Flourless Italian Chocolate Almond Cake

Posted on : June 6th, 2019

Many years ago my mother’s friend Gayle brought the most delicious chocolate cake I had ever tasted to a party at our house. She said it was an Italian Chocolate Almond Cake. It was so rich and full of flavor! Everyone slowed down to savor every bite while making “mmm-mmm” noises. It was the hit of the party. Then she told us her secret: there was no flour in the cake! Just 5 ingredients: ground almonds, chocolate, butter, sugar and eggs. (Inadvertently gluten-free!) We begged for her recipe and that’s what I’m sharing with you today.

But first I looked on the internet and discovered that Gayle’s cake is a variation of a classic Italian dessert known as Torta Caprese. It was invented on the island of Capri (how romantic is that?) and there are several legends about how that happened. One is that an Austrian princess visiting the island was longing for the Sachertorte from her home country and a local pastry chef added chocolate to his almond torte recipe to try to please her. Another story was that a baker, nervous about pleasing a group of Italian mobsters, forgot to add flour to his chocolate almond recipe. A third is that it was made by another absent-minded baker who confused cocoa powder for flour when making the local almond torte favorite.

However it happened, you can now find this wonderful celebration of a cake all up and down the Amalfi Coast. It is usually served with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar on top. (Use a stencil to make it really elegant.) But at the party we ate it with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. Strawberries would also be delicious. I highly recommend that presentation!

One note on this recipe: it requires folding in the egg whites. This is an important step in this process. If you’ve never done that, the idea is to gently mix a lighter batter (the beaten egg whites) into a heavier batter without deflating the lighter batter. Place the beaten egg whites on top of the other mixture. Then use a spatula to cut vertically through the two batters, across the bottom and then up against the side of the bowl, more or less flipping the batter into itself without beating it. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and do it again. Repeat the process until the two mixtures are nicely combined. This is NOT difficult but is important to get a texture that actually works.

Gayle’s Flourless Italian Chocolate Almond Cake


  • 1 2/3 cup (8 oz) Maisie Jane’s Natural Almonds
  • 7 squares (7 oz) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 eggs (separated into yolks and whites)
  • Optional: confectioner’s sugar for dusting on top, or whipped cream and berries, or vanilla ice cream


  1. Place a rack 1/3 up from the bottom of your oven and preheat the oven to 300ºF. Butter an 8″ or 8 1/2″ springform pan and line the bottom with wax paper cut to fit. Then butter the paper.
  2. Coarsely chop the almonds and chocolate squares. Then place in your food processor or nut grinder and grind them all together into a fine powder. Set that aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter using an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat to mix. Then add all the egg yolks and beat to mix as well. Then add the ground chocolate and almonds and beat on low.
  4. In a small bowl, use clean beaters and beat the egg whites until they hold a firm shape but are not stiff or dry.
  5. Stir 1/4 of the beaten egg whites into your chocolate mixture. (That mixture will be stiff so this step serves to make it easier to do what comes next.) Now fold in the rest of the egg whites.
  6. Turn the finished batter into your prepared springform pan and smooth the top. Bake about 50 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
  7. Let cool til slightly warm or room temperature. Remove sides of the springform pan, Cover the cake with a plate and invert it so you can remove the bottom of the pan and paper lining. Then cover the bottom of the cake with another plate and carefully invert it again to serve it right side up.
  8. Decorate the cake before serving either with a nice sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Add a few raspberries or sliced strawberries on top or on the side.

 Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. We strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family-owned and operated orchards. We use organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. We believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.