If you are a fan of all things almond you will simply adore this soft Italian Almond Cake. The rich almond flavours are complimented with a hint of orange and a deep covering of apricot jam, a sprinkling of flaked almonds and a final covering of sifted sugar. Bellissimo!
Italian Almond Cake, aka torta di mandorle, is a traditional Italian dessert made with eggs, sugar and ground almonds. This simple cake is then coated with a light sprinkling of icing (confectioner's) sugar.
My take on this recipe has been to add a little flour for structure, along with baking powder to give the cake more rise. A little orange zest adds just a hint of extra flavour and a drop of almond essence really brings out the almondyness.
What works especially well is the coating of soft apricot jam, flaked almonds and then a covering of icing sugar.
Combined, these flavours and textures work really well together, this is one beautifully, soft and flavoursome cake that’s now a firm favourite of mine.
Using oil instead of butter also gives the cake a lovely soft texture, as with my Olive Oil Cake.
If it is a traditional Italian Almond Cake that you're after though, you may like to try this excellent recipe instead.
Why make this Italian Almond Cake?
Rich almond flavour✔️
Slight hint of orange✔️
Melt-in-mouth soft, moist cake✔️
Apricot jam and flaked almond top✔️
Perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea✔️
For ingredient quantities please go to the Recipe Card below.
- Ground almonds
- Caster (superfine) sugar
- Vegetable oil (or olive oil)
- Plain (all-purpose) flour
- Fine salt
- Baking powder
- Almond extract (not to be confused with almond essence which is quite artificial in taste)
- Orange zest
- Apricot jam
- Icing (confectioner's) sugar
- Flaked almonds
For detailed instructions please see the Recipe Card below.
Sift together flour, salt and baking powder and then stir in ground almonds. Set aside.
Beat together eggs and sugar until they are foamy and pale yellow.
Beat in oil, almond essence and orange zest.
Add in the flour mixture and either fold in or lightly beat on a low setting.
Pour into a greased and lined baking tin and then bake for 35-40 minutes until golden.
Once baked leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.
Heat your jam briefly in a microwavable bowl and then spread over the Italian Almond Cake whilst both are still hot.
Sprinkle over flaked almonds and then, once the cake has fully cooled, sift over icing sugar.
Hint: use a tea strainer to sift over the icing (confectioner's) sugar, it will give you more control over how it spreads.
If you don't have all of the ingredients listed for this Italian Almond Cake recipe then here are some swaps you can make:
- Ground almonds - you can create your own ground almonds by blitzing whole almonds in a blender. Keep pulsing rather than leaving the blender to run as this ensures the almonds don't fudge together in a clump.
- Vegetable oil - can be replaced with plain olive oil, walnut oil or groundnut oil.
- Apricot jam - orange curd works very well as an alternative, or any other citrus jam.
- Almond extract - can be replaced with a teaspoon of orange juice, Amaretto liqueur or spiced rum. Spiced rum in particular works well as it really brings out the almond flavours.
- Lemon and almond cake - replace the orange zest with lemon zest, the almond essence with a teaspoon of lemon juice and cover with lemon curd and flaked almonds.
- Plain almond cake - for a more traditional Italian Almond Cake, omit the topping and just sift over icing (confectioner's) sugar.
Gluten-free almond cake: to make this cake gluten-free, simply omit the flour and baking powder and replace with the same amount of ground almonds. The beaten eggs will ensure the cake rises.
Italian Almond Cake is a moist cake and will keep well in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Refrigerated it will last for up to a week.
The cake can be frozen before the jam has been added. Simply then defrost it and then cover it with your jam, flaked almonds and icing sugar. Consume within 3 months of freezing.
- Hand or stand mixer
- 20cm deep cake tin loose-bottomed and/or spring form
- Greaseproof (parchment) paper
- Fine mesh sieve
- Large mixing bowl
- Pastry brush
- Wooden spoon
- Cooling rack
Expert Tops Tips
In all honesty, this cake is just so easy you can't really go wrong! No need for any tips!
However, here are some top tips that apply to all cakes:
- Use an oven thermometer - I have myself started to use an oven thermometer, just to be absolutely sure the temperature is spot on.
- Scrape down intermittently - it is important to regularly scrape the sides and base of your bowl to be sure all of the mixture is being completely incorporated.
- Ensure your baking powder is fresh and in date - otherwise it will really affect how your cake rises.
- Use a fine mesh sieve - rather than a larger holed sieve (see Equipment below for an example), as it will add extra air.
- Never overbeat in flour - beating flour will develop the gluten giving a cake a gummy consistency when baked. Where possible it is always best to fold the flour in gently or very gently beat it in with a mixer.
Italian Almond Cake can be served on its own, with whipped cream, or try adding some fresh red berries for garnish and added flavour.
Looking for similar recipes? Try these:
Italian Almond Cake
Here's what you'll need...
Ingredients you'll need...
Italian Almond Cake
- 75 g Plain flour (½ Cup)
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder level
- ¼ teaspoon Fine salt level
- 150 g Ground almonds (1½ Cups)
- 3 Large eggs at room temperature (US = extra large)
- 170 g Caster (superfine) sugar (10 level tablespoons)
- 130 ml Vegetable oil (9 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon Orange zest zest of 1 orange
- ¼ teaspoon Almond extract almond extract rather than almond essence gives a nicer flavour
Italian Almond Cake - Decoration
- 100 g Apricot jam (approx. ⅓ of an average jar)
- 30 g Flaked almonds (2-3 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon Icing (confectioner's) sugar
Here's what we do...
Italian Almond Cake
- Heat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas mark4/355°F and set a shelf in the middle.
- Grease your cake tin with butter and then line the base with a circle of greaseproof (parchment) paper.
- Sift together your flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl and then stir in your ground almonds.
- If using a hand mixer fit the beaters (not the whisk) and if using a stand mixer fit the paddle attachment. Starting on a low setting begin to beat your eggs and caster (superfine) sugar together for 60 seconds.
- Wipe the bowl down with your spatula, to ensure all ingredients are mixed in, then turn the speed up to medium-high and continue to beat for another 2 minutes. By this time the mixture should be pale yellow in colour with little bubbles popping up to the surface.
- Add your oil, orange zest and almond extract to your eggs and sugar mixture and beat in on a medium setting a few times until just incorporated.
- Tip in your sifted flour mixture and either fold in with a large metal spoon or beat on the lowest setting until just mixed in. Don't overmix otherwise your cake will be rubbery and chewy.
- Pour into your prepared baking tin and place on the centre shelf. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden all over and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake to ensure it has not stuck to the tin and then leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.
- Whilst your cake is still hot add the apricot jam, this will allow the jam to sink into the top layer of the cake whilst both are still hot and soft.
Italian Almond Cake Decoration
- Heat your apricot jam in your microwave in bouts of 20 seconds, stirring in between, until it is soft and runny, or heat gently in a small saucepan.
- Using your pastry brush, spread your warmed jam evenly over the top of your cake.
- Sprinkle over your flaked almonds and then allow the cake to completely cool.
- Finally, sift over your icing (confectioner's) sugar.