This was the post that was supposed to go up last week before we drove down the Cape for Easter, but then things got all biblical in the blogosphere. Typepad, my blog hosting service, was cyberattacked on the eve of Good Friday, rendering thousands of blogs inaccessible, mine included. FotF was resurrected on Saturday, then crucified again on Easter Sunday in ironic fashion.
We were too busy eating quiche and jellybeans to really care on Easter. I sort of noticed on Monday, but then promptly forgot because the Boston Marathon was so exciting! Americans like Meb and Shalane digging deep for #BostonStrong was an amazing thing to watch. But then on Tuesday, when service was still down, I definitely noticed. I needed to write. Was my blog coming back? Ever?
I hadn't considered a scenario in which you could actually lose access to all of your work indefinitely. I took it for granted that my eight years worth of words and pictures would always be there until the day I died and stopped paying the bills. Now I wonder: is that really true?
FotF seems to be running smoothly at the moment, so thank you for your patience. Also, thanks to Typepad for pulling those all-nighters. Hopefully, that's the last time this happens, but if you should arrive here to find a big empty space again in the future, check my Twitter or Facebook feeds for status updates. I also have a space on Medium that can serve as my emergency backup blog in a pinch. Because there ain't no emergency like a food blog emergency.
Anyway, here's that cake. You're probably guessing it's Lemon Poppy Seed, and you're close but no cigar. This version is made with grapefruit, an adaptation of the Grapefruit Buttermilk Cake in my book. It's tender and moist with a subtle, citrusy flavor. The 8YO adores it. It's something sweet and bright and hopeful. Just do me a favor and don't give any to the hackers. No cake for them.
Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cake
I prefer tart white and pink grapefruits for baking, but the sweeter red grapefruits will also work.
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest (shiny yellow or pink part only)
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/3 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) buttermilk
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (from about 1/2 grapefruit)
1/3 cup (70 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
1/2 cup (65 g) confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Butter a 91/2 x 51/2-inch (24 x 14-cm) loaf pan. Tear out a sheet of parchment paper. Fold it in half or thirds so that it can lie inside the whole width of the pan, ends hanging over the long sides of the pan. This paper hammock makes it easier to lift the cake out of the pan later.
For the cake, mix the sugar with the grapefruit zest in a small bowl. Rub the mixture together with your fingers so the zest releases its oils.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar mixture until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and mix again.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Add one third of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Alternate adding the buttermilk and the rest of the dry ingredients in halves to the sugar mixture, mixing until just combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl in between. Add the poppy seeds with the final addition of dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the top is golden and puffed, and a toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the syrup, combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil the syrup 1 minute and then remove it from the heat. With a toothpick or skewer, poke holes all over the top of the cake. Pour the syrup over the cake, a little at a time, brushing it with a pastry brush to ensure even soaking. When all of the syrup has been added, let the cake cool completely. To remove the cake from the pan, lift up the edges of the parchment paper and set the cake on a plate, then slide the paper out from underneath.
For the glaze, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of grapefruit juice with the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. You want the consistency to be loose enough to drizzle, but not so thin that it soaks into the cake. If it’s too thin, add more sugar. If it’s too thick, whisk in some water a few drops at a time. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake with a whisk (if it dribbles over the sides, all the better). The cake can be stored at room temperature covered in plastic wrap for 2 to 3 days.