The story behind the Santiago's cake

The story behind the Santiago's cake

Table of Contents

The famous Santiago's cake

Are you planning a trip to Santiago de Compostela?

Without a doubt, there are many things you can do and visit, as we have already told you in Galicia Travels, but another activity you cannot miss is enjoying its gastronomy.

Galicia travel products

What you should know about Santiago's history

In this sense, today we delve into the history of the area’s emblematic dessert par excellence: the cake of Santiago. This delicious dessert, finished with the most distinctive Santiago’s cross, is made with sugar, eggs, flour and almonds.

It is a dessert with a lot of history behind it. So much so that you have to go back to the Middle Ages, no less, to understand why in this area they made a sweet based on almonds. It was precisely in the Middle Ages when this fruit was imported from the area due to the multiple uses it could have: from gastronomy to therapy.

It is known that this recipe was first made in 1577 by the clergyman Pedro de Portocarrero, who called it “Torta Real”. It was not until centuries later, in 1838, when the original recipe was found in a recipe notebook, that it was called tarta de Santiago. It was a recipe book by Luis Bartolomé de Leybar and from there it was introduced into the confectionery industry of Galicia.

For its part, the incorporation of the cross of Santiago, began to take place from 1924 when the founder of Casa Mora wanted to give it a different touch compared to other desserts, and for this he wanted to make the symbol with sugar using a mould of the cross of Santiago. It was an initiative that achieved great popularity and the rest of the confectioners did not hesitate to incorporate it into the Santiago cake, to the point that today it is the undisputed symbol of the cake.

The Santiago cake and the Jacobean route

The Santiago cake and the Jacobean route

One of the reasons why the tarta de Santiago has become so popular outside Santiago de Compostela is also thanks to the Jacobean routes: pilgrims often buy one and take it home to their loved ones after walking the Camino de Santiago.

This typical Galician sweet of medieval origin was called the “Torta Real” or “Bizcocho de almendra” (Almond Cake). It was known for marking the end of the Jacobean route since it was given to the nobles as a gift after completing the pilgrimage way.

It is a tradition that after visiting the Cathedral, travellers should get to know the local gastronomy and not leave out this delicious dessert.

Other dishes not to be missed

Of course, beyond the Santiago cake of which we bring you the details today, if you go to this city you cannot miss other equally delicious dishes. These include seafood, good fish, chestnut broth, turnip broth or scallops au gratin.

Without a doubt, visiting Santiago de Compostela, either because you have decided to follow the Jacobean route or because you want to get to know this city better, can be a unique experience in every way. Not only for the history behind it, but also for its beauty and the great gastronomic value behind it, which is many and excellent. If you haven’t been there yet, don’t hesitate to organise a trip to this magical city where you’ll find activities in Santiago for all tastes and for the whole family.

For more information you can visit the page of Galicia Travels.