Gluten Free Rüeblitorte
Another great part of Swiss baking (aside from the abundance of kirsch) is that many recipes are by their very nature gluten free, as they rely on a base of ground nuts, rather than flour. Many have been tried and tested so often that they rarely go wrong. Although occasionally a small amount of flour is added (see Rüeblitorte), a similar result can be achieved with the help of a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch.
"You couldn't find a bowl?" -Sam
300 g carrots, grated
300 g ground nuts (almonds, hazelnuts or a mixture), toasted
30 g cornstarch
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
5 eggs, separated
300 g sugar
1 shot kirsch (or spirit of choice)
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4.
Paper a 9 inch / 24 cm springform pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the toasted ground nuts, cornstarch, baking powder and spices.
In a large bowl, whisk together the 5 egg yolks and sugar until you get a pale, yellow paste. Add the shot of kirsch and whisk well.
In another large bowl, whisk the 5 egg whites into stiff peaks.
Mix the carrots into the sugar and yolk paste and then fold in the dry ingredients. Finally, gently fold in the beaten egg whites and spread into the pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes.
- Make sure your cornstarch is actually gluten free, as some brands contain wheat additives. It should say on the packaging.
- Although it works just as well with ground almonds, hazelnut and carrot is a classic flavour combination.
- Be sure to line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper, this cake can be rather sticky.
- If you like a spicier cake, add an additional teaspoon (or two) of cinnamon and nutmeg. Two or three teaspoons of British mixed spice is also quite nice.
- Whisk the egg yolks as soon as the sugar is added, as this will prevent the sugar from hardening the yolks.
- For more information on whisking the egg whites, see here.
- Baking time will depends on the heat of your oven. The cake is done when you can see it coming away at the sides of the pan, and when you press on the top and it springs back completely. If the top does become too dark, simply cover it with tin foil and allow it to continue baking.
Although it is an age-old recipe, tried and tested, and essentially fool-proof, that doesn't mean that human error won't interfere. I foolishly left the kitchen and meanwhile the top of the cake went from light to DARK in a matter of moments.
"It's ruined," I said, taking it out of the oven, "I should have tented it with foil."
I paused, waiting for Sam to agree and explain exactly how I should have placed the aluminum foil over the cake pan, when I should have done it, for how long, how one should be careful when removing it from the roll...
"It's not ruined," he said, "it's just right."
And then I remembered...
When I was in baking school, I had a wonderful German chef who would tease us if our breads came out a shade too dark saying, "ah well, must be Swiss."
After class, we could bring home the spoils of our day's baking.
"It's a bit over-baked," I would tell my mother.
"That's crazy" she'd reply, "it's just right. Everything else is underdone."