Torta della Nonna di Giao ~ Alpine Walnut and Cranberry Carrot Cake



What do Alpinists, snowboarders, and skiers crave when stopping at the shelter of the Giao Pass near Cortina d’Ampezzo?  This famous cake! and while the original recipe is a tightly held secret, we think that the carrots, walnuts and cranberries in our version are true to its tart and healthy flavor — perfect for the holidays, too…   

 

INGREDIENTS

A 12-inch/30.5 cm. pie plate, smeared with butter and then dusted with flour so as to keep the cake from sticking, or a non-stick pie pan

For the cake:

200 g./2 large ~ Peeled and grated carrots

75 g./one third cup ~ Unsalted butter, softened

135 g./one half cup ~ Light brown sugar

The peel of one large lemon, grated

23 mL/1 1/2 Tablespoon ~ Vanilla extract

2 Jumbo eggs

150 g./two-third cups ~ White whole wheat flour

6.4 g./1 1/2 teaspoon ~ Baking powder

100 g./three-quarters cup ~ Raw Walnuts or Almonds — measure before grinding, use all that is ground

For the glaze:

38 g./Three Tablespoons ~ Dundee orange marmalade (though you may substitute any non-sweet brand)

The juice of 1 lemon — use the one you just grated 🙂

403 g./Two cups ~ Cranberries (frozen or fresh), which are cut in half  or fresh Blueberries, washed

 

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 350 F. degrees or 180 Celsius.

Grate the carrots using a Cuisinart (if you have one, the medium grater blade works best).  You might alternatively use a stand-up cheese grater — not the hand-held kind.

In a MixMaster using the whip (or a large bowl using a hand-held mixer), cream the butter until it holds peaks, then slowly add the sugar until homogenized.

Continue whipping, adding the eggs one at a time, then the grated lemon peel and vanilla extract, until combined; continue mixing slowly adding the flour, baking powder, and ground nuts.

Stop the mixer and add the carrots to the bowl, stirring them by hand until they’re evenly distributed in the batter.

Pour the batter into the pie plate and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Place the pie plate on a cooling rack. and in the meantime, prepare the glaze.

 

In a small pan, stirring constantly, melt the marmalade with the lemon juice and 2 T./30 mL of water over medium heat until it becomes a syrup.  (Add more or less water as necessary to achieve this consistency.)

Add the cranberry halves to the syrup and cook gently for about five minutes, or until the cranberries begin to break apart.

If substituting in blueberries, remove the glaze from the heat and gently stir the berries into the glaze just until coated.

Spoon the glaze and fruit evenly over the warm cake, starting at the center.   Allow the cake to cool for at least one hour so that the fruit and glaze congeal.
Should you be fortunate enough to have leftovers, the flavor of the cake will be even more divine the next day  🙂