Flourless chocolate cake

Flourless chocolate cake

Torta caprese

The Italian Baker

The story goes that in 1920 in a bakery on the island of Capri, a pastry chef called Carmine Fiore created, by accident, a flourless cake that would become one of the most appreciated cakes of its time, la torta caprese. He had been commissioned to prepare a walnut cake for Al Capone, who came to Italy to buy gaiters in large quantities. Perhaps the chef was distracted or nervous, because he forgot to add flour to the cake, but the gangster loved the results so much he wanted the recipe to take home with him.

So here it is, in all its fame and glory! So simple and yet so rich. I’ve come across many different versions of this around the world, but this is the real deal.


Quantity Ingredient
230g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
200g good-quality dark chocolate
200g caster sugar
5 eggs, separated
35g good-quality cocoa powder
500g chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter the insides of a 23 cm springform cake tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. Grate the chocolate or crumble it into little pieces in a food processor.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl and using electric hand-held beaters, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Once well blended and creamy, beat or fold in the cocoa powder. Use a spatula to fold in the chopped walnuts and chocolate. Sift in the bicarbonate of soda and stir to combine.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer or by hand until stiff. Fold into the cake mixture, trying not to knock any air out. Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 40–45 minutes until the edges have started to come away from the side of the tin. Once baked, leave to cool completely in the tin before transferring it to a serving plate.
  5. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.


  • I also sometimes add 1½ teaspoons espresso powder to the mixture (just before adding the egg yolks). Why? Because I’m Italian! Trust me, the result is sublime...
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