Tarta de Santiago Recipe (Spanish Almond Cake)

A delicious Tarta de Santiago recipe for the famous Spanish almond cake.

One of the first Spanish desserts I fell head over heels for was the tarta de Santiago, a simple Spanish almond cake found on nearly any dessert menu in Madrid. The slice looked as humble as could be, and I began to doubt my choice. But with the first bite of moist cake I felt like I’d eaten a handful of almonds. I was hooked.

The almond cakes I grew up eating were flavored with potent almond extract– delicious I’ll admit, but nothing like the almond sweets here in Spain, where the star of the show is always the raw almond itself.

When I finally decided to try a tarta de Santiago recipe at home, I was torn among a few different versions. My favorite Spanish cookbook author, Claudia Roden, has a yummy looking version in The Food of Spain. But I decided I wanted something even more basic. I kept searching, until I finally found what seemed to be the perfect recipe in one of my mother in law’s old cookbooks. It had only five ingredients, which sounded just about right. The old scribbled down recipe was remarkably similar to the one found in Culinaria Spain, another of my Spanish cookbook bibles. As usual, the measurements were vague in both versions, but I attempted it nonetheless, and the results were delicious!

3.8 from 5 reviews
Tarta de Santiago Recipe (Spanish Almond Cake)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This is my favorite tarta de Santiago recipe, a popular Spanish almond cake that is typically made in Galicia.
Author:
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Spanish
Serves: 8 slices
Ingredients
  • I used a 9-inch glass pie dish for this recipe-- but in Spain, we improvise! Adjust bake time for a smaller dish.
  • Crust
  • 1 egg
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1¼ heaping cups of flour (you may need more)
  • Filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 1¼ cups of sugar
  • Grated zest from one lemon
  • 2 cups of finely ground almonds
  • Topping
  • Powdered sugar
  • Fresh fruit (not traditional but I love it)
Instructions
  1. Crust
  2. Beat the egg and sugar with one tablespoon of hot water until the mixture is creamy.
  3. Fold in the flour using a rubber spatula, until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. You many need more flour to achieve the right consistency.
  4. Reserve.
  5. Filling
  6. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until finely ground, however be careful not to turn the mixture to almond butter by over processing.
  7. Beat the eggs and sugar for about one minute until creamy.
  8. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the lemon zest and ground almonds.
  9. Assembly
  10. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  11. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and then fit into a well greased baking mold.
  12. Prick with a fork and then pour the filling over the base.
  13. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown.
  14. Allow the cake to cool in the pan, and then transfer to a serving dish.
  15. Decorate with powdered sugar and fruit if desired.

My tarta de Santiago recipe may not be very complicated, but it is packed with flavor . It comes out perfectly moist, and tastes like its ingredients– almonds, sugar and eggs. I ate a couple of pieces on their own, and topped others with a strawberry salsa made with fresh strawberries, mint, sugar, lemon juice and a touch of aged balsamic vinegar. The Gallegos may not approve– but I sure do!

Spanish almond cake recipe for Tarta de Santiago.
A non traditional version that I approve of!

What do you think? Is my Spanish almond cake on the menu this summer? I hope so!

 

Comments

  1. Such a simple, delicious dessert, and I love the idea of garnishing it with a minty sweet strawberry salad, strawberry-shortbread-style 🙂

    Of course, tarta de Santiago at its most “enxebre” (essential) eschews the flour crust for merely almonds, sugar, eggs, and powdered sugar, but making it with a crust adds a nice crunchy contrast to the moist almond dough.

  2. We just came back from Spain and I fell in love with a cake I had in Segovia that resembles your recipe. I can’t wait to try it out!! Thanks for posting this!
    Martha

  3. I was wondering if you could refriger this cake for a few days and it would still be fine. Also would using a smaller mold work better with plating?

  4. Instead of purchasing almonds and putting them in the processor, can I just buy ground almonds and use that instead? Not sure if they’d be too fine…..
    Thanks

    Alice

    1. Since there was no answer- I used a 9 inch Glass Pie Pan which seems to be the correct size for the amount of crust and filling.

  5. Thank you for this recipe,l had almond meal so it was quick easy recipe but next time l will cook the base filled with baking paper and rice looked alittle under cooked.

  6. I am going to make your cake today (12/3) for a Tapas evening with friends on Sunday; did I miss it or did you omit the size pan that would work best?

    Thanks – Wilfried

  7. Hi

    I just made this cake and the crust was too crumbly, and I couldn’t roll it at all – adding more flour just made more crumbly, and adding more water made too tough after baking. I was wondering if the recipe was missing some oil ingredient for the crust.
    Also for me 30 minutes baking wasn’t enough – next time I will bake for longer.
    All in all – the recipe is great in its taste and simplicity – and will definitely try to make it again until I get it to look as your photo

    Thank you!

    1. I prepared it today and it was delicious. I added another tablespoon of water to the dough so that it held together and I was able to roll it out. It was not crumbly but I liked it. I also baked it for another 10-15 minutes. Ovens are differen and flours are differentt. When I stuck in a fork and it seemed too gooey, I sent it back in.

  8. I made this tarta today (2/18/17) and found the filling very good. The crust had good flavor but was incredible tough. Would probably leave it off next time.

  9. I enjoyed a tarta de Santiago in Madrid last time I was there. I’ve been looking at different recipes–some use flour, some use crushed almonds or almond flour only (making it a good option for celias or Passover). Did you try making it without the wheat flour? What are your thoughts on that?

  10. Lauren…! I am have a Tapas dinner for 4 and would love to make your Tarta…. just wondering…….. can I substitute almond flour for All Purpose for the crust?.

    Thanks for your advice….. Pat

  11. I finally made this recipe today. It came out fantastic!! I had tried a different recipe last year and this one was far superior. I did not change a thing. I prepared for a birthday dinner for a friend and the guests raved about it and had seconds. One of the hosts is from Spain too, and said it was very good. This recipe will be my “go to” from now on for Tarta de Santiago.

  12. I just tried your tarta de santiago recipe and the filling never firmed up, it was like soup.

    I followed your recipe, is there something missing, or did I do something wrong

    Dick

  13. I made this yesterday for a dear friend who is from Spain as a surprise. I wondered when first read it about “pricking” the crust since you do not do that unless you are pre-baking the crust. I’d read comments about the thickness of crust and some whose filling didn’t set, etc. I made a few adjustments to insure against such as adding a tablespoon of flour to filling as well as just patting my dough out into greased pan instead of rolling it; also watched it carefully and did have to add time since it wouldn’t set/brown. Basically I treated it like a custard pie, baking at higher temp for several minutes and lowering temp for remainder. Looks great! I’ll use a stencil and power-sugar top before I take it. We’ll see…..probably won’t make again UNLESS it is really liked.

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