My sweetheart just returned from a 340 km hike across the north of Spain. He walked the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela and he encountered torta de Santiago in many places. He enjoyed it so much he asked me to recreate this delicious Spanish almond cake for you!
by volume by weight
6 large egg yolks 108 grams egg yolks
6 large egg whites 300 grams egg whites
1 cup sugar 198 grams sugar
2 tablespoons honey 42 grams honey
1 tablespoon vanilla 12 grams vanilla
1¾ cups almond flour 168 grams almond flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest 6 grams lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice 14 grams lemon juice
This cake is not difficult to make but it is important to have everything properly prepared because this cake batter is not forgiving. If you are organized and have all your prep work done, you will have fabulous results!
Heat the oven to 350F. It is very important that the oven be at the correct temperature when the cake is ready to go because it is important that the cake be baked immediately!
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10″ cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment.
Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 of the sugar until very light and pale yellow in color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes on high speed.
yolks and sugar mixed together
yolks and sugar beaten 4 minutes
Stir in the honey, vanilla , lemon zest, lemon juice, and almond flour until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be very thick, almost like a dough rather than cake batter — don’t worry!
With very clean beaters and bowl, whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until shiny, stiff peaks form.
Mix approximately 1/4 of the whipped whites into the almond and yolk mixture. You don’t need to be delicate. The egg whites that you add will deflate substantially but that’s ok.
This will help to loosen it to a more manageable texture.
Gently fold in the remaining egg whites by starting with the spatula at the 12 o’clock position and bringing it across the bottom of the bowl to the 6 o’clock position. Then bring it up and over the top and rotate the bowl a quarter turn.
Repeat this action until the two mixtures are completely combined.
Then spread the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes until firm to the touch in the middle and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan and then turn out and remove parchment paper from the bottom. It might be necessary to run a spatula or knife around the outside edge of the cake to loosen it from the sides.
Decorate the top of the cake as desired. Here, I have decorated it with the traditional cross of St. James ( one of the 12 disciples of Jesus Christ) but you could use any stencil you like to make a decorative top. There are many images like this cross online and it is simple to find one you like and trace it for this purpose. You can also use the image provided below. This will fit nicely on the top of a 10″ cake.
Honey is a great substitute for the sugar in torta de Santiago because its flavor goes nicely with almonds. Reduce the sugar by 1/3 (to 10 tablespoons or 210 grams) if you plan to make this substitution.
If you like almond extract (I don’t happen to), you can substitute that for the vanilla extract to give a pronounced almond flavor. You can also substitute orange zest and juice for the lemon in this recipe to give a different twist to this traditional torta de Santiago.