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 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 Caprese pastry chef Carmine di Fiore.

The pastry chef was preparing his almond and chocolate 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 in 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.

italian caprese cake, gluten-free chocolate cake

Caprese cake is a unique dessert, with 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!

Cake Ingredients

To make this Italian popular gluten-free chocolate cake recipe, all you need is very simple ingredients:

  • eggs
  • dark chocolate
  • almond flour
  • butter
  • sugar
  • orange zest
  • rum (optional)

caprese cake ingredients: almond flour, chunks of dark chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, orange zest

Dark Chocolate

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.

Almond flour

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 to make your own almond flour.

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.

Butter

My favourite butter to use for this cake is buffalo milk butter (which is quite popular in Campania, the region where the Caprese chocolate cake comes from).

Alternatively, high-quality butter or homemade butter is my go-to option.

Aromas

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 for an alcohol-free cake.

Step-by-step Recipe

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 Caprese chocolate cake even easier to prepare.

recipe steps 1 and 2: melt the chocolate and butter using a bain-marie, then in a large bowl whip the egg yolks, sugar and orange zest, and add the melted chocolate mixture.

First, 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.

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, and set the latter aside.

Whip the egg yolks with 2/3 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.

recipe step 3 and 4: fold the almond flour into the batter, then whip the egg whites and add them into the batter.

Now, add in 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.

Finally, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar, until stiff peak form. Use a hand mixer to make this easier. 

recipe step 5: all the ingredients are mixed and you have a smooth batter

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.

Spray with baking oil a springform cake pan, pour in the cake batter and even the top using a spatula.

Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, then remove from the oven.

Allow to cool completely before removing the cake from the cake pan.

caprese cake on a cooling rack, then dusted with conferctioner sugar right before serving.

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!

How to Store 

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 

This Italian gluten-free chocolate cake is super simple to make, but to make sure you get the best result, here below are some helpful tips.

italian caprese cake (gluten-free chocolate cake) slice served on a white plate, whole cake in the background

– 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 tsp 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 over bake the Caprese, as it will end up being too dry.

More Traditional Italian Recipes:

If you liked this Italian recipe, here are a few more traditional recipes you absolutely need to try:

The BEST Italian Homemade Pizza Dough

Traditional Bolognese Sauce (Ragu’ alla Bolognese)

Classic Tiramisu – Authentic Italian Recipe

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*!

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Italian Caprese Cake (Gluten-free chocolate cake)

Italian Caprese cake is the BEST gluten-free chocolate cake ever created! Fudgy, rich and incredibly easy to make with simple ingredients.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: almond, cake, chocolate, gluten-free, gluten-free cake, party
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 250 gr 70% dark chocolate chopped
  • 250 gr butter chopped
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 250 gr sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tbsp rum optional
  • 280 gr almond flour

To serve:

  • 2 tbsp confectioner sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Then, whip the egg yolks with 2/3 (200 gr) of the sugar, until you reach a foamy and light mixture.
  • Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, and set the latter aside. Whip the egg yolks with 2/3 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 1/3 (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.

Notes

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 the typical 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 tsp 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 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 over bake the Caprese, as it will end up being too dry.
How to store it: 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.
Did you try this recipe? Tag @thepetitecook or use the hashtag #thepetitecook - Looking at your pictures makes my day!

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.