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Italian Flourless Chocolate Torta

8 to 10 Servings

1 hour 30 minutes active, plus cooling

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Pasticceria Gollini in Vignola, Italy, not far from Modena, is home to the sumptuous flourless chocolate cake known as torta Barozzi. Created in 1886 by pastry chef Eugenio Gollini and named for Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, a 16th-century architect, the much-loved sweet continues today to be produced according to a closely guarded secret recipe. Impostor recipes abound, as professional and home bakers alike have attempted to re-create the dessert, and we ourselves set out to devise a formula. It’s well known that torta Barozzi is made without wheat flour (and is therefore gluten free). Instead, a combination of ground peanuts and almonds—along with whipped egg whites—deliver a structure that’s somehow rich and dense yet remarkably light. We found that we could skip the peanuts, as almond flour alone worked well. To achieve a complex chocolatiness, we use both cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate (ideally, chocolate with about 70 percent cocoa solids). Instant espresso powder accentuates the deep, roasty, bitter notes and a dose of dark rum lifts the flavors with its fieriness. Serve with lightly sweetened mascarpone or whipped cream, or with vanilla gelato.

8 to 10



Don’t use natural cocoa. The recipe will still work, but the cake will be lighter in color and not quite as deep in flavor as when made with Dutch-processed cocoa. Take care not to overbake the cake. Remove it from the oven when a toothpick inserted at the center comes out with a few sticky crumbs clinging to it. After 30 to 45 minutes of cooling, the cake is inverted out of the pan; don’t worry about re-inverting it. True torta Barozzi is left upside-down for cutting and serving; we do the same with ours.

1 hour

30 minutes active, plus cooling


  • 141

    grams (10 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 10 pieces, plus more for the pan

  • 6

    ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped


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Meredith H.
February 19, 2024
Delicious & easy
This was so good, never sure baking at altitude (1,655 m/5,430 ft) but the torte was light and such a rich chocolate flavor enhanced with rum. Definitely will make again.
June H.
February 14, 2024
Complex chocolate, so delicious!
I like the chocolate flavors without so much sweet. Fabulous with vanilla ice cream or coffee ice cream!
Pat T.
February 11, 2024
Dark rum
Can the dark rum be deleted from the recipe? I know it evaporates but our son is 6 years sober.
Scott P.
June 29, 2023
This was really good---decadent but not heavy.
Daniele F.
January 29, 2023
My daughter and I really enjoyed these. Per comments from other people, I did not dust with cocoa, opting for confectioners sugar instead. It was a great touch for the deep chocolate of the torte.
April C.

The magazine says “we needed to add baking powder” but neither the print version or this one mentions it??

Lynn C.

Hi April -

Unfortunately there was an error in the print version of the story, where we erroneously mentioned adding baking powder to the recipe. Both the recipe in print and online are correct - there is no baking powder in the recipe - and the web version of the story has been updated to remove that reference. We are so sorry for the confusion!

The Milk Street Team

Diana L.

I made this yesterday. My family rated as 4 out of 5. It was pretty good. Thanks for the recipe.

Nicola B.

Looking forward to trying this for next gathering. I'd probably use a sugar alternative. I think it would be neat to dip the small cake squares into a chocolate that hardens.

James V.

Can you use homemade almond flour? Or is that too coarse?

April D.

James - I would recommend sticking to pre-ground almond flour, as the irregular texture of homemade almond flour is not guaranteed to deliver the remarkably light texture of this dish. However, if homemade is your only option, be sure to sift it through a fine-mesh strainer to separate out any larger granules.
- The Milk Street Team

Marian L.

Loved the Italian chocolate cake. Did not like dusting it. Have made it 3 times,

Ralph B.

We wanted to like this but found it somewhere between a brownie and chocolate cake but not as good as either. We felt guilty throwing it away but decided it wasn't worth the calories. We agree with the previous comment that the cocoa dusting is not good.

Patricia B.

Can you make this the day before? If so, what is the best way to store it?

Lynn C.

Hi Patricia -

You should be able to make this the day before. If it's only 1 day before you can store it at room temperature covered loosely with plastic wrap. Don't dust with cocoa until right before serving.

The Milk Street Team

Merritt J.

I made it and it was wonderful! loved all the flavors and the texture. The edge had a bit of caramel taste. It will be the chocolate entry in my Easter Parade this year!