What Do I Bake This Time of Year?
Updated: Mar 16
Despite the ongoing rain in Southern California, Daylight saving means SPRING IS HERE, which means my favorite time of year is just around the corner, which means all you Californians better start picking and pressing your lemons, limes and grapefruits. It’s time to celebrate the turning of the seasons. Goodbye winter!
Baking is my form of celebrating, so here's a favorite recipe — Grapefruit Tea Cake with Cardamom Glaze.
This cake has a unique COVID origin. In March of 2020 I quit my job as a pastry chef at a boutique cafe and wine bar in Santa Barbara and I packed up my apartment. Instead of flying as planned to Florence, Italy for a culinary intensive, I drove an hour south to Malibu and moved into my father’s small home nestled above the hills of Corral Canyon.
I harvested all of his sun-ripened grapefruits and planted a modest garden next to his house. I needed to do something with the copious amounts of fruit so I started baking. I developed this grapefruit tea cake and probably made the recipe every week, slowly tweaking and perfecting the loaf until my brother told me I had to stop or else he would get “too fat”. To his remark, I’m proud of the finished product and I hope you enjoy it just as much as he did.
Grapefruit Tea Cake with cardamom glaze
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 whole grapefruit
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of 1 whole grapefruit
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tiny pinch cardamom (about 1/16 tsp)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a loaf pan with olive oil or non-stick spray and set aside.
In small bowl combine sugar and zest. Pinch with hands, until fragrant. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, sour cream & ricotta.
In a second bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to batter and mix with the whisk. Slowly fold in olive oil with a spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 60 to 65 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the grapefruit juice and sugar in a small pan over medium heat until it sugar dissolves, mixing constantly for two to three minutes. Set aside.
When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place onto a cooling wrack. While it is still warm, cut into top of cake with butter knife, 8-10 times. Slowly brush the grapefruit juice mixture over the cake & allow it to soak in. You'll want to do this slowly and work in batches as it may take several minutes for the cake to absorb all of the liquid. Cool completely.
For the glaze, combine the last three ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon or fork and pour over the cake once cooled. Let harden. Serve with earl grey tea and enjoy!
I am ever so thankful for a summer of citrus, sun-kissed beach days and my first two clients who were willing to take a chance on me and my food. If had never lived in Malibu, I would have never be where I am today. And there is nowhere else I’d rather be.
Now let's get baking.
I hope you found this brief article helpful. Please scroll all the way down and comment below or reach out with any questions you might have of your own at firstname.lastname@example.org!
xoxo & bon appétit