Portuguese Almond Torte ~ Bolo de Amêndoa

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.

Portuguese Almond Torte

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

Portuguese Almond Torte | Bolo de Amêndoa

  • Quick Glance
  • (16)
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 10 to 12
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Prep the oven and pan

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

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

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

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

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.

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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.


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    1. Linda, several of our readers have had success using almond flour here. If you have a scale, I’d suggest using 12 ounces (340 g) of almond flour, but if you don’t, then just measure out 3 cups.

  1. For a lighter and/or nondairy take, you can successfully skip the butter, or just brown 1 T of butter and add it for flavor only, not bulk. Sub in 2-3 peeled and finely grated medium-large Granny Smith apples (about 200 g pulp) and whip the egg whites a little stiffer before folding in, and/or add 2 T flour or matzah cake meal to the almond meal for structure. The torte comes out a little lighter-textured but flavorful and plently moist, and the tartness of the Granny Smiths blends in well with the lemon zest and other flavorings.

    1. Tammy, several of our readers have had success substituting almond flour. If you have a scale, I’d suggest using 12 ounces (340 g) of the almond flour, since that’s the same weight of almonds called for in the recipe. If you don’t have a scale, try about 3 cups of almond flour. Do let us know how it turns out.

  2. This is a delicious Almond Torte.
    My husband loves Almonds everything this recipe is will be my go to dessert it’s so yummy and it looks professional!
    Muito Obrigado!

    1. You’re very welcome, Maria, and thank you for sharing the gorgeous photo of your torte with us!

  3. What a delicious dessert!! I live in Colorado and because of the high altitude the only change I made was to increase the baking time to 15 more minutes . Everything else I followed exactly as the recipe says. Thank you for sharing this recipe..

    1. Marlene, we’re thrilled that this torte turned out spectacularly at altitude with minimal tweaks! We GREATLY appreciate you taking the time to let us know. Thank you and we look forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next…

  4. Hello! I’ve made your pasteis de nata recipe, and they were fantastic!

    I’d love to get this recipe a try! I was wondering if I can replace the slivered almonds with almond meal since I already have that in my pantry.

    Thank you for your time and recipe!

    1. Hello, Melanie. I do believe it should be fine. But…it’s crucial to use the weight measurement because 3 cups of sliced almonds doesn’t weigh the same as 3 cups of almond meal.

  5. This cake was absolutely delicious! I used almond flour to save some time and it worked out wonderfully. I just used the same amount as the recipe called for – 3 cups. The cake had a wonderful lemony, cinnamon flavor and was very moist. This recipe is a keeper for sure.

  6. Ai que maravilha de bolo. Just like home and wonderful with coffee or tea. Very grateful for this recipe. And it’ll be fun to try the recipe variations posted by others.

    We’ve been baking and enjoying for some time, and we have been using almond meal. Our six year old and friends have enjoyed it too. We’ll serve it this Christmas again for sure!

    Muito obrigado, David!

  7. Hi, David.

    New(ish) to your site, but love everything I have tried. This Almond Torte was a huge hit with a group of women that are usually chocolate fiends. It was also devoured by a family, including the picky 11 year old and deemed delicious. Now to think up another worthy occasion…

  8. After another recipe that delivered a too-light texture for a don quixote paella party, I hunted down this one and … perfecto!! No one needed to know it was Portuguese:) A keeper!!!

  9. Wow! I have tried several different recipes for this cake, but this one was awesome. I warmed some homemade apricot jam and added a T of lime juice. Spread this over the top and sprinkled the powdered sugar on after it cooled. Had some friends over for lunch, and they all want the recipe :) Major yumminess!

  10. I made this cake for Passover with the following changes:

    I used already ground blanched almonds: 300 grams equaled 3 cups.
    Instead of 1 1/4 c. sugar, I used 1 1/8 cups.
    I used 9 Tablespoons of coconut oil + 2 Tablespoons water to replace the butter.
    I left out the cinnamon b/c a family member is allergic to it.
    I used 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger. No lemon rind.

    In addition, not having great faith in my handling of egg whites, I added 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.

