Italian Caprese cake is the BEST gluten-free chocolate cake ever created! Fudgy, rich, and incredibly easy to make with simple ingredients.
The traditional Italian Caprese cake recipe originates from the beautiful island of Capri, near Naples.
One of the best Italian desserts, this cake has ancient origins, and there are several stories behind its creation.
My favourite one dates back to a baking mistake of the pastry chef Carmine di Fiore.
The pastry chef was preparing his chocolate almond cake for a group of gangsters who came to Capri to meet Al Capone; probably in a hurry, he forgot to add the dose of flour to the cake!
However, with great amazement, when the cake came out of the oven, it was not only delicious but with a unique texture: soft inside and crispy outside.
It was so good that even the Americans were delighted, asking the pastry chef for the recipe that since then was named "Torta Caprese".
This unique dessert has the most delightful texture, a crispy crust on the outside and a moist heart within.
Below are a step-by-step recipe and tips to make a delicious Caprese chocolate almond cake easily at home in just over 30 minutes!
Caprese Cake Ingredients
To make this Italian popular gluten-free chocolate cake recipe, all you need is very simple ingredients:
- dark chocolate
- almond flour
- orange zest
- rum (optional)
To bring out the most amazing chocolate aroma use the best dark chocolate you can find.
It does make a HUGE difference. I go for 70% dark chocolate, preferably organic, with very few ingredients listed.
Remember that good chocolate should be made only with high cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and low sugar content.
Traditionally, there's no flour in this cake and it is substituted with almond flour.
You can easily find it in supermarkets or online, and if you have a little more time, I also suggest making your own almond flour (and then make some amaretti too!).
All you need is whole peeled and blanched almonds and a powerful blender.
For even more flavour, roast them in the oven for 5 minutes on a baking tray covered with parchment paper.
Then, add them into a powerful blender and blitz until you reach a fine, powdery flour.
My favourite butter to use for this cake is buffalo milk butter (which is quite popular in Campania, the region where this chocolate cake comes from).
Alternatively, high-quality butter or homemade butter is my go-to option.
The original version calls for the addition of orange zest (preferably organic), which together with chocolate and almonds is a match made in heaven!
Rum is also added into the batter, but alternatively, you can also use Grand Marnier or Cointreau. You can also skip it altogether.
Chocolate Almond Cake Instructions
This is one of the easiest gluten-free chocolate cake recipes around.
If you’re looking for an easy dessert recipe for novice bakers or to make with the kids, this is the one.
Here are the step-by-step recipe pictures, to make this cake recipe even easier to prepare.
Step 1. Melt the chocolate.
Place the chocolate chunks and the butter into the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring occasionally until melted, 2 to 3 minutes.
Alternatively, place the chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Set aside until needed.
Step 2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
Whip the egg yolks with ⅔ of the sugar and the orange zest, until you reach a foamy and light mixture. Then add in the liqueur, if using.
You can do it by hand with a whisker, but if you have it, use a hand mixer, which makes the job definitely quicker and easier.
Step 3. Fold in chocolate and almond flour.
Now, add the melted chocolate and butter into the egg mixture, followed by the almond flour, and mix with a spatula until combined.
The cake batter will be dense and quite compact, and that's totally ok.
Step 4. Beat the egg whites.
Finally, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar, until stiff peak form. Use a hand mixer to make this easier.
Step 5. Bring the batter together.
Fold the egg whites into the batter, and mix with a spatula (or wooden spoon) from the bottom upwards, trying not to disassemble the mixture.
The batter will become rich, shiny and smooth.
Step 6. Bake the cake.
Pour the batter into a springform cake pan, and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Allow cooling completely before removing the cake from the cake pan.
Dust generously with confectioner sugar just before serving.
I like to dust it with cocoa powder as well, but it's totally optional.
Slice it up and enjoy every little bit of it!
Once ready, this gluten-free chocolate cake keeps well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Make sure to store it in an airtight container to preserve its freshness.
Tips For The Best Caprese Cake
This cake is super simple to make, but to make sure you get the best result, here below are some helpful tips.
- Whip the egg white with some of the sugar and not by themselves, just like you would do for making meringue. This process will add a delicious meringue-like crispy crust on the outside.
- Traditional Caprese is not a super high cake. If you want the cake to be a little higher add in 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
- If you need the cake to be 100% gluten-free make sure all the ingredients you use are certified gluten-free.
- Be careful with the baking time. For a large Caprese 40-45 minutes is the perfect baking time.
- For a smaller Caprese (use half the ingredients), about 30 minutes are enough.
- Check if the cake is done, by inserting a toothpick in the middle of the cake. If it comes out just about wet and a little crumbly, your cake is done.
- You shouldn’t overbake the caprese cake, as it will end up being too dry.
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook! Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Italian Caprese Cake (Gluten-free chocolate cake)
- 250 g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
- 250 g butter, chopped
- 6 medium eggs
- 250 g sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon rum, optional
- 280 g almond flour
- 2 tablespoon confectioner sugar
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/360F, and arrange a baking rack onto the middle shelf.
- Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Set aside until needed.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, and set the egg whites aside. Whip the egg yolks with ⅔ of the sugar and orange zest, until they're tripled in volume and reach a foamy and light mixture. Then add the rum if using.
- Add in the melted chocolate and butter into the egg yolk mixture, followed by the almond flour and mix with a spatula until combined. The cake batter will be dense and quite compact, and that's totally ok.
- Beat the egg whites with the remaining ⅓ (50 gr) of the sugar, until stiff peak form. Use a hand mixer to make this easier.
- Fold the egg whites into the batter, and mix with a spatula from the bottom upwards, trying not to disassemble the mixture.
- Spray with baking oil a 7-inch springform cake pan with loose base, pour in the cake batter and even the top using a spatula.
- Arrange the cake pan onto the middle rack and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, then insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake. If it comes out just about wet and a little crumbly, your cake is done, otherwise continue to bake for a further 5 minutes, then check again. Take the cake out from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing it from the pan.
- Dust generously with confectioner sugar and optional cocoa poweder, and serve.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.