|Type||Flourless chocolate cake|
|Place of origin||Italy|
|Region or state||Capri|
|Main ingredients||Butter, sugar, egg yolks, egg whites, almonds, chocolate|
Torta caprese is a flourless Italian cake made with chocolate and either almonds or hazelnuts. Named for the island of Capri from which it originates, the cake is widely known and especially popular in nearby Naples, Italy.
With many variations, the core recipe combines softened butter at room temperature with sugar followed by egg yolks. Once combined, the remaining ingredients are added, including finely minced almonds, chocolate (melted using a bain-marie), and whipped egg whites. After baking, the cake has a moist interior with a thin, hard shell—typically dusted with powdered sugar. It is sometimes made with a small amount of Strega or other liqueur.
The origins of torta caprese are not clear, though it seems likely it was created by the hospitality industry of Capri, which catered to tourists.
One background story suggests Caprese cake was created when the King of Naples' Austrian wife requested a Sacher cake (an Austrian chocolate cake), Neapolitan chefs improvised by using a typical Neopolitan ingredient, almonds. Another unauthenticated story suggests Caprese cake was created in the 1920s, when a baker fulfilling a tourist's order for an almond cake mistakenly forgot to add flour—resulting in a simultaneously soft and crunchy delicacy. Another account attributes the recipe to two Austrian women who inherited a guest house in Capri's Marina Piccola during the 1930s, the Strandpension Weber, from Munich-born August Weber (1846–1928).
Despite the uncertainty surrounding its origins, Caprese cake has been called "uno dei pasticci più fortunati della storia" ("one of history's most fortunate mistakes").
translation: "The caprese cake is the typical dessert of Capri. Its origin is somewhat controversial. Tradition has it that its creation happened by chance in a craft workshop of the island in the twenties. It seems that the pastry chef had forgotten to put the flour in an almond cake, ordered by some tourists. A delicacy came out of it, a soft cake in the center and crunchy outside, much appreciated by those tourists and then depopulated and become famous all over the world. In fact, the caprese cake, very delicate in taste, is extremely simple in its preparation and, not providing the use of flour, is also suitable for coeliacs. Add 200 g of butter with 200 g of sugar, then add 6 egg yolks, already slightly beaten. When the mixture is homogeneous, add 300 g of almonds, finely chopped and 200 g of dark chocolate, finely chopped or melted in a bain-marie, a teaspoon of baking powder and half a cup of aromatic liqueur. Finally, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Then, a round mold (27 cm diameter) is buttered, lined with baking parchment and the mixture is distributed, leveling it with a spatula. It should be cooked for 50 minutes at 180 degrees. Once baked, the cake should be turned over on a plate and allowed to cool. Before serving it should be sprinkled with powdeered sugar. Many variations on the market outside the island, according to the taste and imagination of pastry chefs."