Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Citrus: Deb's Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake and Ina's Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake (plus trial-and-error baking at altitude)


I'll be honest, I'm glad 2012 is over. Though there were some pretty spectacular moments, there was a good deal of stress and heartache too. Our nuclear family was separated for almost 7 months while my husband flew back-and-forth between Denver and Brooklyn. And my father had a massive heart attack at the end of the summer, just 3 days after visiting us in Colorado. There were emergency flights back home, lots of tears and the fear of what would come next...but we survived. There were also births, engagements, weddings and promotions, so it wasn't all bad. But there were some very tough at times, and I'm hoping that it's smooth sailing ahead with the trying times behind us. For those of you in desperate need of an update: my husband, the boys and I have all been reunited and we are living under one roof (yippee!), my father is back home and doing well in recovery (hooray!) and we've begun our house hunt in earnest (woo-hoo!). But 2012 wanted to have the last laugh. In the final and penultimate day(s) of the year, I got hit with the plague. And it left me feeling pretty crummy. 
Flu-like symptoms, sinus pressure, a pounding headache, and fever kept me in bed and under the covers. Our friend's New Year celebration was cancelled because they too were under the weather. So we spent a quiet New Year's Eve, watching the ball drop/fireworks on television and thinking about all the (hopefully) good things to come in the year ahead. Then I went back to bed.
I was feeling much better by January, 2nd and I was really back on my feet by the 3rd, thanks in no small part to: 4 bowls of Pho, 3 bowls of matzo ball soup, 2 boxes of Kleenex, 1 box of Sudafed, a handful of Ibuprofen and some nighttime sleep aids. After all that, I was right as rain.
Though my New Year's resolutions aren't terribly ambitious or lengthy (send out postcards on a regular basis, write down famiy recipes, learn to snow shoe, read short stories, blog/internet stuff Monday through Friday-- take the weekends off, be kind, channel the Dalai Lama, etc.), I added one thing to my list now that I am post-plague. Namely, infuse my diet with lots of vitamin C. Which brings me to winter citrus and some really great pound cakes.

Most people probably think of summertime and lemonade when they think of citrus. But there are a few varieties that pop with flavor over the winter months, and while they aren't locally grown, they taste great because they are seasonal. Meyer lemons, blood oranges, ruby red grapefruits, satsumas and kumquats come to mind. 
I've been making Ina's Classic Lemon Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze for several years, and I usually find myself craving it in the early winter months. There is something about cake ingredients that include lemon, oil and glaze that work for me when it's cold outside. 
I'd thought about substituting grapefruit for lemon, but never actually got around to experimenting. Then I saw Deb Perelman's Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake-- she'd done it! Her version is inspired by Ina's Lemon Cake (see recipe way below) and Martha Stewart's rendition. Melissa Clark also interpreted the now-famous cake, as have some great bloggers that I follow regularly. My point is this cake is making the rounds. 

I made the grapefruit cake for our friends Beth and Philip, who were in town visiting family over the holidays. They dropped by our house for wine and dessert, and since they were coming over a bit later in the evening, I thought a light citrus cake would do the trick.
The cake tasted great, but it looked rather sad. It basically collapsed right down the middle. I've come to learn that pound cakes in particular, can take a beating at altitude. So I posted my issue on the Culinary Content Network FB page. The solutions came pouring in. 
I now know that there is less atmospheric pressure the higher up you go in elevation. Chef Tom wrote, "What typically happens is your baked goods get over leavened, meaning they rise faster than the wheat can hold the bubbles, and it falls. The trick: reduce the amount of baking powder (I live at 5000 ft and reduce it by half), and/or add 3 tbs flour per cake..." Another commenter told me to "add a little water" and Ruth Tobias directed me to this site. 
When I made the cake the second time (but with only half the glaze because I ran out of confectioners' sugar), it came out perfectly! I subtracted 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, put in an extra tablespoon of flour and I added an extra tablespoon of both yogurt and olive oil. The verdict? It tasted delicious AND it didn't sink. The pound cake had a perfect dome and I was finally getting around those pesky altitude problems. 
I decided to post Deb's recipe as it's written in her cookbook, with my adaptations for altitude (and some changes I made on my second go-around) in parenthesis. 
Hope you enjoy both of these winter citrus cakes. Serve with a side of tea and stay warm.
xo,
-Batya

Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake 
Adapted ever-so-slightly from Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman, and inspired by A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark
Note: Most of my adaptations were made in order to compensate for problems that can surface when you bake pound cake at high altitude (in my case, Colorado). Increasing liquids and decreasing leavening agents are noted in {parens}.
Yield: 1 loaf
Serves: 6-8 (Deb says 12. Not the case in our house.)
the Cake
Butter for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour {Altitude: I added 1 extra tablespoon} 
2 tablespoons freshly grated grapefruit zest, from 2 large grapefruits
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar (I use raw sugar in these Belgian Sugar Waffles. You can use granulated if you can't find the raw variety)
1/2 cup olive oil {Altitude: I added 1 extra tablespoon}
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder {Altitude: I reduced the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon}
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice (I used ruby red) 
1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt {I went with Noosa's Plain Yoghurt with Honey. It was wonderful in this recipe. I've also made the cake with buttermilk. Both work well. Add 1 extra tablespoon of buttermilk or yogurt, to compensate for altitude. You could probably also add 1 teaspoon of honey.}
the Syrup
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
the Glaze
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
Pinch of salt

Preparations
make the cake: Heat the over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, rub the grapefruit zest into the sugars with your fingertips. This will bruise it and help release as much grapefruit essence as possible. Whisk in the oil until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a second bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 tablespoons of  grapefruit juice and buttermilk/or yogurt. Add the flour and buttermilk/or yogurt mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-and-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

Spread the batter in the pan, smooth the top, and rap the pan on the counter a few times to ensure there are no air bubbles trapped. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
make the grapefruit syrup: Combine 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1/3 cup grapefruit juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

When the cake is finished, let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then invert it onto a rack set over a tray. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick, then spoon or brush the grapefruit syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool completely while it absorbs the syrup.
make the glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar, grapefruit juice, and pinch of salt in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Pour the glaze over the top of cooled cake, and allow glaze to drizzle decoratively down the sides.
* * *
Lemon Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa At Home)
Note: Follow the general guidelines for baking at altitude stated above.
Cook Time: 50 min

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients
For the cake: 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

3 extra-large eggs

2 heaping teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions
   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
   Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
   Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
   When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.


Follow Me on Pinterest

17 comments:

  1. What fabulous looking cakes! It took me a while to get over the altitude problems here in Boulder. Ive been able to solve most issues (never did have any issues with muffins)...but please don't get me started on my scone saga!! :) Happy New Year, doll!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. I'm getting a handle on it. But yikes, scones. I dare not even try :)

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. light, moist, citrusy, unfussy. it's a great cake for tea!

      Delete
  3. These both look so delicious...and moist! I've been following your journey-- and I hope this year is "smooth sailing" indeed :) Leave 2012 in the past. This is a whole new year! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Claudia. I always get nervous writing about life's difficulties-- because there are so many truly wonderful moments and we have a great life here-- but family illness and our living situation were tough to get through. But we did it :) Smooth sailing for all!

      Delete
  4. Looks beautiful and very moist! The altitude and you just need to et to know each other better...best wishes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Linda. The altitude won't win this game! I'm getting a handle on it-- finally! Thanks in large part to all the bakers and chefs I've communicated with in Colorado and Utah. Hooray for sharing tips. Best to you!

      Delete
  5. I hope 2013 is treating you well. I'm so glad to see that your recipe is here after you mentioned it on my blog. I've been meaning to try Ina's cake; it has been making the rounds lately so I know it must be spectacular! Thanks for the explanation about the fallen cake, too. A commenter complained that my banana bread recipe fell for her so maybe she was baking it at a high altitude and should adjust the ingredients.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate, 2013 is treating us well so far. Hope the same is true for you! Ina's cake is a total gem. And now every time I make it, it has a perfect dome :) I wonder if your commenter was baking at altitude. Some things come out exactly the same as they would at sea level, and some baked goods need serious tweaking. I found out the hard way, but it's easy to remedy. Thanks for commenting. Happy weekend!

      Delete
  6. I found you via the Culinary Content Network and have been enjoying stalking your blog for the past half hour. :) You have lovely photos and great stories to accompany. This was a great discovery! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh great, Courtney. The CCN is such a wonderful culinary community. I've been active on the FB site -- and all the feedback and advice has helped me deal with my little altitude-related problems (no more!). You can stalk all you want! Glad you liked the stories and posts. I always hope that they are relatable/interesting. I went to your blog and I'll be combing through it to find great Pin recipes; there are lots. I noticed you are from Ohio. I just made Candied Buckeyes for the first time. They were so good! Happy cooking.

      Delete
  7. Thank you for this wonderful recipe (with altitude suggestions!). Your writing and photos are wonderful too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. That's always nice to hear. The recipes are usually adapted, but the writing and photos are my own-- so it's great to hear you appreciate them :) Best!

      Delete
  8. You picked one of my favorite SK recipes! She just won The Food 52 Piglet (judged by Danny Meyer) and he mentioned this recipe several times in his review. It is the cake I make over and over. Nice photos!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Nico! Thanks for the comment. Yes, I read the review and I also met Deb last night. She was in Denver for a book signing-- pretty cool! I noticed that my traffic on this post is way up -- the Food52 piece explains that. I'm feeling like it might be time to make this cake again...real soon, like now!

    ReplyDelete