How to Make Casa Pernoi’s Espresso Torta

Have your cake — and coffee, too!
espresso torta
Casa Pernoi’s Espresso Torta

Casa Pernoi in Birmingham features a menu with both comforting Italian dishes and higher-end plates that spotlight Chef Luciano DelSignore’s culinary skills. As evidenced by its espresso torta, the restaurant can also serve up a tasty dessert. Give it a try at home with the recipe below.

Casa Pernoi’s Espresso Torta Recipe 


Flourless Cake

1 ½ cups butter

2 ¼ cups 70% chocolate, chopped

1 ¼ cups espresso

1 ¼ cups sugar

4 ½ eggs

Almond Crust

1 ¾ cups sliced almonds, ground fine (but not to a flour)

¼ cups brown sugar

1 stick butter, melted 

Espresso Buttercream 

1/8 cup water

1/3 cups sugar

¼ cup corn syrup

4 egg yolks

2 sticks butter, very soft 

Pinch salt

1 Tbsp. coffee extract (Trablit preferred)


Flourless Cake

Melt chocolate and butter in a pot on low heat. Whisk eggs, espresso, and sugar together in a medium-sized bowl. Emulsify the chocolate and butter mixture into the egg-espresso mixture with a stick blender. Pour into a 10-inch cake pan and bake in a water bath at 325 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature, then freeze. 

Almond Crust

Combine all ingredients and press into a 10-inch ring mold. Bake at 325 degrees until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

Espresso Buttercream

Mix water, sugar, and corn syrup in a quart-sized pot. Whip eggs in a mixer with a whip attachment. Bring sugar mix to a rapid boil, then pour into egg mixture as yolks are whipping on high. Whip until the bottom of the mixer bowl feels room temperature to the touch. Add in butter in two parts and beat until smooth. Add salt and coffee extract, then set mixture aside.

Unmold the flourless cake using a torch onto a cutting board while still frozen. Spread 1/4 of the espresso buttercream onto the almond crust in the ring mold. Place unmolded cake on top of the buttercream and refrigerate until set.  

Unmold cake onto a 10-inch cardboard cake circle, while torching the sides gently. Smooth remaining buttercream on top. Cut into 12 slices and enjoy.

Casa Pernoi, 310 E. Maple Road, Birmingham; 248-940-0000;

This story is featured in the November 2021 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more stories in our digital edition.