Galicia is renowned for its great gastronomic tradition. We could list an endless number of meals and sweets, but if we choose one, the Tarta de Santiago is the dessert par excellence. Such is its importance and rootedness in Galicia, that it was granted Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2006.
The Camino de Santiago has contributed to popularizing this traditional dessert. Thanks to its recognition, nowadays you can find the Tarta de Santiago in bakeries and restaurants along the Camino. However, if you like pastry, we teach you how to bake it, so you can enjoy this special dessert whenever you want.
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The fact you didn't know about the Santiago Cake
A curiosity about this Galician cake is the use of almonds as the main ingredient. During the Middle Ages, this nut was scarce in Galicia. For this reason, almond cake was a luxury reserved only for the most privileged.
The origin of the Tarta de Santiago
Although the origin of this dessert is unknown, the first references to the Tarta de Santiago are found in documents from 1577 at the University of Santiago. At that time, it was called “Torta Real” . The first known recipes came later in 1838, under the name of “Tarta de Almendra”.
Original Tarta de Santiago recipe
The traditional Tarta de Santiago recipe is only based on almonds, sugar and eggs. However, other aromatic ingredients can be added for a more special flavor. It is round in shape with the silhouette of the Cross of Santiago in the center made with powdered sugar. In order to find a good cake, its texture should be spongy and grainy with a predominant almond flavor.
There are many versions of the Tarta de Santiago, in each house it is prepared in a different way. We bring you a version of the traditional recipe, more creamy and extra spongy.
Preparation time for Santiago Cake
- Precooking time: 15 min
- Cooking time: 40 min
- Total time: 1h
- Portions: 8 to 10
- Category: bakery
- Type of cuisine: traditional Galician
- Calories: 3420 kcal total
Utensils needed to make the Tarta de Santiago
- 1 ovenproof round baking pan with a 22 cm diameter.
- Mixer with blades for whipping (eggs, cream… etc.)
- Flexible spatula
- 1 deep bowl for mixing all the ingredients
- 1 bowl for egg whites
Ingredients for The Tarta de Santiago
- 4 eggs
- 250 g sugar
- 250 g almond flour
- 200 g whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- Powdered sugar for decoration
Steps to prepare the Tarta de Santiago
You can see the step by step in this video or you can find the detailed recipe right below.
Start by separating the egg yolks from the egg whites in two containers. Add the sugar and whip the egg whites until stiff.
In the egg yolks bowl add the cream and beat until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Incorporate the mixture to the egg whites with enveloping movements.
Add the almond flour and the cinnamon with enveloping movements, without beating so the egg whites do not lose their volume.
Grease a baking pan with butter and pour the mixture. If you don’t have butter you can use oven proof paper or any cooking oil to grease the pan.
Next, we put the Tarta de Santiago in the preheated oven at 180ºC (350ºF) for 40 minutes. After this time, check with a toothpick if the cake is no longer raw. If the toothpick is a little stained, wait 5 more minutes or until it comes out clean.
Finally, and optionally, we will use this paper template to make the cross of Santiago. Place the template in the center of the cake and sprinkle the powdered sugar all over the surface. Once ready, remove the template and… we have the cake decorated in the most traditional style!
Can I have the Santiago cake if I am gluten free or celiac?
Yes, the original Tarta de Santiago recipe is prepared with almond flour. It does not contain gluten so it is apt for celiacs.