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. However, we must wait until 1838 to find the first recipes of 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 its name has changed a bit: it’s now Pastelería Mercedes Mora and you can find it 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 bake a tarta de Santiago


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.


  • First, take 3 huevos, 200 g de azúcar and 200g de almendra (get whole almonds and grind them yourself or buy almond flour; both options are fine).


  • Then, mix all 3 ingredientes. This cake doesn’t have any raising agent, so it’s a good idea to beat the eggs and sugar together first, before adding the almond. But your cake will still be yummy if you don’t. You can add lemon zest or cinnamon if 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.   


tarta de santiago ingredients
tarta de santiago mix
tarta de santiago


  • And finally, decorate it! There are hundreds of cross templates online. I used this: https://www.hogarmania.com/archivos/201407/plantilla-cruz-tarta-santiago.pdf. Just print it, cut it out, place it on top of my cake and sprinkle 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.


Today’s Spanish words


Make sure you don’t miss any posts and other news by subscribing for free here. That way, when a new post is out, you will get it in your inbox. And… you get access to exclusive content too.


¡Buen Camino!