Italian Chocolate Cake Recipe (Torta Nera Emiliana)

Filling pastry case with chocolate cake mix

A torta nera emiliana is a traditional Italian chocolate cake from the Emilia Romagna region, consisting of a chocolate cake within a shortcrust pastry shell. It’s an everyday sort of cake, not prepared for any particular special occasion but it seems to be inherently linked with nostalgia – bringing back memories of Sundays spent with family at a grandparents’ house or holidays spent with loved ones.

If you’re looking for dessert ideas that are slightly out of the ordinary, this Italian chocolate cake is sure to please! The combination of cocoa, toasted almonds and coffee make for a slightly bitter, but definitely decadent, chocolate cake. The cake is then surrounded by a crumbly, buttery shortcrust that melts in your mouth for the ultimate combination of creamy, chocolatey goodness.

If you love learning how to cook delicious Italian meals, make sure to check out our online cooking classes!

Set up for an online cooking lesson with tablet and ingredients

  • Serves: 8
  • Preparation Time: 30 mins
  • Cooking Time: 45 mins


  • 150g sugar
  • 100g almonds
  • 70g butter
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 10g instant coffee powder
  • For the pastry:
  • 125g 00 flour
  • 50g sugar
  • 70g melted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Place almonds in an oven-proof tray and place in the oven at 180°C for 10 minutes, until toasted

  2. Make the pastry by placing the flour, sugar, egg yolks, a pinch of salt and melted butter in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Using a knife, mix the ingredients together until just combined then tip onto a board. Fold the ingredients together with the knife until combined and a dough is formed. Place in a bowl and put in the fridge for 10 minutes.

  4. Remove almonds from the oven and place in a blender. Pulse until it reaches a flour-like consistency.

  5. Place 3 egg yolks in a mixing bowl and add 100g sugar. Whisk together until creamy.

  6. Add the cocoa, coffee powder, flour and butter to the yolk mixture. Mix until combined.

  7. Add the almonds to the mixture and mix to combine. Put to the side.

  8. Place 3 egg whites in a mixing bowl and add the remaining 50g of sugar. Whisk until creamy.

  9. Add the chocolate mixture into the egg whites, and whisk until smooth.

  10. Take your pastry and roll out to about 3mm thickness. Cut into a circle and place into the bottom of a cake tin.

  11. Pour the chocolate mixture into the cake tin, on top of the pastry. Keep the chocolate in the centre, with the pastry coming up the sides of the cake.

  12. Place in the oven, preheated to 175°C, for 25-30 minutes. Once cooked, remove from the tin and place on a serving dish. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Follow along with chef Pierluigi to learn how to make this luxurious Italian chocolate cake!We’d love to see photos of the Emiliana cake you create so make sure to tag your photos with #FlavoursHolidays when you post them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
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3 comments on “Italian Chocolate Cake Recipe (Torta Nera Emiliana)

  1. I have just printed the Torta Nera Emiliana. I am sure it will be very tasty as it is from my favourite Flavours chef.

  2. Hello, looks amazing!
    Want to try, have 2 questions.
    Do you grease and flour pan before you put batter in the pan?
    What size cake pan do you use?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Melissa,
      We would recommend greasing the pan using some butter to make sure your pastry doesn’t stick! Probably best suited to an 8 inch cake tin.

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Food, Recipes, Lifestyle and Travel blog – by the Flavours Holidays team.