Showing posts with label grapefruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grapefruit. Show all posts

Thursday, February 23

Calm - {Grapefruit Cake}

Over the past month, I've enjoyed waking up to quietness and going about my morning routine alone. I've become accustomed to the ease and speed of making breakfast for one and am strangely comforted by hours of wordless peace spent in an ambient living room. It's been calming after months of enjoyable but tiring trips to and from friends apartments to just... Be in my own place.

I've found a new routine for my Saturdays, and it involves folding myself up on the couch, burying my legs in my pullover and balancing a mug of enriched coffee on my kneecaps. My garage sale coffee maker, who's loyally followed me through three moves, fills the otherwise silent room with comforting sputtering and clicking. My only companion, that Mr. Coffee, is the in-house DJ all morning.

I eat folded eggs on toast, all Pollock'd up with Frank's Red Hot, while scanning my planner for the day's obligations and chores. Homework. Reading. A half-assed shopping list. Slowly distorted by a dusting of crumbs, the tasks below become easier to swallow as I file them away for the coming hours.

I take time each morning to admire the cool blue glow of the dawn on drawn shades; typically while folded up on the couch with that first mug of the day. It's a mundane thing that I, for whatever reason, look forward to after peeling away covers and a thin veil of sleep in my bedroom. I guess it's become the anchor of my morning, that silly illumination, reminding me that the day is just outside my window, patiently waiting for me to come out and play.

The weekends now, after quite some time, are mine.

Grapefruit Cake via A Thought for Food and Saveur
I asked for grapefruit ideas on Twitter a few days ago and was reminded of this recipe by Rosie of Sweetapolita. I was not disappointed! The cake comes out buttery and nicely dense. I'd like to try it with brown sugar in place of white and bananas instead of grapefruit - I'll get back to you when I do!

1 grapefruit
3/4 c + 1 Tbsp (115g) flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp (57g) butter, softened
2/3 c (131g) sugar
2/3 egg*, room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c (60ml) milk
4 oz (113g) cream cheese
1 c (156g) powdered sugar, more or less to taste

*You could probably use one egg and it would be fine, but I beat the egg in one bowl and scooped out about one third before adding to the recipe

Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil and line a 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.

Zest the grapefruit and set aside. Peel and segment the grapefruit, place the slices in a small bowl. Into another small bowl, squeeze the remaining pulp (all the bits that are not segments) and reserve the juice for the recipe.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until very light and fluffy, about five minutes. Beat in the egg and mix until well-combined, about two minutes. Add three tablespoons of grapefruit juice and the vanilla and beat to combine, about two additional minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Dump in half of the dry ingredients and mix briefly to incorporate. Add the milk and mix just until combined, then follow with the remaining dry ingredients.

Place half of the reserved grapefruit segments into the bottom of the prepared baking tin. Pour the batter over the top and smooth to cover. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack.

While the cake cools, prepare the frosting. Melt the cream cheese in the microwave and whisk in the powdered sugar, 1-2 tablespoons of remaining grapefruit juice and a few pinches reserved grapefruit zest. Spread over cooled cake and top with the second half of segmented grapefruit.

Monday, January 30

Fit - {Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream}

My budget-friendly, no-name, strap-covered, lace-up, too-small work shoes have finally worn in. Over the past month, I've gotten used their song over the wooden floors of the office and become accustomed to the funky way they make me walk up and down stairs.

I've discovered the ever-flowing source of coffee in the back room and - thanks to the help of our office assistant, C - located its neatly organized accompaniments within the nearby drawers and cabinets. Today I even learned how to make a decent pot under coworker N's instruction.

So, have you guessed? I got the internship! I apologize for my absence in recent weeks, but work, school and friends have been keeping me busy - and pleasantly so. I think, however, that things will be easing up now and I should be able to resume my regular posting schedule from this point forward. Huzzah!

But, back to work:

The office is so friendly and relaxed that I don't feel like I'm "at work" while I'm there. It's more like I'm hanging out with friends who just happen to be collaborating on cool projects 24/7. Does that sound weird? I can't decide. Either way, it's amazing and I plan to enjoy every second of it.

I credit much of my comfort to the presence of humor in the office - which I appreciate more than I'm capable of expressing - and the fact that everyone is so helpful and accepting and nice and witty and... Wow. I sound like a suck up. I swear that's not what I'm going for, but it's difficult to share the details of this experience without feeling like I'm coming off that way!

