Only distantly related to the American-style dense, spicy loaf capped with a cream cheese frosting, this light, airy cake traces its roots to the delicate carrot-almond torta that Italian Jews enjoy on Passover. I’ve lightly caramelized the carrots with
Perfect unadorned, the cake dresses up with a mantle of powdered sugar, accompanied, perhaps, by a scoop of mango, pineapple, or citrus sorbet. Well-wrapped and unrefrigerated, it stays delicious for several days.
To avoid disappointment, taste the pecans first to make sure they are fresh.
Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line the bottom of a
To prepare the carrots, gently dry-fry them with some of the brown sugar: warm a large, nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add the carrots, spreading them out evenly in the pan. Sprinkle with
Toast the nuts: spread them out in a single layer in a baking dish or on a baking sheet, and roast in the oven, shaking occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until they are very fragrant. Remove from the oven and let cool. Leave the oven on.
In a large bowl, use electric beaters to whip the egg yolks with
Grind the pecans in a food processor together with the remaining
Gradually fold the whites into the carrot-pecan mixture, incorporating them gently but thoroughly so that no whites are visible. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool on a rack. Unmold by running a thin-bladed knife around the edges of the cake to release it from the pan; invert onto a platter. Peel off the parchment paper. Serve the torta at room temperature, lightly dusted with Passover confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
© 2008 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.