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Home » Cuisines » Spanish Almond Cake (Tarta de Santiago Recipe)

Spanish Almond Cake (Tarta de Santiago Recipe)

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Our Spanish Almond Cake is sweet, dense and nutty, with a rich almond flavor and hints of citrus from fresh orange and lemon zest. Made with ground raw almonds, this traditional Spanish dessert is a completely flourless cake that is so simple to prepare! This naturally gluten-free cake only requires seven ingredients and is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. 

A sugar-dusted almond cake on a serving platter.

Our version is adapted from a traditional Spanish almond cake recipe found in The Food of Spain. It’s a classic Spanish cake also known as Tarta de Santiago.

We love Spanish-inspired recipes and this gorgeous cake would go great after a hearty meal of our Spanish Seafood Stew in Romesco or our Spanish Pasta with Chorizo

The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. You will essentially make your own almond meal out of blanched and toasted whole almonds, then mix it with the remaining ingredients and bake.

The end result? A traditional almond cake that’s lightly sweetened and features a bold almond flavor with subtle pops of fresh citrus flavor. 

A cake server lifting a slice of Spanish Almond Cake.

Why This Almond Cake Recipe Works

Similar to San Sebastian Cheesecake, another popular Spanish dessert that is known for its ease, this Spanish almond cake comes together with just a few main ingredients and a quick prep time.

One of the great things about it is its versatility!

It’s delicious served with a spoonful of our homemade Butterscotch Sauce, but you can also dress it up with fresh berries, whipped cream or a fruity raspberry sauce

​While some Spanish almond cake recipes call for separating the egg whites and egg yolks and whipping the whites into stiff peaks, there’s really no need to do that.

The best part about this easy recipe is everything comes together in one bowl to create a sweet and flavorful Tarta de Santiago with an incredible texture. 

A serving of almond cake on a plate with salted caramel and sliced almonds.

​Here’s why you will love this Spanish almond cake recipe:

  • It’s quick and easy to prepare and made with minimal ingredients. 
  • The cake is tasty on its own but versatile enough to serve it with your favorite dessert sauces or toppings. 
  • Made without any flour, it’s completely gluten free and grain free. 
  • You can easily enjoy a taste of Spain from your kitchen with a slice of this Tarta de Santiago!

Ingredients for the Cake

Just a few ingredients and a little bit of effort is all that’s required to create a traditional Spanish Almond Cake right at home.

Here’s a look at what you will need:

  • Blanched whole almonds, toasted. In this flourless cake, toasted whole almonds are processed to create a coarse almond meal. It gives the cake rich almond flavor and a moist, hearty texture.
  • Eggs. You’ll need five large eggs for this recipe. It sounds like a lot but eggs add flavor, fat and work as a necessary binder which is extra crucial when there’s no gluten involved. 
  • Granulated sugar. Regular white sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the cake. 
  • Orange and lemon zest. Fresh lemon and orange zest gives the cake a bright flavor that helps balance the sweetness. 
  • Almond extract. Instead of vanilla extract, you’ll need a small amount of almond extract to help enhance the natural almond flavor. 
  • Confectioner’s sugar. A dusting of powdered sugar adds a pretty finishing touch to this unfrosted cake and is what you’ll use to create the traditional design on top!
  • Butterscotch sauce (optional). The flavor of butterscotch pairs well with this Spanish almond cake but it’s entirely optional! You can omit it altogether or choose your own favorite sauce. 
Ingredients for the Spanish Almond Cake.

Spanish Almond Cake Recipe

Here’s a look at how to make a traditional Spanish almond cake! For all of the details and ingredient amounts, scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card. 

First, preheat the oven and grease and flour an 11-inch removable bottom tart pan. 

In a food processor, finely grind the toasted almonds and transfer them to a dish. 

A bowl with eggs and sugar and a hand mixer. Toasted chopped almonds in the upper left corner.
  1. ​Add the eggs and sugar to a large bowl.
A bowl of cake batter being mixed with a hand mixer.
  1. Use an electric mixer to beat until it turns into a smooth, pale cream.
Adding orange and lemon zest to the cake batter. Ground toasted almonds in upper left corner.
  1. Add the orange zest, lemon zest and almond extract.
Adding ground toasted almonds to the cake batter.
  1. Add the ground almonds and mix well. 


Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake until golden then remove and let cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Pouring almond cake batter into a cake pan.

Lift off the outer pan ring and transfer the cake to a cake plate by sliding a thin knife between the cake and pan bottom. 

Dust the top of the cake with confectioner’s sugar right before serving.

For a truly authentic Tarta de Santiago, you can print out our St. James cross template (below the recipe card) and place it on the cake before dusting it with powdered sugar to create the traditional design. 

Baked Spanish almond cake with a stencil on top and confectioners' sugar being dusted over the top.

Serve plain or with a drizzle of butterscotch sauce drizzled onto each dessert plate. Garnish with sliced almonds, if desired. 

Tips for the Best Results

  • After the cake cools in the pan for 10 minutes, you can transfer it to a cake plate, cake stand or a wire rack to let it cool more and dust it with confectioner’s sugar. 
  • Store any leftover cake at room temperature in a cake stand or on a plate covered with plastic wrap. It will keep well for up to five days. 

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Salted caramel on a plate with a slice of almond cake garnished with sliced almonds.

Spanish Almond Cake (Tarta de Santiago)

Yield: 12 Servings

Our Spanish almond cake is a sweet and nutty treat, boasting a deep almond flavor complemented by fresh zests of orange and lemon, offers a dense texture. Made with ground raw almonds, this authentic Spanish dessert is not only flourless but also incredibly easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (220 grams) blanched whole almonds, toasted
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1-¼ cups (150 grams) sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • Butterscotch sauce for serving, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 11-inch removable bottom tart pan. 
  2. Finely grind the toasted almonds in a food processor, transfer to a dish and reserve.
  3. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar to a smooth pale cream. Beat in the orange and lemon zests and almond extract. Add the reserved ground almonds and mix well.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tart pan, transfer to the oven and bake and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, then lift off the outer pan ring. Transfer the cake to a cake plate/pedestal sliding a thin knife between the cake and pan bottom to release the cake.
  5. Just before serving dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar.
  6. If want to add the traditional design of the St. James Cross on the cake, we have a template at the bottom of the blog post, below the recipe card. Place the cross on the cake and dust it with confectioners sugar.
  7. Optional:  Drizzle butterscotch sauce on each serving plate and add a slice of cake, garnished with sliced almonds.

Notes

  • The butterscotch sauce is optional but it compliments the almond cake beautifully.

Recipe adapted from: Claudia Roden, The Food of Spain.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 186Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 155mgSodium: 59mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Stencil template for St. James cross.

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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