16 September, 2008

Particularly handsome

I baked this Swiss carrot cake for my father-in-law’s birthday. It’s one of those almond-based cakes that improve tremendously in texture after hanging around for a few days. The recipe is adapted from the book Culinary Excursions Through Switerland by Peter Widmer, given to my family as a parting gift after our one year stay in Lucerne in 1992. Widmer discloses an olden-day Swiss-German proverb, “rüebli git schöni büebli”, meaning boys that eat many carrots grow up to be particularly handsome. I love the saying, which originated long before the health benefits of vitamins were common knowledge, especially if it encourages carrot-cake feasting.

The luminous sugarcraft carrots were bought at The Baking Tin in Claremont. Aren’t they cute?

Swiss carrot cake (Rüeblitorte)

6 eggs
1 ½ cups of sugar
grated rind of one lemon
1 tbspn lemon juice
300 g ground almonds
450 g grated raw carrots
4 tbspn flour
icing sugar and sugarcraft or marzipan carrots, to decorate

Separate egg yolks from egg white. Whip egg white until stiff. Beat egg-yolks with sugar and lemon rind until fluffy.

Mix almonds, flour, carrots and lemon juice. Alternately fold the whipped egg white and the almond mixture into the egg yolk mixture.

Pour into a lined and buttered, 22 cm springform tin. Bake at 180 ºC for around 1 hour until lightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and transfer to a wire rack. Wrap in foil and store in a dry place for one to two days.

Before serving, dust with icing sugar and decorate with the sugarcraft carrots.

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