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
  • (17)
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • Serves 10 to 12
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Ingredients


Directions

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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Comments

  1. Delicious and easily adaptable. I quartered the recipe and made it in a 6 inch springform pan which resulted in a thinner cake (1/2 in tall), baked for just under 30 min. Even a small piece (1/8 of the torte) is very rich, moist, and flavorful. The zest really shines through, so I could see doing orange zest and cloves, nutmeg, or cardamom next time.

    1. That is a stunning torte, Maya! If you try it with the other spices and citrus, do let us know how it turns out.

    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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

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