Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ruby Grapefruit Cake

Following Friday's disaster, my laptop keyboard is more or less working again. Some keys have been poorly reattached, jutting up at awkward angles and crying out for technological orthodontia, but for now, it works.

However I was not so lucky as to have all my keys turn up. I'm still missing my ESC, F3 and CTRL keys. When I ask my two year old what she did with Mommy's ESC key, she tells me she wants chocolate.

While I may not know much about negotiating with toddlers, something tells me this may be a trick...

Anyway, let's get down to the grapefruit cake. It's from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook. The cake, despite its rather humble appearance, is delicious. Low on fuss but high in flavor, each slice is moist and sticky with bitter-sweet ruby grapefruit syrup.

Feel free to substitute the ruby grapefruit for pink grapefruit, or even lemon (adding some additional sugar to the syrup to compensate for the tartness of lemon juice) to flavor the cake and syrup. Thomas also advises in the book:
"When I've got wonderful strawberries, I omit the citrus entirely and use the cake in place of a shortcake. I also make these in individual loaves and serve them with a simple sauce."
I agree, the cakes would be adorable when plated if baked individual tiny loaves. If you're going to bake them I recommend using a mini-individual loaf or financier set with a total capacity of roughly 7 cups.

Thomas Keller's Grapefruit Cake
from Ad Hoc at Home
yields one 10 x 4-inch loaf pan or 4 small loaf pans

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon grated ruby grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract

Grapefruit Syrup:

1 cup strained fresh ruby grapefruit juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Grapefruit Icing:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh ruby grapefruit juice

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F. Prep your pans by coating them with a little non-stick spray or lightly oil.

Sift together the flour and baking soda and then whisk in the kosher salt. Set the mixture aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and sugar on medium speed for three minutes. The mixture should thicken, increase in volume and the whisk will leave a trail in the batter. Once everything looks right, beat in the milk, oil, then the zest and vanilla.

Reduce your mixer's speed to low and then beat in the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until incorporated.

Pour the batter into your pan(s) and place on a baking sheet. Bake a single loaf for an hour (rotating once to ensure even color). Mini loafs will take roughly 40 minutes. Or until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs clining to it.

While waiting for the cakes to bake, you can prep the grapefruit syrup.

Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer (it can boil over if left over high heat) and cook for 1 minute.

Once you pull your cakes from the oven, poke holes into the cakes with a wooden skewer. Brush your syrup over the cake, allowing it to absorb and then repeating until you've used up all the syrup. Allow the cake to cool in the pan completely before attempting to unmold.

To un-mold, lightly coat a piece of waxed or parchment paper with a little oil or nonstick spray. Cover the cake with the paper and then invert. Turn the cake right-side-up onto a serving dish.

Whisk together the powdered sugar and grapefruit juice to make a glaze. (I doubled the powdered sugar called for to make the glaze more opaque.) Drizzle the glaze diagonally across the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Slice and serve.

Keep the cake loosely covered at room teprature for up to two days.



  1. Oh, yum. Grapefruit is one of my favorite flavors. I am definitely going to try this.

  2. This looks wonderful (as always). And I am always such a fan of your recipes. But your child's response to your missing key really stole this post for me lol

  3. I adore grapefruit. This sounds absolutely perfect!

  4. I love grapefruit things (but not the fruit straight). This looks and sounds divine! :)

  5. Grapefruit cake? I'm intrigued! Might have to run to the grocery store tomorrow!

  6. Nothing I love more than grapefruit... well, perhaps this cake will take the lead after trying a piece! :) Will have to try soon!

  7. Mmm, this looks amazingly good! I love grapefruit cake, so I definitely need to try Thomas Keller's version!

  8. I'm going to have to remember this when my yearly grapefruit comes in from Florida. (I grew up there, my family is still there, my mom orders me citrus every year for Christmas.)

  9. I have been obsessed with Ad Hoc at Home lately! I am going to try making his chocolate chip cookies too soon... this looks delicious. :)

  10. Heeey, we have mini loaf pans! And since I don't like grapefruits by themselves, maybe this would be a good way to enjoy them!

  11. A question, at which point do you incorporate the canola oil into the cake mix? I don't see it anywhere in the instructions?

  12. I love grapefruits and syrup-soaked cakes! This is definitely going into the to-be-cooked file.

  13. Edited to correct the missing oil step.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. lovely & looks so refreshing…
    cannot wait to bake this little jewel!! i especially love red grapefruit.

    i bake the lemon lemon loaf from "baked: new frontiers in baking" & just enjoy that whole process.
    i look forward to this method & know i am going to LOVE re-creating this cake.

    ms. h…do you ever refer to the above mentioned cookbook?

  16. Oh how I love that cookbook. I just ate at a great restaurant last night and they had a similar cake! This looks delish!

  17. I love the idea of grapefruit cake. I have a bunch of ruby red grapefruits sitting in my kitchen right now, so I really want to try this!

  18. It looks amazing!!! I love citrus flavours, definitely going on my recipe book!

  19. Grapefruit ay? Does this mean I can have cake for breakfast?

    P.S. Sorry to hear about your missing keys... :|

  20. Does this stick to the pan much? I have a mini-bundt pan I'd like to use but the pan is somewhat ornate. I'm wondering if there's danger of the cake getting stuck...

    By the way, I love your blog!!

  21. It didn't stick pre-syrup (the cake pulled away nicely from the sides of the pan) but after I added the syrup and let it cool completely it stuck a bit and the cake became very delicate.

  22. Thanks for the fast answer. I've bought thegrapefruits for this and am quite excited since I love the fruit. I think I'll try taking the bundts out then brushing the syrup on while they're still warm.

  23. Muffin? Pre-syrup, certainly. Post-syrup it wouldn't be easy or fun to handle.

  24. Just so you know, I'm baking this right now, and I noticed that you have baking powder in the ingredient list, but baking soda in the instructions.... so I'm gonna go with the ingredient list! You might want to look at it! :-)

    Thanks for all the great recipes!


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