This Portuguese almond torte, known as Bolo de Amêndoa, is made with almonds, lemon zest, and cinnamon to create a rich, flourless, dense, and gluten-free torte that’s a Portuguese favorite.
Because this almond torte is made without flour, it’s exceptionally moist and dense—just the way the Portuguese adore it. I like to sprinkle it with a bit of confectioners’ sugar or, if I’m feeling truly decadent, I spoon on some preserves and whipped cream. Originally published February 10, 2009.–David Leite
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 10 to 12
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter (6 oz), plus more for the pan, at room temperature
- Gluten-free flour, for dusting the pan (optional)
- 3 cups blanched slivered almonds
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large egg whites
- Prep the oven and pan
- 1. Position the rack in the middle of the oven and crank the heat to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the paper. Coat the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
- Prepare the almonds
- 2. Buzz the almonds and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor until the consistency of fine cornmeal. Really lean on that button to make sure the almonds are as finely chopped as possible. Add the butter and pulse to combine. Set aside.
- Mix the wet ingredients
- 3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer in a big bowl, beat 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and the yolks on medium-high until very light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. Add the zest, salt, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. Whirl in the almond mixture and vanilla.
- Whip the egg whites and make the batter
- 4. In an impeccably clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy then slowly whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until the whites form soft, luscious peaks. Plop a spatulaful into the almond mixture and stir to lighten. Carefully fold in the remainder of the whites until no streaks show. Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
- Bake and cool the cake
- 5. Bake until the cake is golden brown and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let rest for 5 minutes before releasing the cake from the pan. (Be extra careful removing the cake from the pan if you didn’t dust the pan with flour. A little extra care is all it should take to keep the cake intact.) Let the cake cool completely before serving. The center of the cake will collapse a little as it cools. That is as it should be.
Recipe Testers Reviews
I selected this torte for a Passover dessert and lined the pan with a sprinkling of matzoh cake meal instead of flour. The result was a moist, delicious almond torte unlike any of our usual Passover desserts. It’s quite rich so a small portion is all one needs to be satisfied. The torte came together easily. I actually made two of them and froze one after it had completely cooled and found that freezing and thawing did not significantly change the taste or texture of the torte. The recipe is straightforward and easy to follow and the timing is perfect as written. When the torte is done the sides begin to pull away from the pan and the house begins to smell wonderful. The cake does sink a bit in the middle during cooling but no matter. Include this recipe in your menu when you need a flourless dessert or when you just want to make something delicious.