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Spanish Oil Cakes Recipe - Tortas de Aceite

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Spanish Oil Cakes - Tortas de Aceite (c)

Spanish Oil Cakes - Tortas de Aceite

Lisa Sierra (c) 2009 Licensed to About.com Inc.
Oil cakes or "tortas de aceite" originated in Andalucia, specifically near Sevilla. They became popular in the 19th century and recently have seen a surge in popularity, especially in the USA. These cakes are a light and healthy alternative dessert, simply made with flour, water, yeast, olive oil and sprinkled lightly with sugar. Prefer a salty "tapa" or snack? Try one of our variations.

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp (10 gr) dry yeast
  • 6 Tbsp Spanish virgin olive oil
  • 12 Tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/3 cups (300 gr) unbleached white flour
  • granulated sugar for topping
  • anise seeds for topping


This torta de aceite recipe makes about 8 tortas, 6-inches in diameter.

In a large mixing bowl, mix 6 Tbsp warm water, yeast, salt and olive oil until yeast is completely dissolved. Gradually add flour, mixing thoroughly. As dough mixture becomes too dry to continue to mix, sprinkle in a bit more water and mix. Repeat until all water is gone and dough has a smooth consistency. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

Note: If the kitchen is drafty, warm oven to 200F degrees for about 5 minutes, then turn off. Place bowl in the oven for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 450F (230C).

Grease 2 cookie sheets with oil. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Pinch off a small amount of dough and roll into a ball about 1 ½ times the size of a golf ball, using your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the ball of dough out until very thin. Roll out the dough to approximately 8-inch circles, then carefully transfer each one from the cutting board to the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and anise seeds.

Place cookie sheets in hot oven and bake. After approximately 10-12 minutes, if the edges are turning brown, remove them from oven and allow to cool. Serve warm as a light dessert.


The only limit to the variations of this recipe is your imagination.

Dessert Toppings: Top with sugar and finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts. Finely chopped candied fruit can also be used as a topping.

Salty Toppings: How about serving tortas as a tapa or snack rather than a dessert? Top with chopped sardines, thinly sliced or chopped chorizo. Sprinkle garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper for a healthy alternative to garlic bread. Sprinkle a teaspoon of parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

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