Desserts and sweets

Santiago’s cake

Santiago's cake


  • Easy
  • 60 minutes
  • For 8 people
  • 1.1 € / person
  • 280kcal per 100g.

How to prepare a Santiago cake .

One of the dessert recipes you can not miss in any recipe that price, the  almond cake or pie or Compostelana Santiago .

Galicia is the epicenter of desserts with almonds although we are not in almond land. Already since the Middle Ages there are references to desserts with this fruit.

Formerly the almond was a luxury reserved for a few, but those who could afford it made desserts with it.

The first tart of Santiago appears documented in 1577 during a visit of D. Pedro de Porto to Compostela.

The first recipe is from Luis Bartolomé de Leybar in the book Cuaderno de Confitería ( 1835 epigraph of “Tarta de Almendra” )

Álvaro Cunqueiro already told us : “Surprising, today that there are hardly any almond trees in Galicia, the great expense that Galicia has traditionally made of almonds. All the Galician cakes, the Compostela, the Mondoñedo, have almonds. In southern Galicia, in Ribadavia, in Allariz, excellent almonds continue to be made. Some villas, such as in Villalba, for the patron saint’s festivities, make excellent almond biscuits, which come out hard from the crust but soft, sometimes almost custard inside. Vivero and Ortigueira are famous for their colinetas, a kind of cake tart with almonds… endless desserts ”

Its main ingredients are almonds, sugar and eggs, all of them in equal parts. It is not a cheap or light cake, but if you like almonds, this is your cake, frankly delicious.

I leave you with “La Compostelana”, one of the richest and most typical Galician sweets. I hope you like it and you dare to put a little piece of Galicia in your kitchen.

Preparation of the base of the Santiago cake

  1. The cake is very simple and above all fast to prepare, in 10 minutes you have everything assembled and the oven works only. So I would say it is a cake that a child can make.
  2. The important thing is the quality of the ingredients with which we are going to work. The almond that I have used is marcona type but you can choose the one that you like the most.
  3. Here you have 2 options, buy an already ground almond directly or do the whole process ourselves. If you buy the flour that has already been processed, we do not need to toast it, that is, you save steps 1,2 and 6 of the next block of the recipe.

Grind and toast the skinless almond. Our almond flour

  1. Let’s grind the skinless almond in a mincer. It is best if it is in two batches to obtain two different weights.
  2. One very ground, almost flour, and the other a little thicker so that it shows when eating. We put the ground almond in the oven at about 120º C for about 10 minutes.
  3. In this way we get the almond to release its oils and aromas. At the same time, part of the moisture that the raw almond usually has disappears. You can also do it in a pan by toasting the almond at low temperature.
  4. While the almond is roasting, add the sugar and the eggs in a bowl. We beat everything well until they blanch a little. We reserve.
  5. We wash the lemon, dry and grate half of it.
  6. Add the zest, half a shot (25 ml) of the liquor that you like. I have added my father’s herbal liqueur. Also half a spoon of ground cinnamon to the egg mixture.
  7. Let the toasted almond cool and when it is warm add the flavored egg cream.
  8. Mix well with a spatula, without beating. Just stir the ingredients so that the almond pairs well with the egg cream.

Baking of the Santiago cake and final presentation

  1. We preheat the oven to 180º C (above, below and air).
  2. We spread the removable mold of 28 cm. with the butter and pour the mixture into it.
  3. We introduce the cake in the oven at 180º C in the middle tray for 35 minutes until the surface is well browned.
  4. The last 10 minutes with a piece of aluminum foil so that it does not burn us. As I have mentioned in many other recipes, each oven is a world.
  5. In some the cake will be in 40 minutes and in others it will need less. Try a fork every now and then to see if the cake is done, the fork should always come out clean.
  6. When the cake is well baked take it out and let it cool down. About ten minutes later we unmold.
  7. We put a template cut out of a Santiago cross or a pilgrim scallop. Garnish with icing sugar. To make it flawless, it is best to sift the icing sugar with a strainer.
  8. We move it with small wrist pulses on the surface of the cake. It only remains that you carefully remove the template from the cross. You already have one of the most famous desserts in Galicia.

And as I always tell you, stop putting a slice of Galicia in your kitchen. To eat and above all share!

Be sure to enjoy all the yummy sweets in our dessert recipes . 

Also I share a detail from my childhood, a photo of the recipe by hand and a small drawing that I gave my mother when I was a child.

I have recently photographed all the recipes from your lifetime recipe book. You can see all the photos of the step by step in the next album.   

Tips for a yummy Santiago tart

  • The authentic Santiago tart is made with almond flour in different weights and mixed with egg and sugar.
  • Since relatively recently it has been sprinkled with icing sugar on a template from the Cruz de Santiago. You will also find it with the shell of the Pilgrim (1924, Compostela pastry “ Casa Mercedes Mora ”).
  • The one that I present today is with a touch of cinnamon, lemon zest and herbal brandy (an ingredient added by my mother). I added that Galician touch of herb marc. The secret “made in” my mother and Álvaro Cunqueiro’s book.
  • For this recipe I have used a 28 cm removable ceramic mold. The best in cake molds. Especially since when carrying the built-in ceramic plate you just have to unmold and ready.
  • Although you can also find special molds to prepare this cake. With them it will be a little finer than mine and the almond will be more crunchy.
  • If you do not have this mold diameter (the usual thing at home is 22 or 23 cm.), Do not worry, it will also work out for you, but a little thicker.

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