Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Healthy Aargau Carrot Cake

      I fancied carrot cake one afternoon. Actually, that's a lie. I was thinking of carrot cake all morning and fantasized about sinking my teeth into a slice of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I remembered that some time ago in Singapore, I baked a carrot cake that used ground almonds as a base for the recipe. I remembered that the name of that type of carrot cake starts with an 'A'. 
      So I looked it up and I found it: Aargau carrot cake. Aargau is the name of a canton in Switzerland that is famed for its carrot cake. There are a few recipes out there that claim to be authentic but all are very different from each other. The most popular recipe seems to be one which contains no added fat besides the fat that is in the almonds and the eggs.

     Being a person who can hardly leave a recipe alone without making alterations to it, I made an already healthy cake a little healthier by reducing the sugar content very slightly, increasing the amount of carrots and using whole wheat flour. I also added some spices to the cake for some warmth. It turned out with a dense crumb and the whole wheat flour gave it a slightly crunchy top. I spread some light cream cheese frosting on it and it was so good!

     Without further ado, here is the recipe along with the recipe for light cream cheese frosting.

Healthy Aargau Carrot Cake
makes one 8-inch cake

3 eggs
1½ cup grated carrots
1 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon/orange rind
1½ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line an 8-inch cake tin with baking paper.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices in a small bowl

3. Put the sugars into a medium sized bowl.
4. Separate the eggs, putting the egg yolks in the same bowl as the sugar and the egg whites in a separate bowl.
5. Beat the egg yolks into the sugar thoroughly, for about 2 minutes.
6. Add the lemon juice, rind, ground almonds and flour mixture into the egg yolk/sugar mixture and mix well.

7. Beat the egg whites until frothy. This will take at least 3 minutes if done by hand.

8. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter until well combined.

9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes

* The top of the cake may brown too quickly, so after the cake has been in the oven for 10 minutes, check on it and cover it with foil then continue baking. Leave to cool completely.

Light cream cheese frosting
makes enough to cover cake

90g light cream cheese
2 TBSP orange juice
2 TBSP honey
2 TBSP light margarine (approx 15g) 
I used Flora Light

1. Whip all the ingredients together with a whisk or electric mixer
2. Add more honey if desired
3. Spread on cooled cake

     Let me know your results if you try this recipe! I would love to hear from you. 

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