Brave New Meal: Cooking 124 recipes in a 365 days. 2 down, 122 to go.
Grapefruits get a bad rap, and I just don’t see why.
The slightly rotund cousin of the perfectly sized orange, is it any wonder that it’s a bit bitter? The orange gets all the attention, while grapefruit almost always gets pushed aside.
Whenever someone has a cold, out comes the orange to save the day, being celebrated for its vitamin c content. Whenever there’s a breakfast buffet at a hotel, orange juice is there, dazzling as everyone’s favourite. If it’s missing, people ask where it is, whereas no one ever asks how come there’s no grapefruit juice.
To add insult to injury, grapefruit is rumoured to be a bit of a party pooper. Certain medications have strange interactions if taken with grapefruit – so grapefruit has a strict ‘no drugs’ policy, while orange is out mixing with vodka having screwdriver parties. Like I said, is it any wonder grapefruit is bitter? You would be too. You would be too. (this is where you nod your head in grave agreement)
So, it’s time to showcase the grapefruit and let Bad Manners show us just what grapefruit can do if given the opportunity.
Brave New Meal cookbook, page 158.
Okay, so I wouldn’t say that anything went “wrong” *does wild air quotes* when we baked this, but I’d say there were some, ah, “misunderstandings”…
Bad Manners (previously known as Thug Kitchen) said to grease and flour an 8 inch cake tin.
Awesome. We did this. Only, I don’t know what the fuck 8 inches is (that sounded less dirty in my head). What I mean is, we use centimeters over here, so I had no idea that the cake tin I was using was too big.
I didn’t think about this until the cake was in the oven. ooopsie-fuckin-doo.
Oh well, I figured it might just need a shorter cooking time – no problem. We’d deal as went along. Check on it a few times. No worries. (More on that later.)
So, friend. Do you like grapefruit? I don’t mean to get personal or even be nosey, but I think that’s a pretty fucking relevant question to this recipe, don’t you?
If you like grapefruit, well then hey you’re going to be in grapefruit heaven with this recipe. Don’t like grapefruit? Well fuck you, you ungrateful orange-preferring bastard. On the grapefruit fence? My friend, this cake could be the thing to sway you into grapefruit loving country.
When you mix the grapefruit zest with the sugar, like the recipe says, your heart will sing. There’s something so fresh and god damn invigorating about the scent of grapefruit that you just feel instantly awake and alert. I read that they use grapefruit essential oil to balance mood and alleviate anxiety. I can see that. If there’s one thing I love more than grapefruit, then it’s the smell of grapefruit.
And my family: Of course I love them more than I love grapefruits. (I have to say that or they will get cross.)
We mixed the things that needed mixing, and followed all the directions and then flung that mo-fo in the oven to bake. I say ‘we’ not because I’m royal, or can’t count, but because my first born child was helping in the kitchen that day. While the cake was sunning itself under the oven light we whipped up a quick dinner and got that down our gullets, because we had somewhere to be. I realised that I had miscalculated the time the cake would take because it said to leave it to cool 15 minutes before pouring the glaze on – and then to serve right away.
Serve. Right. Away.
Three words to fuck with my plans.
I had figured I could eat dinner and cake and then still get to zumba class on time afterwards. But at my house last minute things pop up as suddenly as a panic attack at the supermarket, so we were running behind schedule. This meant that as soon as the cake came out of the oven, we’d have to leave to get to zumba on time. This would fuck with the recipe.
What were my options?
I toyed with the idea of making glaze and pouring it over the hot cake. Hmmm. Or I could wait till the cake was cool after zumba and then make the glaze and pour it over. Hmm, not sure. If I did that should I make the glaze now and reheat it later? Or smear it on cold? Or just make it fresh when we got home? OH GAWD THERE WERE TOO MANY OPTIONS. Ultimately, these were all first world problems, so I thought fuck it, grabbed my bag and legged it out the house, leaving the cake behind for me to glaze when I got home.
Now, when the cake had come out of the oven it was beautiful and golden and had risen PERFECTLY. It smelled amazing in our house, and I smelled cake on my hair at zumba. This made a nice change to the sweaty stench I normally wear at zumba class, and I was looking forward to trying the cake when I got home.
When I got home the cake was….um…flatter than I had remembered it. I wondered if it had collapsed because I’d kept opening the oven to check if it was done – randomly spearing it with a metal skewer to see if it would come out clean or if it was still raw in the middle (see the stab marks?) If I’d used the right cake tin size to start with, that wouldn’t have happened. Now having a flat cake isn’t normally a problem, it’s not like I was serving it for the queen, you know what I’m sayin’? But this time it was a bit of an issue because of the glaze.
Hear me out.
It’ll all make sense in a minute.
We made the grapefruit glaze.
I stirred like a mother, adding the cornstarch at just the right time, and it looked so good. Smelled good too. When it had thickened, I removed it from the heat and smeared it all over the cake. Because the cake was flatter than at first anticipated, there was less surface area to smear it over. Obvs.
So thinking the more glaze the better, I just slapped it on extra thick.
This made the flavour of the glaze extra intense. It was like doubling up on taste.
My kid and I sat down; time to finally enjoy this delicious grapefruit delight.
It was gorgeous, even though it was flat. Just like me in high school. (haha)
It was like 1000 grapefruit angels came together and asked, how can we bring more grapefruit to the world? And then they decided to whisper the recipe into Michelle Davis’ ears while she slept every night, until one day she woke up and felt inspired to create this. She fed it to Matt, and a few jokes and some awesome photos later, it had made its way into the final draft of the cook book.
The cake itself with no glaze has such a subtle grapefruit flavour, that I think most people would really like it. It plays for all teams; it’s a crowdpleaser for sure with its subtle nuances of vanilla and grapefruit. It was so good.
The glaze is like a grapefruit bomb exploding in your mouth. It’s like a hand grenade going off all over your tastebuds, covering your mouth in delicious sticky grapefruity goodness. If you are a grapefruit fan you will LOVE this. If you’re not, you may just be by the time you’re done with this new cake experience. Either that, or it will be too intense for the non-hardcore-grapefruit-lovers. You’re just not experienced enough to be able to handle this type of grapefruity intensity. So decide if you are in or out, with this glaze there’s no sitting on the fence.
But don’t be surprised that if you do have the guts to wholeheartedly embrace this flavour bomb of a cake, and you’re into it, then you’ll be a grapefruit convert for life. You’ll be asking where the grapefruit is at breakfast, and at parties. You’ll be eating it straight-faced, while your grapefruit-novice friends will look like their faces just imploded. You’ll up-level to grapefruit level – where the vit c is high and antioxidants are ripe for the picking.
It’s time to step up. To recognise that your tastebuds have matured to not only endure the tangy onslaught that a grapefruit brings, but to enjoy it.
Welcome to Grapefruithood.
My kid ended up scraping the glaze off and eating the cake without it. He’s just not ready for flavour hand grenades like I am.
P.S. I think if I’d used the right sized cake pan and hadn’t kept opening the oven, the cake would’ve risen properly. Then there would’ve been more cake to cover with the same amount of glaze and the glaze would’ve been lighter and less intense – for those who are just starting out with grapefruit.
P.P.S. I highly recommend that if you leave this cake in the fridge overnight you cover it with some foil or something. Otherwise it’ll absorb the other scents in there and end up tasting like onioney-garlickey-ness. (or whatever is hanging out in your fridge).