We’ve torn into so many grapefruits this month, our fingertips have a near-permanent zest scent, I keep finding tiny juice capsules throughout the apartment and more pertinently, I have become fixated on finding a way to bring their bitter, sour-sweet flavor to a baked good. Unfortunately, my husband was convinced it wouldn’t work, and that it would be “weird.” Fortunately, I never listen to him.
In her latest cookbook, Ina Garten takes what I consider her best recipe yet — her lemon pound cake — and tries to lighten it up. As I’ve already expressed my disdain for Food Networkian notions of “light food,” I’ll skip the there’s-no-hope eye roll and simply state that in comparing the new and the old recipes, the butter is replaced with an equal amount oil, one-third of a cup of buttermilk is replaced with one cup of whole milk yogurt, and an extra egg is added and in the “lighter version.” That said, just because it may not exactly mesh with whatever your notion of diet food is doesn’t mean that yogurt does not a wonderful cake crumb make.
I figured if she can make a lemon as well as an orange version of the pound cake, with and without chocolate chunks, each more fabulous than the last, that this recipe as well as technique — zest in the cake, basting with juices and draping with a citrus icing — would work for grapefruit as well. (Lime and blood orange, you’re next.) The trick was trying to figure out how to adjust the replacement to really make the grapefruit flavor come forward, as it is more sweet and mild than lemon, less than orange and the zest has less… zing, couldn’t resist. (Secretly, I also hoped for a ‘ruby red’ tinge, but alas, not much luck with that one.)
I threw in an extra teaspoon of zest and dialed the sugar back in the glaze almost entirely and from our nibbles last night and another this morning, I think it did the trick. Having divided the batter into two miniature loaves, one for us and one for friends, I skipped the glaze due to nothing but laziness, though in truth it doesn’t need it for anything but show. The grapefruit shows up enough to announce it’s presence but not too brashly and the yogurt makes for a lighter, springier and more coffee-cake like crumb, and best yet, Alex has admitted he was misguided in his lack of faith. Like, duh.
Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
Adapted loosely from Ina Garten
1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (230 grams) plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup (200 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (13 grams) sugar
3 large or extra-large eggs (I use large)
1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
For the glaze:
1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice and pour over the cake.
To one-bowl the cake recipe: Combine grapefruit zest and sugar in a large bowl and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers to release the most flavor. Add yogurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla and whisk until evenly mixed. Sprinkle surface with salt and baking powder and whisk until thoroughly combined, and then a few more times, to be extra certain they’re evenly dispersed in the batter. Add flour and mix until it disappears. Continue with baking and glazing instructions above.