    I put the batter into 2 long narrow loaf pans which are termed “English Cake” pans here in Israel [a quaint sign of one lasting cultural impression of the British Mandate over Israel]. I don’t have a 10-inch springform pan. I baked them at 325°F for about 1 hour or until the top surface was golden brown.
    The results: very moist, very strong almond flavor, a dense cake with mild grainy texture due to the almonds. The sweetness was good for me, I would not want it any sweeter. Next time I may reduce the sugar to only 1 cup total.

    Thanks! Obrigado!

  11. This cake looks great, but since it’s dairy, I can’t serve it at a Seder. However, for a dairy meal during Passover, it would be delicious. Also for breakfast, for a break from matza brei. If you want to serve it during Passover, line the pan with matza cake meal instead of flour and skip the confectioners’ sugar, which has cornstarch in it. You can make your own confectioners’ sugar by blending sugar, superfine if you have it, with matza cake meal in a blender or processor until it’s like powder.

    1. Hi Ellen, what wonderful advice! Thanks so much for chiming in with your suggestions.

  12. This recipe is amazing. I have finally been able to master the “pudim” and am so glad that this almond cake came out perfect. It was so good that my boyfriend couldn’t wait for it to cool down before having a taste. It was so good that we ate the whole thing in three days. JUST THE TWO OF US! you cant just have one sliver, its impossible. So now I only bake it to take to someone else’s home, otherwise I would be morbidly obese. i have made two already and now making the third appearance for tomorrows Páscoa feast (Easter feast). This cake and my perfect “pudim” are going to be a huge hit. Thanks so much for the recipe. Keep them coming.

  13. May I use a combination of unblanched and blanched almonds? Also, should they be toasted in the oven before I grind them?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. T, you can bake with a combo of almonds; the only thing is the cake may be a bit darker depending on many unblanched almonds you use. And there’s no need to toast the almonds. It won’t hurt, but it certainly could add a layer of flavor–as long as you toast them lightly. If you do toast them, I’d suggest using only blanched nuts.

  14. If I wanted to halve the recipe, what size pan would you recommend? Could I substitute an 8-inch springform pan or should I use something smaller?


  15. Hello, this recipe looks like the one from the Portuguese cookbook that I used to possess. But, much healthier, as that recipe asked for seven eggs or so. But, would it be possible to tell me in grams the amount of GROUND almonds I would need to include? I live in Spain and am able to buy very nice ground almonds for baking.

    If you have this measurement at your convenient disposal, I would be very, very grateful for it.

    Thank you :D

  16. David,

    I made this cake last year for Passover, as well, and everyone loved it. Do you think it would freeze well? I have so much work to do the few days before the Seder.


  17. Baked as directed, I found the cake to be a little greasy. I cut the butter in half and used half granulated sugar and half powdered. Perfect!

  18. I have to add, I used blanched almond flour instead of buzzing up the almonds and that worked perfectly.

    1. Hi Sweet*Heidi! Wondering how much almond flour you used in lieu of blending almonds with the sugar. Also, is almond flour and almond meal (ground almonds) are the same? Thanks!

  19. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! This is gluten free if you omit the flour for dusting! I made it, it turned out so perfectly, all golden and delicious. MMMMM I highly recommend the recipe!

  20. I plan to make this recipe for Passover this year. I have quite a bit of ground almond flour that I bought for other recipes. Is it possible to use this in this cake? If so, how much?

    1. Hi Sandi, I’ve never made it with almond flour, which is finer and would chance the texture of the cake. So to avoid any last-minute surprises, my advice is to grind your almonds.

  21. At first, I was quite skeptical about making this dish..especially when the batter was less than delectable. Do not fear! After baking it, the house permeated with lemon goodness, and I found the entire family gobbling up the confection. I recommend one makes sure to use a fairly large pan to bake this in to ensure that the cake gets fully done. For the adventuresome baker, it is worthwhile!

    1. Monty, so glad you like the bolo. Yes, the cake needs to be baked in a 10-inch spring form pan. Anything smaller will cause the it to be too thick and not cook properly.

  22. Fabulous! This cake is also perfect for Passover: no flour or levening agents. This one is a keeper, thanks. There is a typo. The recipe calls for “12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 cups).” It should be “1 1/2 sticks.”

  23. Off to the kitchen with this recipe, will post about it later, one thing I have to leave out is the cinnamon, hope it wont make a huge difference. As always David, your recipes make me drool just reading them. Can you imagine the mess I am when tasting. :))

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