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Gudrun’s Carrot Cake (Ruebeli Torte)

March 12, 2015

I don't think this recipe needs frosting at all

Great with coffee, I don’t think this recipe needs frosting at all

Recently, in a moment of weakness, (a very real moment of weakness) I bought a piece of gluten-free carrot cake from the supermarket. To eat!

I used to buy carrot cake from the school canteen while at university. Light, moist and flecked with orange, this carrot cake was an affordable indulgence between lectures – its rich cream cheese frosting was the crown – back then I used to pick off the walnuts, garnished on the top!

The aforementioned supermarket cake was nothing like this. It was dense and heavy, although not unpleasant but I could not find a speck of carrot in the whole thing. Not a speck! I ate it and then wondered why!!

This got me thinking about a wonderful German woman, Gudrun, with whom I used to work, who used to make a carrot cake which was based on an almond meringue. A Swiss style reubeli torte, it was typically all carrot and very delicately spiced.

Carrots have been used in sweet cakes since the medieval period, during which time sugar was expensive and scarce, while carrots, which contain more sugar than most other vegetables, were much easier to come by. The origins of carrot cake are disputed. The oldest known recipe of carrot cake dates from 1892, in a Swiss book about housekeepingAccording to the Culinary Heritage of Switzerland, it is one of the most popular cakes in Switzerland, especially for children’s birthdays.

The popularity of carrot cake was probably revived in Great Britain because of rationing during the Second World War. In 2011 carrot cake was voted as the favourite cake in the UK (according to a survey in the Radio Times) above chocolate cake!

Carrot cake became popular in restaurants and cafe’s in the United States in the early 1960’s. They were at first a novelty item, but were enjoyed so much they became standard fare.  In the US in 2005, carrot cake with cream-cheese icing, was listed as number five of the top five fad foods of the 1970’s.

My mum was making carrot cake from the Women’s Weekly cookbook in the late 70’s. It was imperative that it was frosted with sweetened cream cheese. She discovered that this new fangled cream cheese icing was also good for sponge cake too, and laced it with Grand Marnier – she was an innovator, my mum!

This cake is inspired by Gudrun’s European recipe. I have added some buckwheat to lighten it up and a little oil for mouth feel. It is quite textured and yet refined. It’s a great dairy free cake if you need an alternative.

Feel free to frost it with cream cheese or a dairy-free icing or this one or even just a simple lemon glaze. I prefer this particular version without icing at all.

4 eggs

1/4 teas cream of tartar

1 orange, zest & juice

70g buckwheat

240g raw almonds

150g rapadura (I used Natvia)

250g carrots, chopped

1/2 teas cinnamon

pinch cloves

pinch salt

50g olive oil

1 teas baking powder

1 teas almond extract (optional)

Firstly, prepare a 20 (or 22cm) spring-form cake tin by greasing and lining it.

Separate the eggs and put the whites into a clean TM bowl with the cream of tartar and the butterfly. Whip on SP 4 for 2 minutes at 37°C.  To prevent the whites from separating, add a tablespoon (20g) sugar at the end and whip for a further 30 seconds. Set aside in a large clean bowl.

Without cleaning the bowl add the rind, buckwheat & almonds and mill on SP 9 for 20 seconds. Add the remaining 130g sugar and carrots & chop on SP 6 for 5 seconds. You do not want the carrots to be puree, just finely chopped.

Add the spices, salt, baking powder, yolks, orange juice and oil and mix on SP 5 REVERSE for 20 seconds. Pour onto the egg whites and fold through. Pour into the prepared tin and bake at 170°C for 40 – 45 minutes or when a skewer comes out clean.

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