Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tarta de Santiago (St. James' Cake)

This delicious almond cake is named in honor of St. James the Greater, the patron saint of Spain. It originated in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, the reputed burial place of St. James. Today, this cake is sold all over Santiago de Compostela and is quite popular with both tourists and pilgrims.

Tarta de Santiago
  • 2 2/3 cups ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 8 Tbsp butter (1 cube) at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • zest of 1 Lemon
  • powdered sugar to decorate


Heat the oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a round 8-inch spring form pan.

Blanch the almonds, then using a grinder or a food processor, grind the almonds until fine and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together. Add the butter, flour, baking powder and water and beat with an electric hand mixer.

Stir the almonds into the batter. Grate the lemon and add the zest and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Pour batter into cake pan. Bake in oven on the middle rack at 350 F degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes. Check after 45 minutes. Cake is done if a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

The traditional way to decorate is to sprinkle powdered sugar on the top, with a cutout of a cross or a shell, to symbolize St. James, on top.

To make a cross, you can print out this picture of the cruz santiago that I am going to use, or you could use any clean piece of paper folded in fourths to cut out a cross. Then, after the cake has cooled, place the cross in the center of the cake and dust the top with powdered sugar.

Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 45 minutes; Yields: 8 servings

Saint James the Greater ~ Pray for us!
Pin It


  1. Great sounding recipe and fairly easy. St James is my patron so I might try this tonight and feed it to my non Catholic relatives

  2. Jessica, I'm glad you posted this! I was going to repost my entry on the same cake. It's delicious! See Food Ideas. I also made some patterns to use for the cake, Cross of St. James and Pilgrim's Cockle Shell.

  3. When I walked from Amsterdam to Santiago my fellow pilgrims and I celebrated our arrival with this cake! I almost forgot. Thank you.