I'm learning so much from everyone and finally seeing the ways that things I've studied in class can be applied to life. I was even able to help analyze the results of a focus group in the same week that we went over them in one of my classes. Maybe it means nothing to you, but it was incredibly exciting for me! So much so that I emailed my boss at 9:48 on a Saturday night to let her know how giddy I was that I had, at that moment, just finished reading about focus groups in my textbook.

You know, because cool kids read market research textbooks on Saturday nights.

I certainly haven't learned everything there is to know and I ask lots of questions (computer ones, lately. I'm a PC in an overwhelmingly Mac world), but I'm settling in - and I love it!

But, before I get back to the stack of textbooks lovingly calling out to me from across my uncomfortably disheveled bedroom (can't wait to cleannnnn), I want to thank all of you for sticking with me, both when I am and am not here! Also, thanks for your continued encouragement - this blog was a large part of the reason I got the internship, and I couldn't have done it without your help!

All the best,

Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Vanilla Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream
I took these to work today and they were a hit! These cupcakes are tangy, bitter and sweet - definitely unique! Makes 15 cupcakes.

Printable Recipe

Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cupcakes adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

7/8 c (174g) sugar
zest of 2 grapefruit
1 1/3 c + 2 Tbsp (200g) flour
1/4 c cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/4 c (60g) butter
1/4 c (52g) shortening
1 egg yolk
3/4 c freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, cold
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 325F. This recipe yields 15 cupcakes, so line the appropriate amount of cupcake tins and set aside.

Place the sugar and grapefruit zest in a small bowl and rub together with your fingers until it looks like wet sand and is very fragrant. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds. Set aside.

In your mixing bowl, combine the butter and shortening and cream together until well combined, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl again and add the egg yolk and vanilla. Beat until just combined.

Alternating, add the dry ingredients and the grapefruit juice to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Begin with 1/3 of the dry, then add 1/2 of the wet, and repeat. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Be very careful not to over beat!

Take 1/3 of the whipped egg whites and fold it gently into the batter. Add the remaining egg whites and fold just until no streaks remain. Divide between the 15 cupcake liners and bake until the top springs back when pressed, 18-20 minutes. Cool pans on rack, de-panning the cakes after 2 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Grapefruit Syrup

1/2 grapefruit, juiced
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp water

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and strain, reserving the liquid and tossing out any solids.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

1 1/2 c (100g) strawberries, chopped
1 1/2 c (150g) rhubarb, chopped
1 Tbsp grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 c (50g) sugar

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer, uncovered, over medium low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and the jam is quite thick. Set aside to cool.

Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream

3 (100g) egg whites
2/3 c (130g) sugar
10 Tbsp (142g) butter, cubed and at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz (113g) cream cheese, cubed and at room temp

In the base of a double boiler, bring water to a simmer. In the top bowl (or just a bowl to place over a pan of simmering water) combine the egg whites and sugar and whisk constantly until the mixture is hot to the touch (160F on a candy thermometer if you want to be completely accurate), about five minutes depending on the original temperature of the eggs. When the mixture has warmed sufficiently, pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer and whip on high speed until the bottom of the bowl is room temperature, ten to fifteen minutes. When the bowl is no longer warm, turn the mixer to medium-low and begin adding the butter piece by piece. Let each chunk incorporate completely before adding the next and don't rush the process!

After all of the butter has been added, add the vanilla and turn the speed back to high. Whip for about 3 minutes or until the buttercream comes together. Turn the speed down to low and add the cream cheese, then mix on medium to fully incorporate.

Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cupcakes
Sharp knife
Grapefruit Syrup
Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Piping bag, piping tips, sprinkles and gum paste flowers to decorate, if desired

Using a sharp knife, cut a cylinder in the cupcake about 3/4s of the cupcake's height deep. Using a spoon, core out the center in one piece. Flip over and trim off part of the bottom.

Drizzle a little grapefruit syrup into the cavity, then drop in a spoonful of Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. Top with the circle of cupcake you cut out previously. Pierce the cupcake with a skewer and drizzle with a little more grapefruit syrup.

Top the cupcake with Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream and decorate as desired.

Tuesday, September 7

Babble - {Grapefruit Cupcakes with Honeyed Italian Meringue Buttercream}

One thing that I really like about college is that, for the most part and in the best way possible, no one knows anyone else. No one knows who you were in third grade, and no one cares. No one cares about the once infamous "popular kids" or all "popular things" they used to do. No one cares if you're "cool" or not because, as far as I can tell, that concept doesn't really exist in college. When it gets down to it, no one cares about anything but the fact that we are all, with a few exceptions, pretty gosh darn alone.

