Gluten Free Caprese Cake

As the name itself implies, the Caprese cake is originally from the island of Capri. It is a dessert that, like the Pastiera, the Babà and the Sfogliatelle, is a real symbol of the Campania region. Unlike some other desserts, its origins are not so ancient. In fact, it seems that the caprese cake was invented in 1920 by chef Carmine Di Fiore, who mistakenly baked an almond and chocolate cake without adding the flour. And a delicious classic was born.

A delightful dessert that is best served simply with a dusting of powdered sugar, or a simple dollop of whipped cream,  it’s a simple dessert with a priceless flavor and soft texture. Naturally gluten-free, this cake has the added advantage of being quick and easy to make.

To make the caprese cake, start breaking up the chocolate and melting it in a double-boiler or in the microwave. Be extra careful if you melt it in the microwave as it can go from perfectly melted to burnt in a matter of seconds. Let the chocolate cool. Add the butter, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl, work it for a few minutes to obtain a well-whipped mixture. Alternatively you can do this step by using a wooden spoon, though it will require a bit more elbow grease.

With the mixer on low, add the room temperature eggs to the butter mixture, followed by the melted chocolate and almond flour. Before combining any of the ingredient, make sure that the previous one has been well blended. Continue mixing the batter until the mixture is smooth. Grease and flour a springform pan of about 8 – 10 inches in diameter and pour the mixture inside, leveling it well with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

Bake it in a preheated oven at 340 ° and cook for 30 – 35 minutes. When cooked, take the cake out of the oven, let it rest completely cook before removing it from the pan. Decorate the caprese cake with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar before serving.

An alternative to almond flour is using almonds that have been crushed in the food processor to a fine powder. Both options work well, but almond flour skips the steps and is just a little bit easier to prepare. This cake does not have any leavening agents (no baking powder), so it is not a very high cake, particularly is you use a 10-inch pan. Rest assured, it will not rise very much, but you did nothing wrong and cake is supposed to be that way. 

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Caprese Cake
Yields 1 8-inch cake

Ingredients
5 oz 70% dark chocolate
8 ½ tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
½  granulated sugar
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 ¾ cup almond flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Optional: powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 340 degrees. Grease and butter an 8 inch (you can also use a 10 inch, but cake will be flatter) spring form pan and set it aside. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Set aside to cool off.
  2. With the mixer on medium, beat the butter and sugar until well blended.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
  4. With the mixer still on low, add the melted chocolate and mix well.
  5. Add the almond flour and mix well until fully incorporated and you don’t see any traces of white batter.
  6. Add batter to prepared spring form pan and bake for 35 – 40 minutes. Because every oven is different, start looking at the cake at the 30 minute mark. Insert a clean toothpick and if the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

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What to Pack for Italy

Cosa Mettere in Valigia per l'Italia

Everyone is always asking me what they should pack for Italy,
so I’ve created a quick reference guide that you can use for your next trip.

Hint: You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do!

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