Italian Walnut Cake: gluten-free, torta di noci

Italian Walnut Cake: gluten-free, torta di noci
Italian Walnut Cake, torta di noci

This is a traditional Calabrian Italian walnut cake recipe; called torta di noci. This is a gluten-free flourless cake made with only 3 ingredients. Walnuts, sugar and eggs and a little optional lemon or orange zest if you'd like. This is an easy cake to prepare and is best made the day before serving. A perfect cake for a special occasion for gluten-free guests. It is surprisingly light and we love the nutty flavour of walnuts with a hint of orange. Then served with berries and ice cream. Also great with coffee for breakfast, Italian style.

Takes = 15 minutes
Bakes = 50 minutes
Make = 8-10 serves (20cm round springform cake tin)


  • Toasted walnuts, ground – 300g (about 3 & 1/2 cups)
  • White sugar, or caster – 200g (2/3 cup)
  • Eggs, large – 3 (separated)
  • Lemon or orange zest  – 1 tablespoon
  • Powdered/icing sugar to serve
  • Berries to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C fan and lightly toast the walnuts for 10 minutes on a baking tray. Cool the walnuts for about 20 minutes.
  2. Grind the walnuts into a course meal in a food processor or similar.
  3. Prepare a 20cm cake tin grease and paper lined on the base.
  4. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy.
  5. Add in the zest and walnut meal and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to combine.
  6. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form a stiff peak.
  7. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture until well combined.
  8. Pour into your prepared cake tin. Place the tin on a tray and bake in the lower third of your oven for about 40-50 minutes.
  9. Let the cake completely cool in the cake tin before removing it. After ten minutes I loosed the sides of the cake with a plastic knife or spatula so I can ensure it will come out. Once cool. Wrap and cover. Then serve the next day.
  10. Dust with a sprinkling of icing/powdered sugar and serve with berries, and cream or ice cream. As the Italians do this cake is perfect for breakfast the next day!