Saturday, January 11, 2014

Grapefruit Pound Cake

Last month, when we were just starting to get sick of our winter fruit diet of oranges, oranges and clementines (for variety!), Cooking Light published a recipe for Grapefruit Pound Cake. Sounds weird, I know. And you can make it with orange or lemon if you want. Whatever. But how many lemon pound cakes have you eaten in your life? And how many grapefruit pound cakes? It's a new year, get crazy!

I generally have good luck with Cooking Light recipes. This may have something to do with the fact that I use full-fat cream cheese, leave the chicken skins on, eyeball the amount of olive oil for stir-frying, etc. This recipe worked pretty well, although something was very off with their icing instructions. Perhaps they made it water-thin intentionally? If all the icing drips off onto the plate, no calories! Never fear, I fixed it.

This recipe is stupid-easy - it's pound cake, not osso bucco. So here are just a few tips to make it go even smoother.
  • If, like me, you soften your butter and cream cheese on low power in the microwave, start the butter thirty seconds before the cream cheese, which turns to liquid before the butter is soft.
  • Run some warm water into a bowl and put the eggs in there to warm up first thing. Cold eggs tend to make the butter form lumps, and you'll be beating it forever to get it incorporated.
  • Use the paddle attachment of your mixer, not the whisk, which will comb the strips of rind right out of the batter.
  • Use your dish scrubber to rub off some of the sealing wax on the skin of the grapefruit. Or don't, if you can't be bothered. But definitely wash it.
  • Do not start out by greasing the pan, since the baking spray will simply run down the sides into the bottom while you are busy running the mixer.

Grapefruit Pound Cake
6 tablespoons softened butter
6 ounces softened cream cheese
several shakes of table salt
1 2/3 cup (14 ounces) granulated sugar
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
rind of 2/3 grapefruit
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk

baking spray with flour
10-cup bundt or tube pan

Beat the butter and cream cheese together for two minutes on medium speed, then add the salt and sugar, and beat on high speed until they are fluffy and white. Scrape down the sides, and add the eggs, one at a time. On low speed, mix in the vanilla, oil, rind and baking powder. Finish by adding the flour alternating with the milk. 

Spray the pan, fill it with batter, and place it in your oven heated to 325 (300 convection). Bake for approximately 70 minutes, until the center is dry in the cracks and feels solid when you push on it. Rest in the pan for five minutes before tipping out on a rack to cool for at least an hour.

Grapefruit Glaze
1 tablespoon very soft butter
rind from 1/3 grapefruit
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice

Use a small whisk (or fork) combine the butter, rind, half the sugar, and vanilla. Whisk in milk, remaining sugar, and two tablespoons juice. Add juice by half teaspoons until you get to the consistency of cold honey.

Drizzle by spoonfuls over the cake, working your way around twice, nudging the icing down the sides. This icing is astonishingly tasty, and you'll probably have a bit left. Don't make yourself sick, now.

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