Torta Tenerina (or Tacolenta) is a no-yeast cake made with dark chocolate and very little flour. It is typical of the city of Ferrara, just North of Bologna in Emilia Romagna. The name ‘Tenerina’ comes from the Italian word ‘tenera’, i.e. tender, because it has a tender chocolatey heart. It remains thin with a fragrant crust on the outside and inside a sticky consistency that melts in the mouth.

Do not be worried when your cake cracks on top because that means you baked it to perfection! While the exterior has a crisp texture, the inside of the cake is dense and tender like a sort of fudgy brownie.

Serves 6 (fills a Ø22 cm cake mould) , Preparation 15 mins, Cooking 30 mins

  • 200 g dark chocolate range 70%
  • 120 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 40 g Italian flour 00 or plain flour or All Purpose flour: for a gluten-free version use the same dose of rice flour.
  • 3 eggs possibly not cold, room temperature
  • a pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Melt dark chocolate in a bain-marie along with diced butter, stir together and let them melt until you get a creamy and smooth mixture.

Divide the yolks from the egg whites:
Whip the yolks with sugar and beat them well until frothy.

Add chocolate and butter mixture to the egg yolks and sugar, stir, then add sifted flour, stir again and pour the cream into a large bowl.

Tip: if the mixture is too thick add a little milk, it should be smooth and creamy.

Whip egg whites to stiff peaks with a pinch of salt, you will need to get a firm and compact white cream. Incorporate it gently to the chocolate mixture and stir from bottom to top.

Butter and flour the cake tin and pour the mixture into it.

Bake Tenerina Cake in the preheated oven to 180° for 25 mins, then allow to cool it down, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.

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