The poor folks living in the canton of Aargau have to put up with probably more prejudices than any other canton, most of them imposed, of course, by their neighbour Zurich. A few of them are: Aargauer (Aargau people) always wear white socks. They’re bad car drivers – the Aargau car number plate contains the letters AG, which supposedly means ‘Achtung Gefahr!’ (attention, danger!). They don’t know how to party in Aargau which is why each weekend lots of them travel to Zurich’s Kreis 5 for their weekend party; Zurich West and the party street Langstrasse are sometimes referred to as Aargauerbalken (Aargau beam). Many Swiss only know Aargau from passing by on the motorway between Zurich, Basel and Berne, and often the only thing of the canton of Aargau they see from the motorway is the nuclear power plant. (While we’re talking about the motorway that leads from Zurich to Aargau already, something that always makes me chuckle is the motorway services restaurant Würenlos that is located above the motorway like a covered bridge: in our local slang we call it ‘Fressbalken’, which can’t really be translated that well, but fressen is the expression for an uncivilised way of eating, and Balken is a beam).
One last prejudice is that Aargau is the carrot land (Rüebliland). While it’s true that there is a lot of agricultural land in Aargau, the thing with the carrots is apparently not really true. Nevertheless, the Aargauer Rüeblitorte (a round carrot cake) and the Rüeblicake (a long, rectangle cake (the German word Cake always means a rectangle, long cake)) have been two of the most popular cakes for children’s birthday parties for decades. The Swiss carrot cake is completely different to the British one, and here’s a recipe for it.
Swiss carrot cake (Rüeblicake)
- 200g butter
- 350g flour
- 4 tsp baking powder (or one Swiss sachet of baking powder)
- 250g sugar
- 1 pinch of salt
- 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 pinches of ground cloves
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 250g carrots, finely grated
- 250g almonds, grated
- 1 lemon, grated peel and juice
- 4 eggs
- Icing sugar and lemon juice (for the icing if you want any icing)
- Marzipan carrots
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Melt butter in a saucepan and let it cool down a little.
In a bowl, mix the sieved flour and baking powder, then add the sugar, salt and all spices and mix everything.
Add the carrots, almonds, lemon peel and lemon juice and mix.
Add the eggs and the butter, mix and put mixture it into a rectangular cake tin of 30cm length (tin covered with baking parchment).
Bake on lowest rack at 180 C for about 65 minutes. If you want, stick the marzipan carrots into the cake after 50 minutes and let it bake for the remaining 15 minutes. Or you could also stick the carrots onto the cake in the end with the help of the icing.
Add some icing (we usually use icing sugar mixed with lemon juice for this cake, for a a bit of a sour taste in combination with the sweet cake).