? 3. Any advice?

Thanks!!!

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Thursday 31st of August 2017

Hi Connie!

1. This cake isn't a good option for a traditional wedding cake. It's not designed to be frosted, nor will it work well as a layer cake. Your best option would be to test out something like my gluten free vanilla cupcakes, or take something like my almond cake from scratch and substitute a 1-to-1 gluten free flour for the all-purpose flour in the recipe.

2. Wilton has an excellent guide for figuring out how much cake you should make depending on wedding party size: http://www.wilton.com/cake-serving-guide/cms-baking-serving-guide.html . Be sure to provide this chart to the caterers so they know how many slices to cut from each cake. For weddings, I usually err on the side of caution and assume the final number of servings will be somewhere between the "party"-size slices and "wedding" slices. They are not large slices, and it's better to have extra cake than not enough.

3. With such a large cake, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to work ahead. You can always freeze cake layers in advance so you aren't baking so many at once. Since you haven't made a wedding cake before, it might be worth practicing and making one in advance so you can tier the cake and work out any kinks. As with any large tiered cake, be sure to build in appropriate supports for each layer using bubble tea straws or cake dowels. Another excellent option to keep in mind is that you don't necessarily have to build a cake large enough to feed everyone. If you're most comfortable with a smaller 2 or 3 tier cake, you can make that, and then supplement with extra smaller cakes for the caterers to cut and serve. This is common practice, and can help save your sanity since a 60-70 person cake is quite large.

I hope this helps! Best of luck and congratulations to your friend!

Heather

Monday 3rd of July 2017

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!

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Wednesday 5th of July 2017

Wonderful! I'm so glad you liked it!

Denise Coccioloni-Amatto

Monday 12th of December 2016

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!

Mary (The Goodie Godmother)

Monday 12th of December 2016

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. :)

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