Sunday, 16 November 2014

Grapefruit Syrup Cake - Must Eat!

While visiting Poland earlier this year, I was very surprised to see how often grapefruit and especially ruby grapefruit figured on the breakfast menu. They did not appear at lunch or dinner and I could not detect the flavour in anything else that I tasted. They were big, sweet, juicy and very colourful. In fact they were probably the best grapefruits I had ever eaten.  I do think we have under-rated  grapefruit compared to other citrus and I am endeavouring to research how grapefruit can be used in different ways.

So how long have grapefruits been grown and from where did they originate?
I am very happy that you ask these questions, because I have the answers.

Grapefruits are a cross between a pummelo (or pumelo) and an orange and like all other citrus fruits is a member of the Hesperidum family. (a large modified berry with a thick peel) As they grow, young grapefruits hang in clusters on trees. The clusters resemble clusters of grapes and it is thought that this is why they were so named. Grapefruits were first grown in Barbados and it is thanks to a Captain Shaddock a 17th century ship commander that brought the seeds of the pummelo from the East Indies to the West Indies.* And from there they spread across Europe and to the rest of the world.


In Australia ruby grapefruits are sometimes used in salads combining well with kale, cucumber, spinach or avocado, but it has fallen out of favour since the 1970's when a grapefruit with a cherry on top and lots of sugar was the given entree to any successful dinner party. I wonder why?

I hope you enjoy this recipe because it is going to be my last cake post for a while - sad, boo hoo!  Time to switch to a super healthy, summer menu. I am endeavouring to go back to low carbohydrate, high vegetarian protein for a while. (Just watched a 'Catalyst' programme) and they have a new thinking that the old thinking was pretty good! Less carbs more fat and protein. Yes it is very confusing for us all.

Don't worry, there will be some treats in here too. If you are in the northern hemisphere, then don't be afraid because I am giving you a heads up for next summer. If you are hankering after something a little more robust, then leave me a comment and I will see what I can do.

I must admit that this cake turned out much better than I had hoped for and I will certainly be trying to use more grapefruit in cooking.

Ruby Grapefruit Syrup Cake



2 cups plain flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
2 tbls grapefruit zest
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup  oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grapefruit juice
2/3 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup icing’ sugar
2 tbls grapefruit juice

Preheat oven to Fan forced 170/350 F. Coat 9×5-inch (22cm x 12cm) loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a bowl rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. 

Using a whisk or electric beaters, add the eggs to 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/beaters running, add the milk, then the oil and finally the vanilla, then with the beater on low, add the dry ingredients, until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

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. Cool.
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/2 cms 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.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes after you’ve brushed it with the syrup, then turn out onto the cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperature.

To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, stir icing 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. Allow glaze to set before serving. 

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