Two of my favourite ingredients are lemons and white chocolate, which is why today’s recipe Torta Caprese al Limone or Capri Lemon Cake is one of my most beloved sweet treats. The incredible smell of this cake baking in the oven is merely a preview of the meltingly delicious flavours awaiting you.
Why is Torta caprese al limone so good?
You know those cakes that are so good you close your eyes and groan when you take your first bite? This is one of those. Lemons are at their best right now, and when paired with creamy white chocolate they make a deliciously moist and decadent dessert cake. This is the cucina Italiana at its mouthwatering best. Can you tell I love this cake? I think you will too.
OK! I can’t resist! What is Torta Caprese?
Torta Caprese is a classic Italian cake from the sunny Italian island of Capri, and usually, it is made with dark chocolate. When made with white chocolate and lemon it becomes a Torta Caprese al Limone. This is a seriously decadent cake and truly delicious as is, but switching the dark chocolate out for white and adding zesty lemon (an idea attributed to Italian chef Sal de Riso) lifts it to the realms of perfection. As a bonus, this cake is gluten-free as it is made with ground almonds rather than flour.
Is torta caprese a cake or a dessert?
A little bit of both! I like to serve Torta Caprese al Limone as an after-dinner treat, usually with a very cold glass of limoncello or prosecco. I have yet to have a dinner guest who didn’t fall in love at first bite. However, it is perfectly at home being served with coffee or just for snacking on when the mood strikes.
This cake gets better with age!
Truly! Torta Caprese can be made a few days in advance and actually gets better as it goes along. This cake needs no frosting or icing, just a dusting of powdered sugar to decorate. I like to serve it with a bowl of mascarpone or creme fraiche, though it is so moist, it is wonderful just as it is.
A word of advice: Use good lemons
It’s worth getting your hands on the best organic lemons you can find for this cake, as the oils in the zest are what gives it so much flavour. The white chocolate you use is up to you, try to use a decent quality one though, you will be rewarded in every bite. It’s tempting for those of you in the US to use Meyer lemons, but this cake works much better with a true lemon variety such as Eureka or Primofiore to let the lemon flavour truly sing.
It’s not quite late enough in the year to head off to Italy for your summer holiday, but in the meantime, we can feast on their cake, sip limoncello and imagine the Italian sunshine. Have you ever been to Capri? Let me know in the comments below! xJ
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Torta Caprese al Limone in a smaller cake pan?
While I have made this cake many times, I always use the same sized cake pan. Flourless cakes can be a little temperamental, so if you may need to experiment a little, just be sure not to overfill the cake pan and test with a wooden or metal skewer to ensure it is cooked through.
Can I make this cake in advance?
Yes! In fact, Torta Caprese gets better over a few days. It also freezes well.
My cake didn’t rise very much! Is that right?
Yes, Torta Caprese al Limone is not a big fluffy confection, rather a more fudge-like dessert. Once you taste it you will see what I mean!
Perfect for an after-dinner treat – I like to serve Torta Caprese al Limone with a glass of icy cold limoncello.
for the cake:
- 75g (⅓ cup) sugar
- 3 large unwaxed lemons, zested and juiced
- 5 large eggs
- 100g (3.5oz) melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g (7 oz. )ground almonds
- 200g (7 oz.) white chocolate, finely chopped
- 125g (1 cup) powdered sugar
- 50g (¼ cup) cornflour/cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4 and line the base and grease the sides of a 26cm (10 in.) springform cake pan.
- CREAM THE BUTTER AND SUGAR: In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl combine the sugar and the lemon zest, then use your fingers to rub the sugar and zest together releasing all the aromatic oils. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and lemon sugar together for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the butter, vanilla extract and 50ml of the lemon juice and beat until well combined.
- FOLD THROUGH DRY INGREDIENTS: Whisk together all remaining dry ingredients (you can also pulse them together in a food processor), then fold the dry ingredients gently but thoroughly through the beaten egg mixture.
- BAKE: Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan, give it a little shake to even the surface, then bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Keep an eye on the cake in the last 10 minutes of cooking time and if it is starting to over brown cover loosely with a square of tinfoil.
- COOL AND SERVE: When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin. When the cake is cool, run a small sharp knife around the edge of the cake, remove from the tin and transfer to a serving plate. Dust generously with powdered sugar and serve.
Cup and Imperial measures are approximate. For best results and accuracy I recommend a digital kitchen scale.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 281mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 3gSugar: 36gProtein: 9g