What Is Spanish Almond Cake?
Spanish almond cake or widely known as tarta de Santiago (St. James cake) is a traditional Galician cake. Galicia is an autonomous community in northwest Spain.
This cake doesn't have any type of flour in it, making it a great option for those who practise gluten-free diet.
The cake can either be with a base or not. The base can be a shortcut pastry or puff pastry.
It is typically dusted with icing sugar with an imprint of Santiago's (St. James) cross.
Today I'm sharing with you my take on this delicious traditional Spanish almond cake without the base.
What Makes It Special?
What I find so special about this cake is the simplicity of its ingredients.
The main ingredients for this cake are almond meal, eggs and sugar. Yep, extremely basic ingredients, which of course make this cake a super easy one to prepare.
Apart from only having 3 main ingredients, each ingredient is the same weight to the other. You can see it in my written recipe below.
Having that simple and basic guide (you know I don't like to be bound by rules in cooking), the easiest way to start building your Spanish almond cake is by determining the amount of eggs that you will use.
1 large egg = 50 g.
Meaning using 1 large egg will also need 50 g of almond meal and 50 g of sugar.
Simple Unique Look
As I mentioned earlier, this cake is dusted with icing sugar with an imprint of Santiago's cross on its top surface.
You can also make an imprint of a scallop shell. Or with no imprint at all. Your choice.
My Spanish Almond Cake
For this recipe I'm keeping it simple like the typical traditional recipes out there, using the same amount for the main ingredients.
Typically only a bit of lemon zest is added but I like to add a good amount of it, together with some clementine zest.
I love baking with lemon, clementine and orange zest during this time of year.
I'm also adding a bit of cinnamon powder and salt. I think a touch of salt is always amazing when a recipe uses quite amount of sugar, like in this case.
If you love almond cake, I would really recommend you to try this Spanish almond cake.
Before You Go
Do you want to see more nuts related recipes? Perhaps you can check these out:
- Scandinavian almond cake
- Hazelnut cake
- Almond and pear cake
- Almond London cookies
- Carrot cake with pineapple and pecans
You can look for more recipes in my recipe page.
Spanish Almond Cake
- 3 eggs , room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar (150 gr)
- 1 ½ cup almond meal (150 gr)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
- zest of 1 clementine
- icing sugar , for dusting on top
- Add eggs and sugar into a bowl and whisk until the mixture turns pale.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except for icing sugar and using a spatula, gently fold everything until well combine.
- Pour batter into a 7 inch (18 cm) springform pan that has been buttered and floured. Bake in a preheated oven at 360ºF (180ºC) for 40 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked.
- Cool completely. Place the Santiago cross cut out on top and dust generous amount of icing sugar all over the cake. Carefully remove the cut out. Slice and serve, enjoy!
This cake was very easy to make! Delicious and moist. I made it almost 24 hours before I wanted to serve it (and wrapped it lighty with foil after it cooled) and it was still very nice. Two thoughts - I increased the amounts by 1/3 (which was so easy to do following the handy sugar/nuts/egg ratio - 187 gms each) but my guess is that the original recipe wud serve 6 people vs 8. I used a few drops of almond flavouring, the lemon zest, and orange zest vs clementine b/c: no clementine on hand. I'd definitely use buttered parchment paper at the bottom of the spring-form pan b/c it was hard to dislodge it and it wanted to break a bit. The surface also cracked quite a bit on the top as it cooled. Any suggestions? It didn't matter, however, b/c I covered it with icing sugar. I have been asked to make this again! Thanks!
Helen K says
p.s. That was a typo in what I said. I meant that I increased amounts by 1/4 not 1/3.
Bea & Marco says
Hi Helen! Sorry to hear that the cake cracked! Most probably it had to do with the oven temperature, it was too high. The cake rose too fast in the oven and retracted when it cooled down, hence the cracks. I use a portable oven thermometer all the time (if not my oven temperature would go off by 30-50 C). As for the portion, I guess it depends on the individuals. But since this cake is rich, 8 portions sounds great. Love to hear your variation on the cake and that you liked it! It's a traditional cake here in Spain. Thank you so much for leaving your feedback and your lovely comment, Helen!
Bonnie Adlam says
Easy and very delicious. I sprinkle chopped almonds and demera sugar on top before I bake it.
So easy and so delicious! Thanks!!