Welcome back to another episode of Blog with Friends - this month's theme is Carrots.
Switzerland consists in 26 cantons = states. Most of them have very distinct and famous culinary specialties like cheese fondue or Rösti = hash browns. I live in Aargau, and we are known for carrot cake.
I've always been wondering why, though. It's not like you drive across our state and all you can see is carrot fields? Upon researching I found out the following: They didn't really produce tons of carrots but turnips and sugar beets - which makes sense because in one of our neighbour towns there is a sugar mill. During the second half of the 19th century the first (painted) picture postcards appeared, featuring carrots - simply because they were more decorative than the other root veggies.
The carrot cake we make in Switzerland is different from the one you may be used to if you live in North America. Here's how:
- We only have one layer of cake.
- We don't add crushed pineapple to the batter (why would we do that? It's called a carrot cake?)
- We don't add cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg and other christmassy spices to the batter.
- We also don't add raisins or chopped pecans - not to the batter, not to decorate the outside.
- We don't frost our carrot cake with cream cheese.
Let's see step by step:
Usually a recipe starts with preheat oven - not today, though. I don't know about you, but I am not that quick an egg white beater and carrot peeler and grater. So bear with me.
We'll start with the mise-en-place aka get your stuff ready. This is really important.
Prevents you from racing to the store to buy a forgotten ingredient!
Cake (Recipe by Betty Bossi, the Swiss Martha Stewart)
5 egg yolks
250g sugar (1.25 cups)
250g carrots, grated (2.75 cups)
250g hazelnut, ground (1.8 cups)
1 lemon, zest and juice
80g flour (0.65 cups)
1 tablespoon baking powder
5 egg whites, beaten
1 pinch of salt
125g confectioner's sugar (1 cup)
4 teaspoons lemon juice (I just went ahead and used the juice of one small lemon)
Here are some links I used to convert measurements:
Allrecipes, Traditional Oven, Chocolate and Zucchini, Metric Conversions
First let's do veggies! Peel and shred your carrots.
Grate the zest of a lemon, then squeeze it and pour the juice over the carrots.
At this point you want to preheat your oven at 180°C = 350°F
Go ahead and carefully divide the eggs, cover the whites and set them aside for a moment.
Beat the yolks until they are frothy, add sugar and lemon zest and beat some more. Now add the carrots and the ground hazelnut, mix well. Now we add the flour / baking powder mixture. I don't sift, but you can do it if it makes you feel better!
Now on to the egg whites. Beat them real stiff! Then fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into your loaf baking pan - you can even use a muffin pan if you like. Actually, for this amount of batter you would need two of each!
Bake for 40 - 50 minutes (about 30 minutes if you make muffins) in your 180°C (350°F) preheated oven - test with a toothpick!
Then comes the hard part: let them cool on a rack for at least an hour!
I'm serious, keep your fingers to yourself! Just leave the kitchen, do something else, check FB and email, work on your blog, call a friend! Do laundry if you must!
Then carefully remove the cake from the pan and put it on a plate.
Make the icing and drizzle over your cake. This can go well or not so well, depending on how accurate and patient you are. Some days it turns out pretty neat.
Other times I just poured the whole lemon juice into the icing sugar, and well, it was too much. The icing was runny, but I didn't want to add more sugar, so it turned out a bit translucent. No big deal, though. They went fast anyway!
Now I hope you'll give this a try! Let me know how it turned out, send me a picture, too!
Before you do so, please visit my friends' posts:
Karen of Baking in a Tornado shares her recipe for Baked Cinnamon Carrot Donuts
Tamara of Part-time working Hockey Mom has some Carrot Cake Muffins - Swiss Style in the oven for you
Dawn of Spatula on Parade made some healthy and delicious Apple Carrot Salad
Lydia of Cluttered Genius helps us to Create Your Own Scavenger Hunt
Melissa of My Heartfelt Sentiments wants us to be Spreading Easter Joy
P.J. at A 'lil HooHaa's post is called Carrots from the eyes of a mischievous youngster
PS: As you may know, April is Blogging from A -Z month. My theme for this year is Switzerland. So far I have been talking about our beautiful Alps, Bern - our capital, Swiss Chocolate and how Democracy system works.
Today's post is about Equality - or the lack thereof. Here's the link if you're interested.