**cake has been re-made and picture has been updated since I first wrote this
“Grapefruit cake? What?” <== that was everyone’s reaction when I revealed my plans to make this cake. To be honest, I was nervous too. The entire baking process was a nightmare. First, my pan overflowed in the oven and the cake got all crispy around the edges, but then, the middle sank as soon as it began cooling. After I poured the syrup on top of the cake, I inverted the pan onto a cooling rack and found that the syrup-saturated top had stuck to the wire– the bottom came off in chunks when I tried to move it to a plate. What a disaster! By the end, with the help of Emily’s photography expertise and a little bit of glaze… we made it look presentable/edible.
But don’t be deterred by my baking problems! This cake, though admittedly hideous, is rich and delicious. The grapefruit zest in the cake gives it a subtle hint of grapefruit flavor, and the syrup and glaze helps to seal in the moisture. Before Emily got around to helping me take pictures, the cake was half gone (okay, it was mostly me that ate it…). Yum. Try it. Just do it.
Glazed Grapefruit Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grapefruit juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grapefruit juice
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper of aluminum foil (when I made this, the batter filled the pan all the way to the brim and then it overflowed in the oven, so it may be a wise idea to have two pans on hand just case so you can make two smaller cakes– I made 1 loaf cake a 10 cupcakes).
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl with the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and the whisk leaves a trail. With the mixer running, add the milk, then the oil and finally the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Spray a small paring knife with nonstick cooking spray, then run the knife lengthwise down the center of the batter, about 1/2-inch deep. (This helps the cake develop an even crack down the center as it bakes.) Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
While the cake is baking, make the syrup: Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then continue to simmer for 1 minute.
When you remove the cake from the oven, transfer to a wire rack (still in the loaf pan). Immediately use a skewer to poke deep holes into the cake (about 3/4-inch apart). Brush the cake with the syrup, pausing as necessary to allow it to soak in. Keep brushing the cake until you’ve used all of the syrup. (I brushed the top with syrup, but I have no clue how it is even possible for this cake to absorb that much liquid, so don’t worry if you only use half or less than that).
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes after you’ve brushed it with the syrup, then turn it out onto the cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice together until the glaze is smooth – it should be thick but with a pourable consistency. Drizzle over the cake allowing the glaze to drip down the sides. Let the glaze set before serving. Well wrapped, the cake will keep at room temperature for 2 days.
Pictures by Emily- check out her portfolio!