barozzi cake
4.7 from 9 votes

Bologna, where I live is best know for its egg pasta and its many salt cured pork specialities, but when Paul asked me to kick off his new recipe posts with something local I thought I’d do something that most people will be able to make at home – not everyone has a pasta machine but everyone has an oven, and the ingredients for this ultra-delicious chocolate and almond cake are easy to find. And yes, it’s gluten free!

This verrrrrry rich low rise cake – don’t even think about the calorie count, OK? – is called Torta Barozzi or Barozzi Cake.

It was invented in 1907 by Eugenio Gollini, and dedicated to the architect Jacopo Barozzi (1507-1573), who is known as “Il Vignola”.

The recipe remained secret for many years, but the original is still served and sold at the Pasticceria Gollini under the  Portico of Via Garibaldi in Vignola, near Modena, in the traditional rectangular packaging.

dark italian chocolate

Yes, all this chocolate goes in!

Modena lies 39 kilometres west of Bologna and in the town of Ferrara, 44 kilometres to Bologna’s north, they make a very similar but not identical sweet which is called “La Tenerina” or “the little tender one”.

The two cakes look very similar but taste a little different as the Tenerina has a little flour in it and no almonds. The Ferrara cake is better known and more popular in Bologna, perhaps because of an old rivalry between Modena and Bologna over who exactly first invented Tortellini!

I prefer the Torta Barozzi so that is the recipe I am sharing with you today. Make it – you can, it’s pretty straightforward!

I whisked everything by hand because my best baker friend says that’s best but you can use an electric hand whisk as we always do on my cooking classes!

served Torta Barozzi with strawberries
ingredients for Torta Barozzi
A Sweet Taste Of Italy – Torta Barozzi

A Sweet Taste Of Italy – Torta Barozzi

Recipe by Carmelita Caruana
4.7 from 9 votes

Torta Barozzi or Barozzi Cake. It was invented in 1907 by Eugenio Gollini, and dedicated to the architect Jacopo Barozzi (1507-1573)

Course: DessertCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 100 g Almonds

  • 80 g Butter

  • 70 g 70% cocoa dark chocolate

  • 4 eggs

  • 150 g sugar


  • Preheat oven to 180  degrees C. Line a rectangular or 22 cm round container with butter and flour or with dampened and wrung out parchment paper.
  • Toast the almonds very very slowly on top of the stove in a dry pan, or in the oven – they aren’t ready until they are toasted and dry all the way through to the middle and giving off a wonderful almond aroma.
  • Leave to cool, grind the almonds with 50g of the sugar in a coffee mill or mini food processor), to a fairly fine powder – this is your “almond flour”.
  • Melt the chocolate in a pan placed over a second pan of hot water (bagno maria – water bath) without letting it cook or fry. Let it cool to lukewarm.barozzi melting chocolate
  • Separate the eggs and reserve the whites. Whisk the yolks with the rest of the sugar till the sugar has dissolved and the mix is pale and creamy. By hand is best but an electric whisk will do!
  • Add the toasted almond “flour” first, then incorporate the melted butter, and then the melted chocolate. If using the optional ingredients, add the instant coffee last together with the Rum.egg sugar and butter mix for barozzi cake
  • Whisk the eggs to stiff peaks then gently and patiently fold together the thick chocolate mixture and the whisked egg whites. The final cake batter should be thick but pourable, not loose and liquid at all.
  • Pour the cake batter into the baking container – it should be no higher than the width of two fingers.
  • Bake at 180° for 30 minutes and test for doneness with a toothpick. Lightly flecked is good and the Torta Barozzi should have a pale and dry thin crust resting lightly on a dark moist and tender, even slightly gooey centre.
  • Turn out from the tin and leave to cool. Wrap in foil if not using at once, and serve cut into little squares or diamonds – this cake is rich, a little goes a long way!barozzi ready to eat
  • I like to sprinkle the finished squares with icing sugar and to decorate with red berries – raspberries, strawberries, woodland strawberries. When they are out of season I use Bologna sour cherries in syrup instead.


  • Optional (I have given up using these, I really can’t see what they add to the final result!): 2 tbsp. Rum, 3 teaspoons of instant coffee powder
icing sugar and red berries Torta Barozzi
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  1. Hi, I will try your version of this cake, it actually reminds me of a gluten free choc cake I make.
    I’ve never liked the Torta Barozzi because of its distinctive coffee flavor – the original Barozzi hardly has any sugar and the coffee flavor comes through quite a bit – almost bitter.

    thanks for coming up with a better chocolate cake

  2. anna pasicznyk says:

    why is it twice i tried to make this recipe and both time the insides too wet any reason why

    1. Carmelita Caruana says:

      Torta Barozzi is meant to be dry and flaky on top and beautifully moist – but not wet – inside – just as you see in the photos above. If you try baking it a little longer that should dry the centre a little more. Or maybe you are baking it in a dish that is too deep, which would also mean the centre did not cook as well as it should.

      We have made this many dozens of times on cooking classes and it always comes out just right, but then I know exactly which of my pans is best to bake it in and I also know my oven very well. Ovens are not all the same and often the inside temperature is not quite the one you would like!

      I hope experimenting with containers, checking your oven temperature and baking the cake a little longer help you to achieve that lovely gooey centre on your third attempt!


  3. PurpleTravelKate says:

    I’ve just drooled all over my keyboard. What a great post… I’m actually glad i probably don’t have the cookery skills for this, or I might in fact make it everyday!!

  4. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen says:

    Wonderful chocolate cake! I like the addition of rum.

  5. The Redhead Riter says:

    Yum! Chocolate! Beautiful photographs too.

  6. What a great recipe for us chocolate lovers! I will try it with the rum and coffee, but I agree it is probably better without it. I am heading to Italy later this year and will to tace a class.

  7. Diana Adams says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. This looks incredible!!!! 🙂 I’ve got to pin it. LOL

  8. Susan Jeffries says:

    I first met Carmelita for a 2-day class at her home at least 10 years ago. We have become such good friends. We were fortunate enough to be her last home stay in the U.S. some years back, and were able to host one class and tour her around a bit of California, with my cousin hosting a second class.
    Each time we return we do our best to see Carmelita. Lucky me, she likes my cooking abilities enough to let me help out in one of her classes. I always learn something, if not some technique, it could be the location of the best chocolate, or a food I haven’t tried.

    Carmelita is a woman if so many talents and depth. I love her like a sister.

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