250grams(3 cups) almond meal, almond flour, or ground almonds
250grams(2 ⅓ packed cups) grated carrots(about 6 medium carrots)
1lemon, zested and juiced
2tablespoonsKirschwasser (cherry brandy)
80grams(⅔ cup + 2 tablespoons ) all-purpose flour
200grams(2 cups) powdered (icing) sugar
¼cupKirschwasser, fresh lemon juice, or ideally a combination of the two (2 tablespoons of each)
Whole marzipan carrots(optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan, line the bottom with a parchment paper round, and grease the paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle or whisk attachment, beat together the egg yolks and sugar for about 3 to 5 minutes until pale and thick.
Add the almond meal, grated carrots, lemon zest and juice, Kirschwasser, and salt. Mix until smooth, then add the flour and baking powder and mix again just until combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks (use a clean mixer bowl and clean whisk attachment on your stand mixer for efficiency or use a hand mixer). Gently fold the egg whites into the carrot mixture with a rubber spatula a little at a time.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cake for about 10 to 15 minutes in the pan, then carefully run a thin blade around the edges to make sure the sides are loose. Release the sides of the springform pan, carefully remove the parchment paper, and transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
Mix the powdered sugar and Kirschwasser and/or lemon juice until smooth and pourable but not too runny. Pour it onto the center of the cooled cake, and carefully tip the cake at different angles to help the glaze flow all over the surface and start to drip down the sides as desired. Allow the glaze to set. (While the glaze sets, make your marzipan carrots if you are making them yourself.) Garnish the cake with marzipan carrots, if using, before slicing and serving.
Swiss carrot cake is even better the next day! Cover and store it in a cool place (refrigeration not necessary) for 4 to 5 days.
If you're unable to obtain Kirsch, try substituting dark rum (for rum flavor), amaretto (for almond flavor), or Grand Marnier (for orange flavor). It won't be traditional, but would still be delicious.
The glaze can take quite some time to completely set (it really depends on the temperature and humidity in your home), however you can serve the cake even if it's partially set. It just won't yield super clean cuts when you slice the cake. The glaze may also crack a bit if you transfer it from the cooling rack to a platter and/or decorate with the marzipan carrots when it's only partially set. This is purely aesthetic, but to avoid this transfer/decorate either when the glaze has not yet set or has completely set.
To make your own marzipan carrots use gel food coloring to color most of the marzipan orange (use either orange food coloring or a combination of 3 parts yellow and 1 part red food coloring) and a small bit of the marzipan green. Then shape the orange marzipan into little carrot shapes and, if desired, use a toothpick to give it some textural lines. Then shape the green marzipan into carrot tops and attach them to the carrots (they will easily stick on their own).
Marzipan is very sticky. I recommend kneading the color into it, shaping, assembling, etc all on a piece of parchment paper for best results.
My marzipan carrots were a bit large so I only put 8 on top of the cake. You can make them any size you like, but smaller ones will allow you to fit more on top and yield 10 or even 12 slices of cake, each with a marzipan garnish, if you desire.
Conversions for the volume measurements for almond meal, flour, granulated and powdered sugars were all based on spooning the ingredient into measuring cups and then leveling them off (not scooping directly into the ingredients which can pack the measuring cups and result in inaccurate volume measurements).