Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Swiss carrot cake

Polish: ciasto marchewkowe
Indonesian: kue wortel
Turkish: havuçlu kek
Latvian: burkānu kūka
Welsh: cacen foron
German: Karottenkuchen
Afrikaans: wortelkoek
Hebrew: עוגת גזר
Basque: azenario tarta
Portuguese: bolo de cenoura

Carrot cakes are commonly eaten and appreciated in Europe since medieval period. The thing is that beet sugar was very expensive in the middle ages, cane sugar was still unknown while honey was not so commonly available, so sweetening with sugar beets and carrots was carried on. Generally, carrot cakes can be divided into two groups: gingerbread-like and spicy or soft, with just a bit of shredded carrots or carrot puree to give light taste and colour, topped with philadelphia cheese icing. Third group is not that common and contains no-flour, but almonds. Like this Swiss Rüeblitorte. The idea of making this delicious cake came on my mind in German grocery store, where I saw packed powder to make this cake. I asked my friend google how to make this cake from fresh products and compared all the Swiss recipes I found. The result is this natty recapitulation of all of them, excluding one ingredient: Kirschwasser (I never drink alcohol but you can add it, but I think it could kill the lovely subtile taste of almonds)

300 gr almonds or almonds + hazelnuts
300 gr carrots
250 gr sugar + 1 pack vanilla sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
50 gr flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
(in the original Swiss version you would also need marzipan carrots and some apricot jam as a topping)*

1. Peel almonds (you can do it easily if you pour boiling water on them first) and grind (I did it in meat grinder to obtain crunchy texture instead of homogeneous mass). Grind raw peeled carrots too (or shred very finely)

2. Beat yolks with sugar, add almonds, carrots, lemon zest and juice, salt, and flour sifted with backing powder and cinnamon.

3. Beat whites and when stiff, mix lightly with carrot mass (it will not be easy but try to be as delicate as you can)

4. Bake 45 min - 1 hour in 180C oven. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, almond or coconut flakes or* smear with apricot jam and decorate with marzipan

For me, it was one of the best cakes I ever ate. My brother shared this opinion but my mum didn't like this taste :(

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