7 Jul 2014

Tutorial: my Swiss Carrot Cake Recipe

A bit of a strange tutorial perhaps. As it is not brew related. But it is coffee related. Coffeehouses and food. Most coffeehouses do somewhat struggle with what solids they should serve. You can find sandwiches, salads, soups and sometimes some lovely breakfast items as well. But mostly you can find pastry. The classic muffin is losing ground. Chocolate, red velvet, apple and carrot cake however, remain staples for the average coffeehouse.

Carrot cakes and coffeehouses. Coffeehouses and carrot cakes. It is as if they are joined at the hip. I have a problem with carrot cake. Not every carrot cake, but specifically those served in most coffeehouses. Why? It is not that carrot cake does not go with coffee, they match fantastically. My problem lies with the fact that I love carrot cake, but am always kind of disappointed by the ones served. Either its heavy, cream cheese frosted, American style carrot cake, that completely drowns the subtle flavours of my coffee. Or it's filled with raisins, walnuts, and any other raisin-walnutty-like things. Leaving me, again with a heavy, thick and sticky slice that I have to force myself to finish.
Besides wanting something more light that accompanies and complements my coffee perfectly, I have to add that, as someone with a Swiss background, if there is one nut that does not belong in a carrot cake, it's walnuts...and cream cheese frosting just is the wrong way to go...

The only carrot cake that is delicious enough, so much so that it deserves to be served at every single coffeehouse out there, is Swiss carrot cake, or rübli torte. Made with almonds and kirsch, with a simple ice frosting and marzipan carrots.

Now, I am not a pastry queen by any means, as the crack on top of the cake in the picture perfectly depicts. But I have often been asked to make this cake and in the end it is about flavour, not the absence of beauty. The cake does well, not only on coffee breaks, but also on birthdays, barbecues and holidays. Especially Easter, as carrots and Easter bunnies make much more sense than Easter bunnies and eggs...

Below my own recipe for a sweet, moist and light rüebli torte.

What will you need?

- round cake mold  24cm in diameter
- nub of butter to butter cake mold

- 200 grams of carrots
- 200 grams of almonds (unsalted) or almond flour
- 200 grams of caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 50 grams of flour
- 1 tbs of baking powder
- 1 tsp of all spice
- 0,5 tsp of cinnamon
- 0,5 tsp of nutmeg
- 1 tbs of grated ginger root
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbs of kirsch

- 100 grams of icing sugar

- orange and green marzipan

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius

step 1
Grate your carrots. Use a fine grinder, or if you have it, use a juicer. This will result in a very fine grind (the carrot waste). I have a slow juicer. Juice your carrots and then mix the carrot juice together with the carrot 'waste'. If you leave the juice out, your cake will be very dry.

step 2
If you have almond flour, you can skip this step. If you have whole almonds, grind them. I use a food processor or a blender. This is very effective. Just keep blending or foodprocessing until the almonds are ground quite fine. I prefer this over almond flour, because the unevenness adds little specs of almond in the cake. Plus, I like the idea of freshly ground almond flour, but maybe that is just the coffee in me talking.

step 3
Mix the carrots and almonds together. 

step 4
Add the all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger to the carrot-almond mix. Zest half of the lemon and mix it in as well. Now fold in the flour and baking powder.

step 5
Get two big bowls and separate your egg whites from the yolks into the two bowls.

step 6
Add the sugar to the yolks and mix these together by hand or kitchen aid, until you get a light yellow mix. Add 2 tbs of squeezed lemon juice and the kirsch. Mix together.

step 7
Add your carrot-almondmix to your egg yolk mix. Slowly fold them together until even.

step 8
Beat your egg whites, until you have soft peaks.

step 9
Slowly add your carrot-almond-yolkmix to your egg whites and fold them together until even. You now have your cakemix.

step 10
Butter your cake mold, add your cakemix and shove the whole thing into your oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 1 hour. After your cake is done (you should be able to stick in a pin and have it come out clean) let it rest for a day. Yes, one whole day, restrain yourself man. Build some willpower in the process.

step 11
One day later it is time for the finishing steps. For the frosting, put 100 grams of icing sugar in a bowl, slowly add kirsch and lemon juice until you get a frosting that is not too runny, but can easily be smeared across the cake. Smear it all on top of the cake. I use a cooking brush to do this. Be sure to get a brush with soft bristles, as you might otherwise break the cake.

step 12
Create little carrots out of your orange and green marzipan and lay these out across your cake. You can also buy ready made marzipan carrots, but really what's the fun in that? Also, unless it is the 5th of December, these are quite impossible to find...

Admire your work, make a photo and eat alongside a cup of coffee. 

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