This pretty Swiss carrot cake has a delicious lemon and almond flavour. It is low fat and is both gluten and dairy-free.
A pretty orange colour with a light moist crumb this cake is a must try.
What's not to love about a good carrot cake? British and American carrot cakes are dense with added nuts and sometimes fruit and a delicious moist spicy crumb. Topped with a rich cream cheese frosting – Delicious! Now, lets introduce the Swiss Carrot Cake, (Aargauer Rublitortewhich), lighter and less sweet, totally different but equally, if not even more delicious.
Swiss carrot cake is beautifully moist, with a soft light fluffy texture soft crumbs and subtle lemon and almond flavour is such a dream to eat!
If you haven't come across the less familiar Swiss carrot cake then I urge you to give it try, I am sure you will love this carrot cake too.
To make the cake you will need
- Caster Sugar – I like to use golden caster sugar for most of my baking. It’s the same as normal caster sugar, but it’s unrefined, It is a little more flavoursome with light Caramel tones.
- Eggs - large (separated)
- Ground almonds (US = almond meal)
- Flour – I've used gluten-free flour for this cake but regular plain flour (US = all purpose flour) can also be used if you do not need to make the cake gluten-free.
- Carrots – Finely grated. Weigh the carrot after grating you will need about 2 medium carrots for the cake.
- Baking powder
- Icing sugar – (US = confectioner’s sugar)
- Lemon – Unwaxed is best as we use both the zest and juice in this recipe.
How to make Swiss carrot cake step by step
1. Whisk the egg whites until standing in stiff peaks then gradually whisk in half the caster sugar whisking until glossy.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and the remaining caster sugar together until pale and creamy. Then fold in the finely grated carrots.
3. Gently fold in the ground almonds. Then sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and fold in.
4. Add the finely grated zest and juice of half a lemon to the bowl and gently stir in.
5. Add a quarter of the whisked egg whites to the carrot mixture and gently fold together. Then continue adding the egg whites in two or three batches gently folding in until just mixed, taking care not to knock the air out.
5. Pour into a lined cake tin and bake until risen and pale golden. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before transferring the cake to the rack to cool completely.
Finishing the cake
The cooled Swiss carrot cake is then finished with a lemon flavoured glacé icing spread over the top. When I'm making this cake for an everyday treat (it's fabulous with afternoon tea) I do not add any decoration to the cake.
But when making for guests I like to decorate the cake with some fun marzipan (US = almond paste) carrots which are very easy to make and I think look really pretty and finish the cake perfectly.
To make the marzipan carrots
Colour a piece of marzipan orange and a smaller piece green then shape into the carrots as directed below
1. Roll small balls of orange marzipan then flatten one end and elongate to form the carrot shape.
2. Roll a little green marzipan into a thin rope and cut it into short lengths. These will form the stems.
3. Use a skewer or cocktail stick to make a small hope in the thick end of the carrots.
4. Then push in the short pieces of the green marzipan to secure the stem to the carrot.
5. Use the tip of a small knife to frill the green stem.
6. Then use a skewer to mark small ridges into the sides of the carrots.
Loaf cake or shallow square cake
This recipe is really adaptable. I like to make it in a small loaf tin and serve it in slices. But it also works well cooked in an 18cm (7in) square tin which can then be served cut into 9 squares. This cooks a little quicker, see the notes in the Recipe card for details.
A great cake that keeps well and can be made ahead
Swiss carrot cake keeps really well in an airtight tin for several days, and it's actually more flavoursome to eat once it's been left to mature for a day or two. Store in a cool place or the refrigerator.
It will also freeze well for up to 3 months.
- When whisking egg whites it is essential that the mixing bowl is completely grease-free, so it is a good idea to wash the bowl and whisk in very hot water before using in case the bowl has picked up any grease from the air during storage.
- Adding the egg whites a little at a time helps ensure you do not knock out any of the air that you have whisked into the mixture helping to create a light cake.
Some recipes for Swiss carrot cake have Kirsch added to both the cake and the icing. I tend to leave it out but if you would like to try this delicious variation you can reduce the lemon juice you add to the cake to 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and add 1 tablespoon of kirsch. For the icing use 1 tablespoon of kirsch and enough lemon juice to mix to the desired consistency.
Swiss carrot cake
- 450g (1lb) loaf tin about 18.5cm (7¼in) long x 9cm (3½in) wide x 5.5cm (2¼in)high
- baking parchment
- hand held electric whisk
- large metal spoon or spatula
- 2 large mixing bowl
- 1 small mixing bowl
for the carrot cake
- a little oil for greasing
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 100 g (3½oz) caster sugar
- 100 g (3½oz) grated carrots weigh after grating (about I large carrot)
- 100 g (3½oz) ground almonds
- ½ lemon zest and juice
- 50 g (2oz) gluten-free plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
for the lemon icing
- ½ lemon zest and juice
- 75 g (3oz) icing sugar sieved
- marzipan carrots (optional)
To make the cake
- Grease and line a 450g (1lb) loaf tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 170℃ (150℃ fan)/325°F/gas mark 3.
- Separate 2 eggs place the egg whites in one large bowl and the yolks in another. Whisk the egg whites until standing in stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in 50g (2oz) caster sugar a little at a time and continue whisking until thick and glossy. Set aside.
- Whisk the egg yolk together with the remaining 50g (2oz) sugar until pale, thick and doubled in volume. Then fold in 100g (3½oz) finely grated carrots, followed by 100g (3½oz) ground almonds and the grated zest and juice of ½ lemon, using a spatula or large metal spoon.
- Sift 50g (2oz) flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder into the bowl and gently fold in.
- Add a quarter of the whisked egg whites to the carrot mixture and gently fold together. Then continue adding the egg whites in two or three batches gently folding in until just mixed, taking care not to knock the air out.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level it with a palette knife or spatula. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 30 - 35 minutes. Or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place the tin on a cooling rack and leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before transfering the cake to the rack to cool completely.
- Sift 75g (3oz) icing sugar into a small mixing bowl> Add the finely grated zest ½ lemon and enough lemon juice to mix to a smooth thin icing. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides if you wish.
- Decorate with marzipan carrots, if desired. Leave for several hours for the icing to firm up. The cake is best cut a day after baking. Store in an airtight container.
- When whisking egg white it is essential that the mixing bowl is completely grease-free, so it is a good idea to wash the bowl and whisk in very hot water before using in case the bowl has picked up any grease from the air during storage.
- Adding the egg whites a little at a time helps ensure you do not knock out any of the air.
- The cake also works well baked in an 18cm (7in) square cake tin. Reduce the cooking time to about 25 minutes. Cut into 9 squares.
- The cake will keep well in an airtight container in a cool place for about a week.
- Freeze for up to 3 months