Torta Caprese - Almond Chocolate Cake
Chocolate lovers, this is my favorite chocolate cake! Caprese al Cioccolato is a traditional cake from the island of Capri, hence the name caprese, not to be confused with tomatoes and mozzarella… This is a delicious recipe for a dark chocolate, fudgy cake that requires a lot of almonds, a little flour and, of course, the best dark chocolate you can find. Follow my instructions, learned over the years, to keep the cake moist while baking.
- Round cake pan 25cm / 10 inches diameter
- Blender or food processor
- Electric hand mixer or whisk
- Small saucepan or melting pot
- Large bowl
- Wooden spoon
- Serving plate
- Parchment paper
For chocolate, avoid using chocolate chips. Try to find a good quality of dark chocolate, with at least 70 - 80 percent cocoa, without any other flavoring and made only with a few ingredients.
For the cake
- Icing sugar
- 2 cups of fruit or berries of your choice
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 360°F.
- Line a round cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate and the butter
- In a small pot, melt the chocolate and the butter over low heat, stirring continuously.The success of the cake depends mostly on the way the chocolate and butter are melted, at a very low temperature and without burning the chocolate.
- When the butter and chocolate mixture is melted, turn the heat off and set aside to cool down.
Grind the almonds
- In a blender or food processor, mix the almonds and 1/3 of the sugar until the almonds are finely ground and you get a flour-like texture.
Make the batter
- In a large bowl, add the eggs and the remaining sugar. Whip very well with a whisk or a handheld electric beater, until they are light in color and foamy. It will take about 5 minutes.
- Add the almond-sugar mixture and continue mixing for another 3 minutes until this mixture is well incorporated with the eggs.
- Add the chocolate and butter mixture and keep mixing for about 2-3 minutes, until everything is well combined.
- With a sifter, sprinkle the flour on the batter. Mix quickly with the whisk or the electric beater. To have a fluffy cake, don’t over mix, just run your mixing tool until the ingredients are combined. When over-mixing, the flour develops gluten, causing a rubbery cake texture.
- Again with the sifter, add baking powder. Mix quickly again, until baking powder is combined with the other ingredients.
Bake the cake
- With a spatula, transfer the batter into the cake pan. Tilt the cake pan on one side and then the other to spread the batter around for an even surface.
- Bake the cake in the lower half of the oven for about 30 minutes at 180°C / 350°F.
- The cake is done when inserting a knife in the center, it comes out slightly ‘dirty’, with a little bit of moist crumbs. Don’t over-bake. The line between an over-baked dry cake and a perfectly-baked moist cake is very thin, so keep an eye on it. The final texture of the cake should be dense, moist, and fudgy. Not dry.
Serve the cake
- When the cake is done, take it out from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the pan, inverting it onto the serving plate with the bottom up. Having the bottom of the cake up will hide the eventual imperfections on the top side.
- Pull off the parchment paper and sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar. Make sure the cake is cold before adding the sugar. If hot, the sugar will be soaked up by the cake.
- Decorate the top of the cake with fruits or berries, and serve.
- For topping the cake, I usually make use of seasonal fruit to add a touch of color and to balance the richness of the cake with some acidity and freshness.
In springtime, I love red berries such as strawberries, red currants or raspberries, as their vibrant red color matches with the dark brown of the chocolate. In summer, apricots have a wonderful taste and color to pair with this cake. In the fall, I love to use green grapes, cut in half and mixed with other fruits.
- Another great addition to serving Torta Caprese is a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
- Having a moist texture, this cake keeps well for 3-4 days.
You can also freeze it once cooked and keep it in the freezer for up to a month. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator, then warm it up in the oven at 50°C / 120°F.
- Depending on the oven, sometimes the heat can come mostly from the upper part. To prevent the top of the cake from burning, you can add a large metal pan (larger than the cake pan) on one of the oven racks placed over the baking cake. This will prevent the top of the cake from cooking too fast and then burning.