The Lonely Outcast Citrus

Yes, this is already sliced in thick slabs and ready for me to dig in….




You all know the one I’m talking about. It’s the citrus that gets grimaces instead of drools, the one that never gets invited over for dinner and a movie, much less dessert and an attempt to get to third base. It’s the one that get ignored because it has a tendency to be a bit…shall we say… bitter about life. It’s the citrus that has very little middle ground. You either love it or you hate it. I’m one of those weirdos in the love it camp. Just add that to the list of things that makes me strange and wonderfully lovable.

What citrus? Why Grapefruit of course. People tend to think of it in terms of either juice for breakfast, juice beverage aka grapefruit juice that has been sweetened. I admit that I prefer that to the straight up kind myself, or as a fruit to eat, grimacing the whole time, because they are on a diet and their mothers best friends sisters cousins stepgrandmother lost 45 pounds in two days doing that

But this is me. You all know me. If I love something, I work hard to find ways to kill any nutritional value it may have had in a previous incarnation. That’s just how I roll.

I have had the book by Thomas Keller called
Ad Hoc At Home for quite a while now.
I love the cookbook. It’s one of those types that makes you drool and realize that you have no right cooking anything that doesn’t come in a microwavable container. But for some reason I hadn’t gotten around to actually making anything out of it. Until today. I had been glancing through it the other night as I sat on the recliner eating junk food and watching Glee and I came across the recipe for Grapefruit Cake. I had three grapefruits that I needed to use because if I had to eat any more straight grapefruit, as much as I love it, my stomach lining was going to fall out. So grapefruit cake it was. That way I could keep my stomach lining AND eat grapefruit… more or less.

This is good. I mean, I want to buy more grapefruit good. I will say though that what makes it is the grapefruit syrup you soak it in. Were it not for that, this would just be a decent basic loaf cake. With the syrup however, it’s ultra moist and slightly sticky and loaded with an intense citrus flavor. Add in the top glaze, also made with juice and it’s outstanding. I WILL be making this again…and again…and again. As I tell myself that it’s good for me because it has grapefruit. Plus, I’m taking a fruit with self esteem problems and making it the envy of all the other citrus fruits.

Thomas Keller’s Grapefruit Cake

  • Cake-
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pink grapefruit zest (I didn’t measure & probably had more 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon grapefruit oil (check out the LorAnn.com site for this) (also, this is my addition so feel free to omit)
  • Grapefruit Syrup-
  • 1 cup strained pink grapefruit juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • Grapefruit icing-
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pink grapefruit juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat well at medium speed for about 3 minutes. Don’t under beat. The beating helps the sugar dissolve and is part of what gives this cake it’s lovely texture.
  4. Beat in the milk, then add the oil, the vanilla (and grapefruit oil if using) and the zest.
  5. Get out your trusty whisk and slowly whisk in the flour mix JUST until blended.
  6. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake until a skewer comes out with small crumbs on it, turning the cake about halfway through to make sure it browns evenly. The recipe said 60 minutes, but it actually took about 80 in my oven (though I inadvertently baked it for 90, thus the overdone crust. Oops.)
  7. While it cooks, make your grapefruit syrup. Simply combine the syrup ingredients, bring to a simmer then let simmer for one minute. Then set aside.
  8. When the cake is done, immediately poke small holes all over it with a skewer. I found the easiest way to do that w/out making the top crust break was to basically screw the skewer into it. When I just tried to press it through, the crust cracked.
  9. Brush the syrup onto the cake, letting it soak in each time which may take a few minutes. In truth, I used about 3/4 of the amount of syrup this makes, so feel free to adjust that accordingly.
  10. Let the cake cool for about ten minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. If, like me, you have a bit of trouble getting it out of the pan due to the syrup cooling, put it back in the oven for a minute or two to melt the syrup. It should slide right out then.
  11. Combine your glaze/icing ingredients and drizzle it over the cake.
  12. Write Thomas Keller (and hey, don’t forget me too!) a fan letter. 😀
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32 thoughts on “The Lonely Outcast Citrus

  1. Grapefruit is never the outcast at my house! I peel them and eat them plain :)! This bread sounds delicious, I would love some! Happy Valentine’s Day :)!

    • You’re braver than I, Amy. As much as I love them, unless it’s a Pommelo, I have to sweeten them at least a little.

      And Happy Valentines Day to you too! 🙂

  2. Dear Thomas Keller:
    Please consider joining me and the wife in our foodie commune. To gain admittance you must bring about 12 of these cakes. Thanks, the Lunatic

    Dear Janet:

    I will marry you tomorrow if you make this for me today. Thanks, Twin

  3. I can practically smell this cake. It must have been a heavenly aroma in your home as this cake was baking. It looks moist and delicious. I’ve printed this recipe and hope to make it so it turns out like yours!

  4. Thanks soooooo much for this post! Thomas Keller rocks! In fact, maybe he rules!!! I have French Laundry and Bouchon but never did get around to Ad Hoc. Guess I need to do something about that… As for grapefruit, I must admit it’s never been my fave because I’ve always associated it with strict dieting 🙁 I quite agree with you – it’s highly under-appreciated.
    Having said that, let me add that your photo, commentary, and the fact that it’s a Thomas Keller recipe have convinced me to revise my thinking. Grapefruit has been taken to a new level – it’s not just for dieting any more. Thank you! :))
    P.S. I absolutely LOVE your sense of humor!

    • Awww, thank you Michele. That means a lot to me. My photography skills are minimal so that made me feel good. Let me know if you try this ok? 🙂

  5. I have the same cookbook…it’s fantastic! I adore grapefruit, but I take a medicine that reacts to it, so I can’t have it….and this cake looks scrumptious! Happy Valentines Day!

  6. I have been considering making a grapefruit cake, but this does close the deal. I am looking at that picture wondering just how close to pudding is the texture of this cake-yum! I am saving this recipe. As far as grapefruit, it does need to have a little more spotlight in baked goods as far as I am concerned-so bravo for promoting it with this delicious cake.

  7. I love the way the glaze has soaked into the cake, I’d eat the top sticky part first and then dive into the rest. How about I send you my address and you can send me one or six of them, please?

  8. I love grapefruit (witness the grapefruit-flavored madeleines of last week). Whenever I see Thomas Keller’s name, I assume a recipe is going to be crazy and difficult–but this looks just lovely. Will try it for sure!

  9. Grapefruit is probably our favorite citrus. AND coincidentally our local Earthfare has the most DELICIOUS grapefruits in right now so this lovely cake gives me another excuse to run down and pick up even more!

  10. Janet….I know what you mean about grapefruit ….you either love it or hate it. I like fresh grapefruit, but I can’t drink a glass of grapefruit juice! I think this cake would probably convert all of us! I love how you cut the slices nice and thick! Perfect! And Ad Hoc is such a great cookbook! : )

  11. Oh, this cake looks so good! So far, all I’ve made from this cookbook is the brownies (shocking, I know). I need to dig it out and try some more recipes…like this one!

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