Monday, February 27, 2012

Thomas Keller's Pink Grapefruit Cake

grapefruit cake recipe

February's Daring Baker's challenge was quick breads and so, because I had some time after handing in my thesis, I made three. This first one is comes from Thomas Keller's book Ad Hoc at Home, which my mother owns and I covet. It is maybe less of a quick bread and more of a cake, but it was easy to make and was baked in a loaf pan, so I'm going to call it a quick bread and then deem it an acceptable breakfast substitute.
I had a vague memory of Thomas Keller saying that his last meal would be roast chicken, which made me think that he is much too sensible to eat cake for breakfast. However, when I double-checked, his last meal also includes half a kilo of caviar. That's a lot of caviar. So maybe he's be game for breakfast cake after all. He also wanted profiteroles for dessert which surprised me because I've never met a profiterole that I've liked. Then again, I like to dip my cheese in balsamic vinegar, so who am I to look askance at someone else's preferences? 

We tried the grapefruit loaf right after it came out of the oven and I remember thinking that is was just okay. I found it to be much too sweet and not that grapefruity. But the next day it was better, and the day after that it was fantastic. This seemed to be the case for all three quick breads I made, which really sort of makes them slow breads. Whereas yeast breads that take a long time to make are usually best fresh and warm. Funny. In the end, I think this was my favourite loaf of the three and I'd definitely make it again. It was very moist with a fantastic crumb.

I really did use pink grapefruit, but I had this photo of a white one from a while ago. I prefer white grapefruit and would make the cake with white grapefruit instead of pink if they were stocked at my grocery store more frequently. Also, check out these adorable Le Creuset mini-pots my mother got me for Christmas. I had more batter than could fit nicely in my loaf pan, so I made extra little pots of cake mostly for the purpose of taking cute photos.

Pink Grapefruit Cake Recipe:
from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

What you'll need:

2 cups (250 g) AP flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 (367 g) cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the syrup:
1 cup grapefruit juice
2/3 cup (150 g) sugar

(Okay, Keller actually calls for kosher salt and whole milk and vanilla paste, but if you have these things on hand I'm sure you'll use them, and if you don't I doubt it will make such a difference to the recipe that you should go out of your way to get them.)

Preheat your oven to 350F and grease your loaf pan. In retrospect, I probably would have lined it with greased parchment paper, too.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
Using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer, or good old fashioned elbow grease, beat the sugar and eggs together until the mixture increases in volume and the whisk leaves a trail. 
Beat in the milk, then the oil, then the zest and the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into your loaf pan and bake on a baking sheet for 60 minutes rotating after 30. If you have extra batter that you want to bake in mini-pots or muffin tins, I'd probably start checking them around 25 minutes. They're done when the middle springs back when you press on it.

While the cake is baking, make the syrup by simmering the juice and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for about 1 minute. As soon as you pull the cake out of the oven, use a skewer to poke holes all over and then pour the syrup over the cake. It will seem like the cake is drowning in syrup, but don't worry because it will all be absorbed as the cake cools.

And I wasn't even done pouring in syrup at this point.

Let the cake cool before turning it out and glazing it. For the glaze, the recipe calls for 4 tsps grapefruit juice and 3/4 cup powdered sugar, but I just added a random amount of sugar until the glaze was the consistency that I wanted--quite a bit more opaque than the recipe suggests.

Wouldn't these be good filled with grapefruit curd? Mmm, CURD.

grapefruit loaf
nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom nom

Blog-checking lines: The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, that slice looks so moist and delicious, makes me want to grab one! I bet it would melt in my mouth...yummy.. Well done!