Torta de vilana, a typical Gomeran Christmas dessert

Christmas is a time of year when typical or traditional dishes are always prepared. These are important dates in the calendars that are indisputably linked to gastronomy. Canarian cuisine has a large number of recipes whose preparation is reserved especially for these days. In this article we will talk about a typical Christmas dessert from the island of La Gomera: torta de vilana.

Christmas in the Canary Islands

In addition to the usual turrones, polvorones and marzipans, at this time of year in the Canary Islands, different typical desserts are made , such as the well-known sweet potato trout, also filled with angel hair and covered in sugar, which we talk about in more detail in this article: Truchas de batata, a traditional dessert from the Canary Islands.

Each island has its own typical recipes, which is why the Canarian recipe book is so varied. Torta de vilana is a typical dessert from La Gomera and is usually prepared especially at Christmas.

Torta de vilana, Christmas dessert from La Gomera

The torta de vilana, like many of the dishes that make up the recipe book of the Islands, was originally a recipe for making use of leftover stewed potatoes from other preparations, these being its main ingredient. A little of everything that was available at the time was added to the potatoes, eggs, flour, sugar, almonds, sultanas... and from this came this delicious sponge cake.

The name of this Gomeran dessert comes from the container in which it is made, called 'vilana' or 'milana', a square or rectangular metal tray. The traditional recipe is made with potatoes, but sweet potatoes can also be used, giving it an even sweeter touch.

Torta de vilana, Gomeran dessert

How to prepare the vilana cake


For 8 persons:

Half a kilo of sugar, 8 eggs, half a kilo of sultanas, half a kilo of almonds, a kilo of potatoes (or sweet potatoes), 200 grams of butter, three quarters of a kilo of flour, grated rind of a lemon, a sachet of baking powder, cinnamon to taste and a little salt. 


First, put a pot of water on the fire to stew the potatoes or sweet potatoes. Salt is added to them as if they were to be eaten in the usual way. Once they are cooked, they are removed from the heat, the water is drained off and they are left to cool. They are then mashed or ground.

Meanwhile, in another container, cook the almonds in order to remove the shells. Once they are cooked, grind them, reserving some to decorate at the end.

Vilana cake

To the potato d ough, add the unbeaten eggs and little by little the sugar, kneading everything well until it is integrated. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix, leaving the flour and yeast for last. Everything should be well mixed and the dough should be neither stiff nor excessively liquid.

Next, prepare a "vilana" or mould with greaseproof paper so that the sponge cake does not stick and pour the mixture into it. On top of the dough, place the whole almonds that we had set aside at the beginning. Then bake it in the oven at 160º for a little less than an hour, keeping an eye on it so that the top is not too browned.

Torta de vilana, Gomeran Christmas dessert

Optionally, when serving it, you can add a drizzle of palm honey, another typical product of the Canary Islands, on top, and enjoy!

If you are interested in the typical recipes of the Canary Islands, but above all those typical recipes related to Christmas, we leave you with this article for you to continue reading: Christmas recipes from the Canary Islands.

Paula Vera



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