Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grapefruit Cake

A less expected hit at my tea party, these grapefruit cakelettes were certainly scrumptious.  Lemon pound cake is a classic, and one I do enjoy, but there's something a tad more fanciful and sophisticated about a grapefruit cake.  It's the perfect blend of sweetness with just a hint of tart and a whisper of bitter.  I gleaned the recipe from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook, (I've also made Ina Garten's grapefruit yogurt cake in the past, but this one's the winner).  The original recipe calls for a loaf cake, but little cakes are just so much more fun if you have some molds or a muffin tin floating around.  This cake is easy to throw together and baking mini versions makes it all the faster.

Ingredients:  For the 16 mini cakes I made above I used a half recipe, but I'll list for the full recipe below.
- 2 c. flour
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Zest of 2 grapefruits (I doubled this from the original and very much liked the resulting flavor
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. + 2/3c. granulated sugar
- 1 c. whole milk
- 3/4 c. canola oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 c. + 2 tbsp fresh pink grapefruit juice (2-3 depending on size and juiciness)
- 3/4 c. powdered sugar

- Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and stir.
- In a large bowl, whisk together 2/3 c. sugar and eggs.
- Whisk in the milk, then the oil, then the vanilla and grapefruit zest.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three batches, stirring just until blended.
- Pour the batter into the oiled vessel of your choice.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven.  Baking time will depend on the size and shape you're going for.  A loaf will take about 1 hour, the mini cakes I made took about twelve minutes (not that they won't brown on top: they're pretty shallow so they are done through before they get a chance to brown.  You could probably stick them under the broiler briefly if you wanted, but I didn't mind their pallor for this presentation).  They are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- While those bake, make a simple syrup by combining 1 c. sugar with the 1 c. grapefruit juice.  Simmer just until the sugar dissolves.
- When the cake comes out of the oven, let it rest for 5 minutes.  Now you are going to bathe the cake with the simple syrup.  Poke the cake with a toothpick or skewer all over.  Ladle the simple syrup into the pan slowly, allowing it to absorb (if you're using small, intricate metal molds, you may want to take the cakes out before this step).  Keep ladling until it doesn't want to take any more.  Let the cake cool completely.  (Save any remaining simple syrup in the fridge-- a spoonful is great in a gin and tonic.)
- Mix together the remaining 2 tbsp grapefruit juice and the powdered sugar.
- When the cake is completely cool, take it out of the pan and pour the glaze over it.  It may be easier to just dip small cakes.
- Allow the cake to dry until the glaze is set, then serve at room temperature.

The added steps of the syrup and glaze may seem like an extra nuisance, but I think they're worth it.  While I'm sure the cake is tasty without them, they really enhance the grapefruit flavor.  if you simply must skip one, leave off the glaze and keep the syrup... but really, why would you do that?


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