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Tarta de Santiago
This delicious, moist and fragrant almond cake with its origin in the Middle Ages is named in honour of St James the Greater (or Santiago), the patron saint of Spain and universally regarded as the patron of pilgrims.
It originated in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, the destination of the famous Camino. Pilgrims and tourists who visit the great cathedral of Santiago, where the relics of St James are buried, see the cake in the windows of every pastry shop and restaurant. The traditional way to decorate is to sprinkle
icing sugar on the top, with a cutout of a cross or a shell to symbolise St James.
Preparation: 15 min •
Baking: 45-50 min • Servings: 8
• 2 ⅔ cups ground almonds
• ¾ cup flour
• 1 ¼ cup sugar
• 4 eggs
• 160g soft butter
• ½ tsp baking powder
• Pinch of salt
• 4 drops of almond essence
• ½ cup water
• Zest of 1 lemon
• Icing sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease a round springform pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together.
3. Add the butter, flour, baking powder, salt and water, and beat with an electric beater.
4. Stir the almonds and essence into the batter. Grate the lemon and add the zest, and stir until thoroughly mixed.
5. Pour batter into a cake pan. Bake in the oven on the middle rack for approximately 45-50 minutes. Check after 45 minutes. The cake is done if a cake skewer inserted into the centre of it comes out clean.
6. For the traditional decoration, sprinkle icing sugar on the top to create the shape of a cross or a shell, to symbolise St James.
To make a cross you can find a picture of the Cruz de Santiago or use a clean piece of paper folded in quarters to cut out across. After the cake has cooled, place the cross in the centre of the cake and dust the top with icing sugar. Remove gently and you will have your shape.
7. Enjoy and say a prayer to St James the Greater!
This recipe was published in the February 2021 issue of the Southern Cross
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