La tarta de Santiago

Galicia is well known for its gastronomy. Pescado (fish) and marisco (seafood) are one of its main culinary attractions. You can read a bit about it and learn how to prepare pulpo á feira in this previous post.

But there’s more than fish and seafood. If there is one traditional dish that also symbolises the Camino, that’s the tarta de Santiago. In case you haven’t heard about it, tarta de Santiago is an almond cake, typically decorated with the shape of a Santiago cross.

The origin of this cake is unknown, but the first written reference to an almond cake dates back to 1577. Back then it was referred to as torta real or royal cake. The first recipes date back to 1838. It was then called tarta de almendra (almond cake).

The decoration in the shape of a cruz (cross) was introduced in 1924 by Casa Mora, a pastelería (cake shop) in Santiago de Compostela. In fact, this pastelería is still in business, although it’s now called Pastelería Mercedes Mora and it’s located at rúa do Vilar, 50.

You can find it on many shops and pastelerías along the Camino, but if you want to try it at home, it’s very simple to make.


So, let’s get baking!


The traditional recipe is made up of just tres ingredientes (ingredients) in equal parts: almendra (almond), azúcar (sugar) and huevos (eggs), so it’s sin gluten. You can add a bit of limón (lemon) or canela (cinnamon) flavouring if you prefer.


  • You will need 3 huevos, 200 g de azúcar and 200g de almendra (you can get whole almonds and grind them or buy almond flour; they are both fine).


  • You mix all 3 ingredientes. You can add lemon zest or cinnamon if you are using any flavourings. The resulting mixture will be quite thick.


  • Pour the mixture into a round cake tin and bake in a preheated horno (oven) for about 30 minutes at 180ºC. It needs to be cooked inside and slightly golden outside.


  • Finally, you can decorate it! There are hundreds of cross templates online. I used this: I printed it, cut it out, placed it on top of my cake and sprinkled with powdered/icing sugar. I was in a bit of a hurry to finish, so my decoration didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked. But the cake was still delicious!


  • If you want to reuse your template (and prevent messing the presentation up like I did), my suggestion is to copy your cruz on a harder material than paper.














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¡Buen Camino!

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