Almond cake, also known as Tarta de Santiago

Almond Cake – Tarta de Santiago


This almond cake known as ‘tarta de Santiago’ is a traditional recipe from the Galicia region of Spain. You can easily find it in the windows of pastry shops and restaurants in Santiago de Compostela, La Coruña, Pontevedra, Vigo or other Galician cities.

Galicians traditionally decorate the top of their ‘tarta de Santiago’ with dusted confectionary sugar and use a paper template with the shape of the Saint James’ cross (cruz de Santiago) which is removed carefully. The imprint silhouette brings visual interest displaying the golden color of this tasty and aromatic cake.

This cake is a great option for an afternoon tea with family and/or friends served with tea, coffee or a caffè latte, or at the end of a meal with a dessert wine. This is also a great option for individuals with Celiac disease and individuals with gluten sensitivity as none of the components on this recipe contain gluten.


TIP: If you have leftovers, it freezes quite well so I often freeze a few slices into separate pieces of aluminum paper and defrost it in the fridge the day before or a few hours before consuming it.


  • 300 g of ground almonds *
  • 250 g of sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • Grated zest of an orange or lemon
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
  • Butter or another fat of your preference to grease the baking pan


  1. Preheat the oven to 175º C or 350º F
  2. Grease a springform pan with the fat of your preference
  3. In a bowl mix all of the dry ingredients (ground almonds, sugar, cinnamon and the grated zest of your choice)
  4. Slightly beat the whole eggs then mix the dry ingredients mixture incorporating all ingredients into a cake batter
  5. Pour in the cake batter, and bake into a preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and the surface is toasted and golden. Let the cake to cool before turning out.
  6. Before serving, lightly dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar.


a slice of tarta de Santiago


  • Add 1/2 tsp almond extract or 1 tbsp of Amaretto to the beaten eggs for a stronger almond taste
  • Gató d’Ametla, a version of this cake prepared in Majorca, is flavored with a few drops of vanilla extract in addition to lemon zest and cinnamon
  • In Navarre, the cake is covered with apricot jam

* Notes:

Making your own ground almonds greatly reduces the cost of this recipe! Simply add 1 cup of almonds at a time into a food processor or a blender and grind it until it reaches a fluffy flour like consistency. Do not over process it or you will end up with almond butter.

Almond Cake (Tarta de Santiago)
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