Which, although it may not sound like it, is a great thing. What I am want to highlight here is the fact that the imagined isolation stirs up the desire for conversation and companionship, which, oftentimes, makes it really really easy to make friends.

Well, that's my theory anyway, and I'm sticking to it. It's a good mindset, at the very least, to go into a room and just assume everyone could use a friend, right? It puts me in a good mood to think that everyone's willing to chat, and I've only been wrong once so far. Even then, it's not like it was a big deal. We just stopped talking after our initial introduction.

And I lived.

And I still keep talking.

And it still works.

Of course, my acquaintance and I don't necessarily become the best of friends, but I've met people in my classes with whom I've had solid relationships. And even if you do just talk while you're in class, that's better than sitting silently, right?

So, with this in mind, I have decided this:

I am not afraid.

And yet, with all of this positivity and optimism flitting about in my mind, I still have one class that I just could not meet anyone in.

Until today, anyway.

I know it sounds lame, but I was really psyching myself up for this class as I ventured across campus this afternoon. I was confident and determined; hell bent on introducing myself to at least one person before the prof began her lecture at 12:40. Even though we're just over a week into the semester, I was legitimately fearful that it was already too late to establish anything. The thought that everyone might complacent with their anonymity in the classroom was worrisome, and I really wasn't ok with it. I had a few classes last year that I never made friends in and - let me tell you - I hated them.

I wouldn't say I was stressed about all of this, but the pressure was certainly on as I maneuvered through the empty halls before class. The echo of my flip-flops supplied the backing of an imaginary army that would serve only to remind me of my loneliness as I paused to reach for the door. The momentum of the trailing silence crept up my spine in a heavy wave, making me doubtful - for the first time in a long time - of my intentions.

Maybe I wouldn't say anything.

I swung the door on its hinges, taking a small step inward as I tried to shake the insecurity from my shoulders.

But then the strangest thing happened.

A chorus from the middle of the room insisted upon my presence.

"Hey! Come sit with us! It's been too quiet in here."

From the unfamiliar faces came a string of names, introductions and greetings. I told them my name and slipped into a seat next to a smiling face, finally comfortable with my standing in the class.

Things are off to a good start.

I'd never seen a class be so involved with a lecture as this one was today. A, the guy who initially encouraged the comradery was, ironically, sleeping one seat away from me; but the rest of my peers were both answering and posing questions at a rate I'm simply not used to.

And it was so, so, SO nice to finally be able to turn to someone, a new friend, and tell them something I have been dying to say since the first day of class:

"Our prof sounds like Julia Child."

I really like where this year is going.

Grapefruit Cupcakes via Smitten Kitchen
This is a dense, nicely grapefruit-y cake recipe. I'm very tempted to try it out with orange. I love the crumb!
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 c (215 g) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 c (200 g) plus 1 Tbls sugar
3 tsp grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit)
1 c (235 ml) plain whole-milk yogurt
4 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 c (120 ml) vegetable oil
1/3 c (80 ml) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Line a cupcake tin with liners and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. In another bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and zest, rubbing between your fingers until moistened and fragrant. Whisk in the yogurt, the eggs, 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 cupcake pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cupcakes are done, allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, use a fork to poke holes in it and carefully, using a spoon, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool completely before frosting.

Honeyed Italian Meringue Buttercream
For step-by-step directions for making Italian Meringue Buttercream, please click here!

1/8 c (35 ml) water
1/2 c (105 g) sugar
3 egg whites
1/8 c (25 g) sugar
1/2 c (120 g) butter, softened, cut into small pieces
Honey, to taste

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer.

Heat the 1/2 c sugar and water on the stove to 245F stirring occasionally only after the sugar has been dissolved. When it is within the range of 230F to 235F, begin whipping the egg whites. When they get to soft peaks, begin adding the remaining 1/8 c sugar and continue whipping to medium peaks, being careful not to overbeat. When the syrup is the correct temperature, slowly pour it into the eggs with the mixer on high. After fully incorporated, beat the frosting 7-10 minutes until the outside of the bowl is room temp. Begin adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, beating until fully incorporated. Keep whipping until the frosting comes together, then add the vanilla and honey.