Bake, Dessert, Local specialties, Recipes

Traditional torta tenerina (the perfect tenerina cake)

Torta tenerina

A traditional torta tenerina (tenerina cake) is something that you will never forget, if you are among “the few” chocolate lovers ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!

Torta tenerina
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5 from 1 vote

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.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Emiliana, Ferrarese, Italian
Keyword: chocolate, Crumbly crust, delicious, Moist, Rich
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 chocolate
  • 100 gr butter
  • 150 gr sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 50 gr general purpose flour
  • q.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 ยฐC ๐Ÿ™‚
    Traditional torta tenerina - the chocolate
  • 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").
    Traditional torta tenerina - water bath
  • 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.
    Traditional torta tenerina - butter
  • 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.
    Traditional torta tenerina - whisking the egg whites and sugar
  • In the other bowl, whisk the yolks with the remaining half sugar, until it gets fluffy.
    Traditional torta tenerina - whisking the yolks and sugar
  • Keep on whisking, and slowly add the chocolate mixture into the yolks bowl. Add and whisk until you obtain a smooth paste.
    Traditional torta tenerina - adding the chocolate mixture
  • 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!
    Traditional torta tenerina - adding the egg whites
  • You are almost there ๐Ÿ™‚ Now slowly add the flour while you keep on gently mixing with the same bottom-up movement, until all the flour is incorporated.
    Traditional torta tenerina - adding the flour
  • 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 ยฐC).
    Traditional torta tenerina - ready for the oven
  • 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…..
    Traditional torta tenerina - right out of the oven
  • … and spray its incredible, crusty surface with icing sugar. Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Torta tenerina


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 my desserts, at least the ones I am famous for among my friends ๐Ÿ™‚

  • well, first of all my tiramisรน, 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 (Update, November 2023: I was in Trentino-Alto Adige last week, and … well, mine is still undefeated! ;)).


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Buon appetito!

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  • Reply Simone Pozzi 03/05/2023 at 5:33 PM

    5 stars
    You are absolutely amazing!

    • Reply Roberto 03/05/2023 at 5:53 PM

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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