Skip to Content

Tarta De Santiago (Spanish Almond Cake)

Tarta De Santiago- Spanish Almond Cake Recipe is a traditional Spanish dessert that requires little effort to make. It is naturally gluten-free as the recipe is made with almond flour. A great dessert to serve with a cup of coffee to end dinner in a glorious way.

Tarta de Santiago decorated with almond slices0

What is Tarta de Santiago, and why should you make it:

This almond cake (tarta de almendras) is a classic traditional Spanish dessert created a long, long time ago. The first documents about this recipe come from the middle ages and are dated 1577.

It is made with ground almonds, sugar, eggs, and lemon zest. Sometimes there is a pinch of cinnamon, sometimes, it is simple.

Some people will beat the egg whites separately with an electric mixer in a large bowl and add it to the mixture of egg yolks and sugar, some people will not. 

Traditionally, the cake is decorated with a dusting of powdered sugar in the shape of the cross of the Order of Santiago, a medieval Christian military order. ( Cross of the Knights of Santiago )

cross of the Knights of Santiago

It is not mandatory to use that cross on top of the cake. I just wanted to show you that this is how it looks traditionally.

When I make the cake, I only decorate it with slivered almonds and dust it with icing sugar. Keep it simple, and your dessert will be a hit!

Tarta de Santiago recipe (or cake of St. James) originated in Galicia, and it is named after the city of Santiago de Compostela, which is the final destination of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route.

The almond tart recipe is also naturally gluten free for those who follow a gluten-free diet. In 1577, people did not think about gluten-free recipes, but they did think about a way to use available ingredients.

Tarta De Santiago Pinterest0

When is tarta de Santiago eaten?

On 25th of July, spain celebrates St. James Feast. As a matter of fact, this day is a public holiday in the Basque Country and Galicia. This is the day when most people will bake the cake to mark the event.

Spain uses almonds in many of its recipes, and this one is no different. Why not, as they are one of the biggest producers of almonds in the world?

Tarta de Santiago has been recognized as a protected geographical indication (PGI) by the European Union, which means that it can only be called Tarta de Santiago if it is made in Galicia using traditional methods.

What kind of almonds are recommended for this recipe:

The original recipe requires raw Marcona almonds, but any almonds will do if you do not have that type of almond. As I am located in the US, I usually get almond flour at the grocery store.

It is a beautiful dessert that must be tried at least once, so let’s see how to make this recipe! You will be amazed at how easy it is!

What kind of ingredients do you need for this traditional cake (Tarta de Santiago) recipe:

  • Almond flour or almond meal :

I suggest you look for almond flour made from skinless, blanched almonds. There are some places where you will find ground almonds. These are almonds that are unpeeled, and the texture of the cake will be different.

If you cannot find almond flour, you can make your own. Buy whole raw almonds (not roasted or salted) and soak them in hot water for 5 minutes.

The brown skin will slide off the almonds very easily. Place the almonds on a clean kitchen towel and remove the moisture, then put them in the food processor to grind them. Make sure you do not transform them into almond paste. Yummy, but not suitable to make this cake. Now they are ready to be used.

  • Eggs:

As usual, we use large eggs in our baking. You will need 5 eggs.

  • Granulated Sugar, cinnamon powder, lemon zest, and some powdered sugar for dusting the surface of the cake. Cinnamon is optional. Some recipes have it, while others don’t. It is a matter of preference. I like cinnamon in this recipe, so I added it. 
  • Butter: for greasing the pan before baking the cake.
  • 9-inch tart pan or a 9-inch springform cake tin. You can cover the bottom of the tin with parchment paper, but this is not mandatory if your prepared tin has been greased before.
  • Optional, you can add some almond extract if you want a stronger almondy flavor, otherwise, the original recipe is made without.
Slice of Tarta de Santiago on a gold rimmed white plate0

There are multiple ways to bring these ingredients together:

  1. The easier way and most traditional one is to mix the eggs and sugar together in a large mixing bowl, then add the almond flour, lemon zest, and cinnamon. The dry ingredients are gently incorporated into the eggs, and the batter is baked.
  2. I saw recipes where the egg whites are beaten and then added to the batter. While there is nothing wrong with this method, I do not recommend it if you want to make it truly authentic.
  3. Some recipes even call for baking powder, which is not at all part of the authenticity of the recipe.

In the traditional recipe, the cake comes out denser because the ingredients are mixed without whipping the egg whites or adding baking powder to aerate the batter.

Slice of Tarta de Santiago0

The recipe is straightforward, and you will be pleased with the results. Also, the cake is not tall. It looks more like an elegant tart.

How to store Tarta de Santiago:

At room temperature.

Tarta de Santiago can last for several days if stored properly. It does not need to be refrigerated, but it should be kept in a cool, dry place. You can store it at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap.

Depending on the recipe and the specific storage conditions, Tarta de Santiago can last for up to a week or more. However, it’s best to consume it within 2-3 days for optimal taste and texture.

