While I am writing this recipe, my caprese cake is baking in the oven. Can you imagine the aroma of chocolate and almonds spreading all over my kitchen? It’s a tender delicious cake without flour or butter.
Attending a professional pastry-making course was one of the most interesting and useful experiences I have ever had in my life. With the help of my very skilled teacher Simone, I made a lot of mouthwatering treats. Caprese cake was one of my successes, which I want to try with you. You will simply fall in love with it.
What is caprese cake?
When you cook, it’s easy to make a few mistakes. Sometimes things go wrong at first and you try over and over again to get good results and make wonderful dishes. This is what happened when caprese cake was first created.
Carmine di Fiore first baked it in 1920 when he was told to prepare a cake for three Mafia leaders who had come to Capri from the US to buy some products for Al Capone. Carmine was so anxious that he forgot the flour. Everybody, including the three mafioso, enjoyed the cake’s moist and tender texture so much that they asked the pastry chef for the recipe which then became the Caprese Cake, something that not only Capri but also the whole Costiera Amalfitana and Sorrentina Peninsula were proud of.
What does a flourless cake mean?
This cake doesn’t have any grain flour because it is made of freshly-ground almond flour, eggs, chocolate, and olive oil. It’s soft and moist but doesn’t rise much. It fits both vegetarian and gluten-free diets.
What does it taste like?
It is a delicious soft cake which mainly tastes of chocolate with a hint of almonds. Its soft and moist truffle-like core creates a wonderful balance with the crispy crust. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and this delicacy from Capri is guaranteed to melt in your mouth.
Follow the Caprese recipe carefully
This is one of my favorite cakes that I have made over and over again. Then one day something strange happened. The same cake that I had baked wonderfully for long time turned into a complete disaster. I couldn’t understand why. Once it looked like a meringue; another time it resembled some glue. I couldn’t remove it from the baking pan, or it stuck to my teeth.
Carefully choose the right baking pan
I have learned a few tricks about baking cakes, and I would like to share them with you.
You should use a 9-inch (24cm) round aluminum baking pan.
Be mindful of the cooking process
The cooking process is very important in this recipe: pre-heat the oven to 400°F (200°C) while preparing the batter. Bake it for the first 10 minutes and then decrease the temperature to 350°F (180°C). Bake it on the middle rack of the oven. When done, the core must still be moist, so a few minutes before the end of the cooking time, insert a tooth
pick into the center, and if it comes out almost clean, your caprese cake is done.
The grinding of the almonds
This is one of the most important tasks to get right. If you use almond flour, the cake will not be the same. My recipe didn’t turn out right because I had changed the grind of the almonds.
Buy almonds and grind them with some sugar. Freeze the almonds beforehand so that when you grind them, they won’t lose their oil and release a sour taste. You can put them in the freezer the night before or a few hours before grinding them. Put them into a food processor and pulse them until they resemble fine and even coarse sand. This will result in the perfect texture.
Beat the eggs carefully
While pre-heating the oven, beat the eggs with the sugar until you get a thick, fluffy, light cream.
Beat them in a stand mixer (KitchenAid) at high speed for 10 minutes. in the meantime, prepare the other ingredients.
- 4 arge or extra-large (275g) eggs
- 1¼ cups of granulated sugar (250g)
- 1¾ cups of whole almonds (250g)
- ½ cup of olive oil (100g)
- 1¼ cups of dark chocolate
- 3 tsp of dark cocoa powder (15g)
- 1 tbsp 1 tablespoon (15g) of rum—the original recipe calls for rum, but you may replace it with Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Strega, a typical Italian liqueur
- Powdered sugar to garnish
- Use an electric mixer, a KitchenAid, with the whisk attachment at high speed to mix the ingredients evenly;
- Beat the eggs and ½ of the sugar for 10-15 minutes until light in color and fluffy;
- Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water or in a double boiler. If you want to save time, melt it in the microwave, but only in 20 seconds intervals to keep it from burning. Add the oil and stir well to combine. Set aside to cool;
- Pulse the almonds with the remaining sugar until it forms a coarse, sand-like mixture;
- Turn off the mixer and add the almond and sugar mixture, the cocoa powder, the melted chocolate, the oil, and the rum. Add these ingredients a little at a time and in this order;
- Butter a round 9-inch (24cm) baking pan and pour in the cake batter;
- Pre-heat the static oven to 425°F (200°C) and bake for about 10 minutes. Then decrease it to 350°F (180°C) and bake for about 20-25 minutes. Hint: don’t use a convection oven as it dries the core of the cake out too much. Insert a toothpick into the middle. It should come out with a few moist crumbs in order to retain its moist consistency;
- Take it out of the oven and allow to cool for about 30-40 minutes on a wire rack. The cooling time is very important because the cake must be completely cold before turning it upside down; otherwise, it could break. Turn it upside down and remove it from the baking pan. Dust it with powdered sugar.
How can you store caprese cake?
Store your caprese cake at room temperature in a cake container for 3-4 days. If freezing it, do it without the powdered sugar and wrap them in individual slices. Then take them out of the freezer for special occasions and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.