Tarta de Santiago is a Spanish almond cake or pie, prepared using ground almonds, eggs and sugar. The cake is further flavored by lemon zest, sweet wine, brandy or grape marc, depending on the recipe followed.
Tarta de Santiago is known to be naturally gluten-free as its recipe does not contain any wheat flour. The dessert is generally round in shape and can be prepared with or without a base.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The Galician name for Tarta de Santiago is tarta, whereas it is often called torta in Spanish.
The cake is decorated by dusting powdered sugar on top, masked by an outline of the Cross of Saint James (cruz de Santiago). This is where the dish gets its name from. The origin of the cross on the tarta de Santiago is believed to date back to 1924 when the “Casa Mora” started to decorate the almond cakes with the silhouette.
The Spanish Tarta de Santiago Recipe
- Eggs - 4
- Sugar (preferably caster sugar) - 1 cup
- Almond flour (or ground almonds) - 2 cups
- Lemon zest
- Cinnamon - ½ tsp
- Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) - 2 tbsp
- Begin by preheating the oven to 350F/180C. Take an 8-inch (20cm) round cake tin and line it with parchment paper on the bottom. Brush the sides of the tin with some butter.
- Next, take a bowl and crack eggs into it. Add sugar. Whisk both the ingredients together until the mixture is well combined. By the end of it, the combination will start to become a little lighter in colour and will also contain a bit of air.
- Now, take another bowl and add the almond flour or ground almonds, lemon zest and cinnamon to it. Mix everything until combined properly. Make sure you don’t overmix and get all of the air out of the combination.
- It’s time to pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and set it in the preheated oven. Allow it to bake for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, check by inserting a skewer in the middle. If it comes out clean, then your cake is done, and if not, let it bake a little more. In the meantime, you can prepare the St. James cross stencil, if not already made.
- Once done, take the cake out of the oven and place it aside to cool on a cooling rack. Remove the outer ring once it’s cooled. It should take you about 10-15 minutes.
- Remember to let the cake cool completely before placing the cross stencil in the centre. Now dust a little confectioners’ sugar over the cake. Gently remove the stencil, without allowing the sugar to spread on the part you had covered.
- Slice the cake and serve. You can also store the leftover pie at room temperature, covered in plastic wrap or an airtight container. It will be fit for consumption for up to three days if kept outside of the fridge. However, one can also freeze slices of this cake for up to three months.