I take pleasure in the spareness of this season: the quiet, the grey light, the bare branches. It’s been such a mild winter so far that whenever we get a rare dusting of snow, I find myself walking around in the woods for hours.All the silence and sparseness are a bit misleading, though. I think about the secrets under the quiet white veil; the life that is there, dormant, waiting to wake up; the soil that’s teeming, always, with all kinds of micro-critters. Nature is like this, I think. She enjoys vibrance hidden beneath humble exteriors. Like seeds.And jewel-bright grapefruit.This is a cake to which it’s nice to come in from the cold. Olive oil-citrus cakes have always been a favorite of mine, somehow zingy and earthy at the same time, but this recent adaptation for grapefruit might be the best I’ve tasted. With a cup of tea, this is my preferred type of cake, one that’s more at home on a breakfast table than for dessert.I get so excited when technicolors appear in real life that didn’t require one drop of Red 486 or whatever it’s called. Besides how good it tastes, this cake is worth making for the dramatic, mood-improving pop of ruby-rose against the grey backdrop of winter. I am off to Jakarta on Friday for a busy couple weeks so there might be some radio silence on my end. I hope I have some time to snap a few photos to post here, but otherwise, see you on the other side!
Grapefruit olive oil cake
Cake adapted from Melissa Clark’s blood orange olive oil cake, and glaze adapted from Heidi’s glaze that she used, coincidentally, on another Melissa Clark cake
You will need
- Butter for greasing pan
1 cup sugar (I used turbinado; white granulated would work just fine)
Scant 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown or muscovado sugar
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 teaspoons grapefruit juice (squeezed from one of the grapefruits above; see recipe)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan or standard Bundt pan.
Zest the 2 grapefruits into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar to the bowl, and using your fingers, rub the zest and sugar together until they’re well-incorporated to infuse the sugar with the grapefruit essential oils.
Halve one of the grapefruits and squeeze its juice into a measuring cup. Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice in the measuring cup until there is a total of about 2/3 cup of liquid (you may not need the entire 1/2 cup of buttermilk or yogurt, depending on the size of your grapefruit).
Pour the grapefruit juice/buttermilk (or yogurt) mixture into the bowl with the zest and sugar and whisk well. Then whisk in the eggs and olive oil.
In another bowl, whisk or sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Pour the batter into the buttered and floured pan.
Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, until it is golden brown on top and doesn’t jiggle in the middle (this is especially important in the loaf pan—it might take a bit longer to bake through the middle). A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. When done, remove the cake to a rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Then unmold the cake (if you want to; sometimes I just serve a loaf cake out of the pan) using whatever crazy method works for you for unmolding. For me, this means getting up my gumption. inverting a plate on top of my Bundt pan, and flipping it over in a motion that displays more confidence than I truly have. If you are lucky, you will hear a soft thump and then do a happy dance. If not, bang it on the table a few times, and if all else fails, run a knife around the edges and then try to invert again.
For the glaze, halve and squeeze the juice from the remaining grapefruit. Mix the brown/muscovado sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and 4 teaspoons of the juice together. Allow the cake to cool before spreading it over the top of the cake, or it will get all drippy and melt a bit, as mine did (evidenced in the photos!).