The wonderful secret about several classic Swiss baking recipes is that they’re naturally gluten-free and sometimes even dairy-free, as well. Calling for ground almonds or hazelnuts and relying on eggs as a binder, a handful of traditional cakes and biscuits, like Basler Brunsli, do not contain any flour. Or, they make it easy to swap out flour for another ingredient without wheat or gluten. One such cake is the Aargauer Rüeblitorte — a Swiss cake from the canton of Aargau that I make with an American-style cream cheese frosting.
Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
– unsalted butter for greasing the pan
– 5 egg yolks
– 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
– 2 tablespoons kirsch or water
– zest of an orange or lemon
– 300 grams (3 3/4 cups) carrots, finely grated
– 300 grams (3 cups) ground almonds
– 64 grams (1/2 cup) cornstarch
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
– 5 egg whites
– 1 pinch of salt
– 57 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
– 113 grams (4 ounces) cream cheese
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
– 180 grams (1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar
- Prepare the springform pan by greasing the bottom and sides with butter. Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, kirsch and lemon zest until well-combined. The mixture should be lighter in color than before you started mixing it.
- Stir in the following ingredients – grated carrots, ground almonds, cornstarch, baking powder and spices – until they are fully incorporated (all except for the egg whites and salt).
- In a separate bowl, using an electric mixture, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Then, very gently fold the egg whites into the carrot mixture until well-combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake at 180°C/375°F oven for 40-50 minutes. When the cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, take it out of the oven.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Use a knife to make sure it has detached from the sides and carefully remove it from the pan onto a wire rack to cool.
- When the cake has completely cooled, prepare the frosting. Add the cream cheese, butter and vanilla paste to a bowl and then sift in the powdered sugar. Mix all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting on the top of the cooled cake. If you want a thicker layer of frosting or enough to also cover the sides, just double the recipe. Top with marzipan carrots. Keep the cake refrigerated. (Please note: I like to make the cake the night before. It usually tastes better the next day.)
The recipe above was inspired by carrot cake recipes found in the following cookbooks: The Swiss Cookbook (2010) from Betty Bossi, Croqu’menus (Editions scolaire du canton de Berne, 2005) and La Suisse Gourmande (2nd edition, 1986).