Torciglione (Umbrian Christmas Cake)

Torciglione (Umbrian Christmas Cake)

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Torciglione is a traditional Christmas cake, shaped like a snake, from the Italian region of Umbria. It's gluten free and made with almonds, sugar and egg whites.


Makes: 1 snake cake

  • Cake
  • 300g whole almonds
  • 125g caster sugar or vanilla flavoured sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 egg whites
  • To Decorate
  • 2 coffee beans
  • 1 slivered almond
  • pine nuts, as needed

Preparation:20min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Ready in:55min 

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cake: Blanch the almonds in boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain, rub off the skin and place on lined baking tray. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until dry. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 180 degrees C. Line a baking tray with a silicon mat or with baking paper.
  4. Process the almonds, 2 tablespoons of sugar and lemon zest in a food processor until fine and resembles breadcrumbs (not too fine). Transfer to a bowl then add remaining sugar and mix well.
  5. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form then fold into the almond and sugar mixture. Pour the mix onto the silicon-lined baking tray and shape as a long or curled up snake.
  6. To Decorate: Use coffee beans as eyes and a slivered almond as the tongue. Use a sharp knife to make shallow cuts along the sides; insert pine nuts into the slits to resemble snake skin.
  7. To Bake: Bake in preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

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