Tarta de Santiago or Spanish Almond Cake is a traditional Spanish Recipe. This well known sweet around the Way of St. James  (Camino de Santiago) is a nutty, moist and gluten-free recipe, with and authentic almond-flavored recipe.

Un pastel con azúcar en polvo en un plato.

The importance of baking with good quality almonds

Spanish Almond Cake is  baked with marcona almonds, which we grind at home just before preparing the cake, with two textures, which will give flavor and consistency to this traditional Galician cake. 

Un plato de huevos, nueces y una botella de bourbon.

Tarta de Santiago is the most famous sweet along the last pilgrim’s ways around the Way of St James, and especially in Santiago de Compostela city, the end of the peregrination, in Galicia, norhwestern Spain. 

 Spanish Almond Cake is protected by an European IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) and its origins date back to 1577, although at that time it was called “torta real“. 

Later, in 1924, it is said that the Casa Mora bakery in Santiago de Compostela decorated its almond cake with the famous Santiago Cross and sugar, de Tarta de Santiago decoration that’s still with us today.

Un pastel con una cruz encima.

Does this almond cake contain gluten?

No, this is a gluten-free recipe for the Spanish Almond Cake.

In some bakeries they bake less traditional recipes, filling inside a tartalete or pie crust the Almond Cake that sometimes does have gluten, but the original recipe is 100% gluten free. 

Una bandeja para horno con limones, azúcar y un rallador.

You can decorate this almond tart with powdered sugar and if you are looking for a stencil for the Santiago Cross of your recipe I always visit one most famous Spanish Bloggers web, Webos Fritos, who shared years ago the decoration of this tart.

Un pastel con una cruz encima.
Un pastel con una cruz encima.

Raw or roasted almonds to prepare the Tarta de Santiago?

If you find raw almonds (if possible marcona almonds) it will be perfect.

To start we will grind or crush half of the almonds to obtain a fine-grained almond flour. 

Then you grind the other half of the almonds and leave them in bigger (coarsely grained) pieces, similar to the crocanti almonds with which we decorate some sweets.

Both grained styles of the almonds will help us given better texture and better flavor to our cake. 

Toast the almonds for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 180º Celsius (356º Fahrenheit) on the baking sheet (or baking paper). 

Remove from the oven when the almonds are golden brown (not too toasted) and let cool.

Can I make Tarta de Santiago with almond flour?

Of course, the flavor and aroma will not be as incredible as when you toast your own almonds, but if you are in a hurry or cannot find the ingredients, it is a good option too. 

Un cuenco de masa marrón sobre una superficie blanca.

There are many authentic recipes, and I choose a recipe shared on the website of a group of traditional  women cooks called Las Guisanderas, specifically by Mª Teresa Alonso Arribas.

Un plato con un trozo de tarta.

Her recipe for Tarta de Santiago is the moistest I have ever tasted, I dare say thanks to the mixture of good quality freshly ground almonds (sea almonds) and butter. 

Una persona sosteniendo un trozo de pastel frente a una estantería.

How to serve the Tarta de Santiago?

In some Galician restaurants they serve it with a shot of coffee liqueur or brandy.

Another great option for those with a sweet tooth is to serve this cake with a good Galician cream of orujo. 

I served it with not too sweet whipped cream. I love the contrast of the not too sweet cream with the almond. 

Spanish Almond Cake (Tarta de Santiago)

Course Dessert
Cuisine Spanish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Cooling and Decorating 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 Personas
Calories 610kcal
Author Laura Fernández
Cost 15€


  • Round Baking Pan 20-25 cm in diameter
  • Kitchen robot or mincer
  • Oven
  • Bowl


  • 1+1/4 cup Marcona almonds Or Almond Flour
  • 4 unit Eggs L size
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Butter At room temperature
  • 2 tbsp Cognac or Sherry Wine
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • Lemon Zest
  • 1 pinch Salt


  • Preheat the oven to 180º Celsius (256º Fahrenheith). 
  • With a food processor or blender grind half of the almonds in fine grained (almost like almond flour) and set aside. 
  • Grind the other half of the flour in coarse grain, almost like “crocanti almonds” (see pictures).
  • Mix both texture almonds and toast lightly, until soft golden brown in the oven, about 5-7 minutes. This step can be skipped if you buy almond flour or already toasted almonds.
  • Let the toasted almonds cool for 20 minutes.
  • Mix all the ingredients by hand or with a whisk: ground almonds, soft butter, eggs, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, lemon zest and cognac.
  • Prepare with baking paper and/or grease a round shape mold (similar to a pie pan)of about 20-25 cm in diameter. 
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven, until the surface is toasted and the inside is juicy.
  • Let the Spanish Almond Cake cool for at least one hour.
  • Decorate with powdered sugar and St Jame’s Cross and enjoy your moist, gluten-free homemade Tarta de Santiago! 
  • We can serve this Spanish Cake with Whipped cream, coffee liqueur (typical in Galicia), Irish Cream or by itself. 

Is it possible to freeze the Tarta de Santiago?

Yes, this almond tart keeps juicy for a couple of days if you cover it well. 

If you have leftover cake you can wrap it well and freeze it. You should take it out of the freezer at least 3 hours before consuming. 

I do not recommend freezing cakes for more than 2 months, to preserve their perfect flavor.

Other recipes with almond

If you want more recipes with almond as one of their main ingredients, here you are some from this blog:


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  1. I love almonds and tarta Santiago is one of my best desserts. I like baking it sometimes and we usually celebrate the birthday’s granny with this cake. 💕

  2. One of my favorites desserts! I can’t wait to try your recipe of tarta de Santiago! I will be using almond flour.

  3. What a beautiful dessert. I love almond recipes because they always give a delicious flavor and moisture. Reading your post I thought about one of my cousins who has walked the Camino de Santiago three times!

  4. Things to Do and See in Santiago de Compostela - I Go To Spain

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