When it comes to Swiss desserts, of course the natural order of things would be to provide you with some exquisite chocolate dessert. Maybe a chocolate cake with chocolate filling and chocolate frosting. I’m not going to do that today.
Why not? Well, I couldn’t actually find any Swiss desserts that called to me. Swiss roll? That seemed pretty boring. Swiss chocolate fondue? Too much for a party of one. Plus, to be honest, Swiss chocolate to me is best in its purest form: a chocolate bar. No matter where in Switzerland you may travel, their $1 budget, grocery store chocolate bar will beat our Godiva in any taste test. Fact.
Instead, I found what you would perhaps consider an unconventional choice: Carrot cake. Most people I know love carrot cake- I sure do. It’s heavy and moist and usually topped with some sweet ,creamy, gooey frosting. That’s the American way. The Swiss way, called “Aargauer Rüeblitorte,” is completely different- light and airy, made with ground almonds, and topped with simply powdered sugar or a simple icing, decorated with marzipan carrots. It’s a carrot cake you can indulge in without breaking your diet. This recipe hails from the Aargau region of northern Switzerland, and is very similar in style to the Tarta de Santiago I made way back in Spain, and some of the tortes I grew up eating as a kid (and will share once I get to the motherland). I will disclaim that I changed this just a bit by adding some cinnamon, which the traditional recipe lacks.
And for those of you who insist on a cream cheese icing, it will work on this as well. I always seem to have “leftover” cream cheese icing in the fridge, and I tested it out just to make sure. You know, to not lead you astray.
3 eggs, separated
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup grated carrot
¾ cup ground almonds
½ cup flour (I used whole wheat)
½ cup chopped walnuts (in lieu of raisins, which I don’t like)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
For the icing:
1 cup powder sugar
Juice of one lemon
Milk for consistency
1. Grease and flour an 8” or 9” cake pan. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Beat the egg yolks into the sugar thoroughly. Add the lemon juice and the zest, the carrots, almonds, flour, nuts and baking powder. Mix well.
3. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold gently into the cake mixture.
4. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, mix all the icing ingredients together. Pour over the warm cake. Alternatively, you can use Kirsch rather than milk for consistency.
And if you’re still hankering for some chocolate, go get yourself a Toblerone. Can’t beat that!