This is pretty much what our January is looking like!
Even after living in NYC after more than sixteen years, seeing trees shed all their leaves in autumn and snow fall in winter is still a novelty for me. Hey, it beats mudslides, wildfires, and earthquakes.
One thing I miss about California, though, is the fresh produce year round. Here, on the other hand, I usually only buy apples, pears, and grapefruit regularly during the winter, because they are plentiful and reasonably priced. At our local green market, grapefruits are three for a dollar, which is a great price for the city. And who doesn’t love a burst of fresh citrus in the morning?
Denis likes his with sugar, and I like mine with salt (I know–weird, but maybe it’s a Hawaiian thing passed down from my parents?) Jamie doesn’t like grapefruit, which works out fine, because then I only have to cut up one.
I decided to experiment with grapefruit in my baking. It’s usually not the first fruit you think of it — it has some sour, bitter notes. But I love lemon and orange poundcake, and I thought, maybe it would be a good candidate for it. I made one based on Ina Garten’s Orange Pound Cake, halving the recipe and substituting grapefruit juice and zest. We brought the cake to Shelter Island and I iced it there.
Denis’ mom wrinkled her nose when he told her it was a “Grapefruit Cake”, as she’s not a fan of grapefruit. I told him I was going to tell her it was “Winter Citrus Cake” but he beat me to it. Luckily, she tried it anyway, and guess what– she loved it! So did our non-eating grapefruit son.
The cake doesn’t actually taste anything close to fresh grapefruit. It has a “lemony” “orangey” “citrusy” flavor. I think if you gave someone a taste of this, they wouldn’t even guess it was made with grapefruit! Just tell them it is a “Citrus Cake” — it sounds better. Grapefruit lovers and non-grapefruit lovers alike can enjoy this is nice winter treat.
Winter Citrus Pound Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed and strained grapefruit juice, divided
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick of butter
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest (about two grapefruits)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan bottom with parchment and grease or spray sides with non-stick spray.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice, the buttermilk, and the vanilla and set aside.
3. Cream the butter with 1 cup of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and the grapefruit zest.
4. Add the flour and the buttermilk/grapefruit juice mixture, alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour while mixer is on low. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake for 40-50 minutes , until a cake tester come out clean. While the cake is baking, heat the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup grapefruit juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves completely. Set aside.
6. When cake is done, let sit in the pan to cool for 10 minutes. Then remove, and put on a rack with a baking sheet underneath. Pierce top of cake with a knife and pour the grapefruit juice sugar mixture on top. I also make piercings while pouring slowly so that I can get as much of the syrup into the cake. Let cool completely.
7. When cake is cooled, whisk sifted confectioner’s sugar with a bit of the remaining grapefruit juice until it can pour easily. Pour over the top of the cake and let glaze set. I did this step after traveling to our destination, as the icing would have gotten mashed if I had wrapped it tightly and carried it.