Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Candied Grapefruit Upside-Down Cake (i.e. My Birthday Cake!)

You say it's your birthday? Da da da da da daaaa da
It's my birthday too, yeah! Da da da da da daaaa da
You say it's your birthday? Da da da da da daaaa da
I'm gonna make a Candied Upside-Down Grapefruit Cake, yeah?

Thanks for humoring me on that! 

So you may have guessed that today is my birthday! I'll tell you, the last 34 years have been more amazing, heartbreaking and breathtaking than I could have ever imagined. I have learned so much and even though I've experienced a great deal of loss, I'm just sitting here this morning feeling so grateful for my hard won wisdom and my ever expanding heart (I know I'm giving myself a lot of credit here but I'm allowed to on my b-day, right?!;-).

At 34 big ones, though I still don't know exactly what my path will be, I can say that my credo is finally clear. I know what kind of person I want to be, how I wish to be remembered, and that my good fortune will be a direct result of hard-work and intentionalityEmily Dickinson said it best...

“Luck is not chance-
It’s Toil-
Fortune’s expensive smile
Is earned-”
– Emily Dickinson

That said, this cake is a tribute. It sums up the trials, tribulations and triumphs of 34 years of life; It's bitter, it's sweet, and it's delicious. 

The grapefruit is candied so the rind is made somewhat more mild though it still maintains it's bitter edge. If you like that bitter kind of sweetness, you'll love this recipe.

Candied Grapefruit

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 large red grapefruit, sliced into thin rounds

In a wide pot, bring the sugar and water to a simmer, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. When the liquid is clear and simmering steadily, add the grapefruit slices and simmer for about 40-50 minutes until the rinds are fairly translucent. While it's simmering coat a 9-by 2-inch round cake pan with vegetable oil and line the bottom with parchment, also coating that lightly with oil.

Once the slices are ready, use a slotted spoon or spatula to carefully transfer them to the prepared cake pan and arrange them in a decorative pattern.

Preheat your oven to 350°F with the rack in middle. 

Candied Grapefruit Upside-Down Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 stick salted butter, softened (or 1 stick unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt)
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
zest of one entire grapefruit
2 Tablespoons grapefruit juice
3/4 cup buttermilk (cultured or rehydrated from a packet)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition to incorporate. Mix in the zest and grapefruit juice.

Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet in a few additions, alternating with the buttermilk, until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the cake pan being careful not to upset your design. Spread the batter out evenly.

Bake the cake for about 40 minutes it is until deep gold and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs (check at 30 minutes). 

Cool the cake in the pan for about 15 minutes, then place your serving platter on top of the cake pan and invert the whole shebang so the cake releases onto the platter. Serve right away, at room temperature, or chilled. It's great with a little fresh whipped cream to counter the bite of the citrus.