In the freezer.

If you want to extend the shelf life of Tarta de Santiago, you can freeze it either in individually sliced pieces or as the entire cake.

To do this, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in an airtight container or freezer bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

When you’re ready to enjoy it, let it thaw at room temperature for several hours before serving.

Also, do not cover it with powdered sugar if you plan to freeze the cake. Sprinkle the sugar after you bring it to room temperature.

Slice of Tarta de Santiago on white plate with fork0

Note on baking at high altitudes:

I got a message from someone who lives at a high altitude, and the recipe did not work for her. If you find yourself in this situation, remember that baking at high altitude is a complex matter that requires a little bit of science and practice.

My recipes are not tested for high altitude, as I have no way of doing that, so I cannot give you specific information on what you need to do.

However, I can give you some websites where you can learn how to bake when you live at a high altitude.

Colorado State University- High altitude food preparation

New Mexico State University- High-altitude cooking

King Arthur- High-Altitude Baking

Betty Crocker- Baking and Cooking at High Altitudes

Tarta De Santiago- slice on white plate with fork

More Spanish recipes to love:

Carne Con Tomate (Meat in Tomato Sauce)

Spanish Cod In Tomato Sauce

Fennel and Orange Salad

Hot Chocolate Spanish Style recipe

Polvorones De Limon- Spanish Traditional Christmas Cookies

Cheesy Chorizo and Tomato Baked Pasta

Traditional Roasted Red Pepper Spanish Salad

Spanish Migas Con Chorizo

Spanish Potato Salad (Ensaladilla Rusa)

Spanish Orange-Almond Flan Recipe

Tarta de Santiago square photo size0

Tarta De Santiago (Spanish Almond Cake)

A delicious Spanish dessert made with almond flour. Gluten-free. In Spain, this Tarta de Santiago is served around the holidays or during the Semana Santa before Easter Sunday.
4.63 from 81 votes
Print Pin Share Grow Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: almond cake, flourless almond cake, gluten free cake, Spanish almond cake, tarta de santiago
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 383kcal


  • 2 ⅔ cups blanched almond flour
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 5 eggs large
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter for the pan
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting the cake


  • Preheat oven to 350F and butter a 9-inch round-tart pan with removable bottom
  • In a big bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is foamy.
  • Add the almond flour, cinnamon and lemon zest and fold them in gently to make sure you don't remove the air from the mixture.
  • Place the mixture in the pan and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, place it on a cooling rack, and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before you remove it from the pan. Dust it with powdered sugar.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 164IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Please leave a comment on the blog or like us on Facebook!

Check out this web story for Tarta de Santiago, How to make Tarta de Santiago

Note: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”
Recipe Rating

Linda Hernandez

Friday 20th of January 2023

Hi I wrote to you once before about the beautiful forks you used in your pix .. your recipe is really the best I think .. my regular gas oven does not work 😕but I have a convection oven .. would that work just as well ? Sounds like as dumb question but I’m kind of desperate as I planned to make this cake this weekend for guests . Hope you can reply as soon as possible. Thank you!

The Bossy Kitchen

Friday 20th of January 2023

Hi Linda,

It is nice to hear from you again. You can bake the cake in the convection oven but make sure to set the temperature at 325F instead of 350F.Also, check the cake after 25 minutes. The recipe requires 30-35 minutes in a regular oven but convection ones might bake the cake faster. Let me know how it went and thank you for writing. :-)

Christina Wright

Saturday 8th of October 2022

Thank you for the recipe! Can you bake this in a 9inch spring form pan? Thank you!

The Bossy Kitchen

Saturday 8th of October 2022

Hi Christina, yes, you can.

Linda Hernandez

Friday 5th of August 2022

Tried your recipe and it turned out delicious ! I was in Spain many years back and never had this wonderful dessert. Back then I was only 19 years old and too much in love so desserts didn't interest me .. I love Spanish food ..traditional food ..and love their traditional desserts . Question- in one photo you show a beautiful fork with a filigree design at the base by the teeth of the fork. Can you tell me where it is from ? Thanks for this delicious tarta!

The Bossy Kitchen

Saturday 6th of August 2022

Hi, thank you for your comment. There are two forks in the post. One has a brown handle and is part of a set I got at Marshalls a few years ago. The other one, I don't remember. It is part of my growing collection of silverware and dishes I use for taking pictures. My favorite places are garage sales, antique stores, Home goods, or Marshalls if you are in the US. You could also look on A simple search for "dessert forks" will give you awesome items you can choose from.


Thursday 23rd of June 2022

I made this cake for a tapas party. I didn’t pretest the recipe, which I usually do, and it was a smashing success. It was especially easy to make and delicious

The Bossy Kitchen

Friday 24th of June 2022

Awesome! Thank you for taking the time to write a review!It is indeed an easy, delicious recipe!


Monday 14th of February 2022

Absolutely delicious! I sprinkled sliced almonds all over top before baking and it came out so pretty!