Monday, April 23, 2012

Torta di Carote (Carrot Cake)

This carrot cake from the Italian region of Veneto is absolutely delicious and moist. It doesn't have any butter or oil and it is packed with carrots and almonds. For this reason, it makes a nutritious dessert or snack. I like to serve it with mascarpone and candied orange. 
  • 8 ounces sliced almonds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 pound carrots, finely grated 
  • 1  large orange zest
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large egg whites
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a round of parchment paper.
In a shallow baking pan toast nuts in one layer in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes, and let them cool completly.
In a food processor finely grind almonds with 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together yolks with granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add extracts, and zest and beat until combined well.
In another bowl stir together ground nuts, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and a pinch salt. Beat nut mixture into yolks mixture and beat in carrots.
In a clean bowl beat whites until they just hold stiff peaks. Stir about one third whites into batter to lighten and fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly until just combined.
Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top.
Bake cake in middle of oven until top is springy to the touch and cake pulls away from sides of pan, about 50 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a rack. Run a sharp small knife around edge of pan to loosen and invert cake onto a plate. Peel off parchment and invert cake onto a platter.