Torta Caprese, a Classic Italian Chocolate and Almond Cake

Despite the terror – it’s real – of travelling along it, the road that sweeps along the Amalfi coast is simply beautiful. To one side is the glittering Salerno Gulf on the Tyrrhenian Sea and on the other sit the mountains with their high terraces of ancient lemon groves. The light is clear and white. Finally we arrive in Ravello with its sand coloured buildings, discrete villas, stunning cliffside gardens and grand hotels. We stop by the beautiful Profumi della Costiera to sample their fragrant limoncello and decide to buy a bottle for Christmas (as we always do when travelling in order that we can remember those wonderful long summer days through the darkness of winter) before wandering into a small family-run ristorante for lunch. Within its ancient walls there is a coolness that soothes the soul and the soft aromas of herbs and wine. We feast on a simple salad of marinated plum tomatoes with cipolla rossa di tropea onions and artisan bread leaving just enough room for this wonderfully rich cake from the nearby island of Capri.

Serves six


125g 85% cocoa chocolate, broken into squares
125g French unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
125g ground almonds
125g unrefined golden caster sugar
3 large room temperature free range eggs, separated
Icing sugar, for dusting

How I make it

Grease and line a 20cm round springform cake tin with baking paper.

Heat an oven to 160C.

Place a saucepan over a medium heat and add a couple of cm of water. Bring to the boil and add the chocolate to a glass bowl. Place the bowl over the pan making sure that that base does not touch the water. Allow the chocolate to melt and then add the butter stirring all the time until they are combined.

Place the ground almonds and the sugar into a large mixing bowl and add the melted chocolate mixture. Set a side to cool.

Add the egg yolks to the cooled mixture and combine. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold into the cake mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top appears dry and a skewer comes out clean. Set aside to cool before dusting with icing sugar.

Serve with Amalfi lemon-infused mascarpone, fresh cherries and a glass of limoncello.

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