Italian Recipes

Traditional torta tenerina (the perfect tenerina cake)

A traditional torta tenerina (tenerina cake) is something that you will never forget, if you are among “the few” chocolate lovers

Torta tenerina is a delicious dessert originally from the city of Ferrara, yet another beautiful city in my region, Emilia-Romagna.

It’s a thin cake, since we use no yeast in it. The flavor is incredibly rich and chocolatey. The consistency has to be moist on the inside, while the surface will be crunchy and with a thin, marvelous crust.

Why does torta tenerina get this name? The name, “tenerina”, actually reminds us of the tender (tenero) heart hidden below its crust.

Being thin and moist, you need to pay attention when you remove it from the pan. That’s why I strongly recommend to use a springform pan. If you don’t have any at home, you can take advantage of this link and help my project to spread authentic Italian food culture Thanks!

A tip for the glutton: prepare a whipped cream side, or even better a mascarpone cream… well, maybe you will feel guilty after that, but we only live once, don’t we?

I know you are salivating and eager to try it, so… no further delay, let’s jump to my detailed step-by-step guide to your first traditional tenerina cake!


Traditional torta tenerina (tenerina cake)

Torta tenerina is a chocolate jewel typical of the city of Ferrara, rich in chocolate, butter and eggs. The contrast between the crumbly crust and the moist interior is something that will feed your soul.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Emiliana, Ferrarese, Italian
Keyword chocolate, Crumbly crust, delicious, Moist, Rich
Prep Time 30 minutes minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes minutes
Total Time 55 minutes minutes
Servings 12 people
Calories 350kcal
Author Roberto
Cost 1 $


1 knife
2 pots for the water bath
2 bowls
1 mixer
1 spatula
1 springform pan 24 to 26 cm (9-10 inches)


200 gr bitter chocolate100 gr butter150 gr sugar4 eggs50 gr general purpose flourq.s. icing sugar (powdered sugar)


This recipe starts with the undisputed main character of the story: the bitter chocolate! Here the one we use in Emilia Romagna (well, the name says it all). But a good bitter chocolate will work just fine! But, before you remember this at the end of the recipe, when it’s too late… turn on the oven, static mode, 180 °C
Start finely chopping the bar, so that it will melt easier. Put the chocolate into a pot and make it melt in a water bath (in Italian we say “bagnomaria”).
As soon as the chocolate has melted (but before it’s hot) add the butter and let it melt, always gently mixing. Switch the heat off now, and let the mix cool down.
While the chocolate mixture gets colder, separate egg whites from yolks, into the bowls. Whisk the egg whites with half sugar until it gets thick and firm.
In the other bowl, whisk the yolks with the remaining half sugar, until it gets fluffy.
Keep on whisking, and slowly add the chocolate mixture into the yolks bowl. Add and whisk until you obtain a smooth paste.
Now the most important step: adding the whisked egg whites to the paste. Do this in 3-4 steps, and do it gently, using a spatula to mix, with a gentle bottom-up movement. This is important!
You are almost there Now slowly add the flour while you keep on gently mixing with the same bottom-up movement, until all the flour is incorporated.
Grease the springform pan with some butter and spray it with flour, so that the cake won’t stick to it. Pour the mixture into the pan and put it into the static oven, that should have reached the proper temperature (180 °C).
After 25 minutes your tenerina cake is ready and can be removed from the oven. Let it rest and get cool, remove it from the springform pan…..
… and spray its incredible, crusty surface with icing sugar. Enjoy!


Easy checklist to understand if your tenerina is perfect:

crust should be crumbly, as soon as you touch it it breaks into pieces
the inside remains moist, that’s why its name (“tenero” means “tender”)

Tip for tasting it: with whipped cream aside or, even better, a mascarpone sauce… the pleasure will skyrocket!

If you have liked this recipe, let me share some of the desserts I am famous for among my friends

well, first of all my tiramisù, a family recipe getting better and better for 40 yours and counting

a delicatessen from Southern Italy, perfect for Father’s day celebration: St Joseph’s zeppole

and last but not least, a cake I die for and perfect for people like me, with no sweet tooth: my buckwheat cake! Also perfect for no-gluten diets.


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Buon appetito!


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