Torta de Santiago is the best known cake of Galicia. This almond cake has existed for many centuries under different names. It is enjoyed by pilgrims making the trek on the El camino de Santiago.
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A few months ago I watched “The Way” on my Amazon Fire TV Stick. The move is about a father (Martin Sheen) who heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son (Emilio Estevez) who died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.
It was a pretty interesting movie. I wondered if this El camino de Santiago was real. While I was Googling the El Camino de Santiago, I found some recipes for Torta de Santiago.
Spanish history traces Torta de Santiago back to the Middle Ages. However, it gained popularity in the 20th century thanks to Saint James’ Way, which is the pilgramage to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrims on this route must have appreciated a slice of this tasty Spanish cake after their long journey and will have probably gone home and told their family and friends about it, hence spreading the fame of the cake.
The recipe I used is based on this one, but I’ve used zest of both lemon and orange. I also added almond extract for a deeper almond flavor. Speaking of almonds … since it is made with almonds it is naturally gluten free and grain free.
Torta de Santiago
Yields 8-12 servings
2 1/2 cups almond meal
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and line a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
Combine almond meal, sugar, zest, cardamom and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts until just combined.
Pour the beaten eggs into the almond mixture and stir well to form a batter. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake the cake for 40 minutes, or until golden.
Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes then release from springform pan on to wire rack to cool completely.
Place it in the middle of the cake. Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Carefully remove the stencil, slice and serve.