Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cake

Some days I love the blogosphere. Other days, I can’t be bothered. Then many days, I think I wonder why in Hell I started this #365daysofbaking challenge. WTF was I thinking?

I wasn’t.

It does give me something to do most days, but it’s also making me gain weight. I worked hard to lose over 20 pounds last year, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to put it back on; and about 4 pounds have “mysteriously” creeped back on since the beginning of the new year. Imagine that.

But, come on… things like Beer & Bacon Brittle, Sweet & Tangy Orange Scones, Better Than Anything Toffee, Grapefruit Marmalade and Blueberry Bread – shall I go on?? – are bringing me to my knees.

So even if my friends really didn’t want to see me, they like me more because after I taste a nibble, I give all my goodies away. But even some of them are starting to say, “You’re trying to make me fat.” I simply look at them and say, “No. I’m just trying not to look like a water buffalo. I’m just spreading the love.”

I digress. But back to the blogosphere. I suppose some people actually read my posts, and some just read the title. I think I know who both are. I suppose I like you both. Validation in the digital era. (1)

Either way, The Sunday Crumble joined me on my blogging journey, and when I checked them out, I joined them on theirs – cause food people love other people who love food. Say that 5 times really fast. Plus, I got a few tasty morsels to try out for my #365daysofbaking, like this Grapefruit Poppy Seed Pound Cake.

I submit to you Eileen’s picture below. Eileen, I might need to drive to NJ and get some bloody food picture lessons from you. I love my kitchen lights, but they suckevoo at giving me great pictures most days because of their yellow cast. 

And Eileen, I don’t know if this is your own recipe or one you stumbled upon, but I looooooveeee you for either scenario. In the end, isn’t it yours since you made it??

My Thoughts After Baking:

You should all know me by now: I don’t follow rules, I break them 80% of the time. So when Eileen told me to grease a tube pan or a loaf pan, guess what I did? I greased my 8 baby bundt pans – in reality, they’re just lil’ domed tube pans with cool lines down the sides, right? Besides, I can figure this shit out. And I kinda did. I didn’t want a whole cake that I was going to hork down all by my lonesome – I wanted to share the love with others. IMG_7175

  1. I used my trusty Zeroll 2016 Blue #16 2.07 oz. Universal EZ Disher Portion Scoop (cheapest price I found online). I filled each baby bundt with 2 scoops, so if I trust their weight measurements – and I am quite sure they have taken the time to do something I wouldn’t, aka figure out how much that scoop actually holds – then I added 4.14 oz to each baby bundt.
    1. Take a moment and say that whole bit from Zeroll to scoop five times really fast. Good luck on that.
    2. I just call it my blue muffin scoop.

      4.14 oz = too much batter
  2. The 2 scoops with the blue scoop was too much. Maybe 3 scoops from Zeroll’s 2030 Black #30 1.03 oz. Universal EZ Disher Portion Scoop (which I also have) would be better – it’d be 1 full oz less.
    1. I shoulda priced these out better myself when I ordered mine. I paid almost 2x times as much through Amazon. Go Webstaurant Store.
  3. The wee bundts took between 40-45 minutes in my oven. With less batter, it’d likely be about 35 minutes of baking.
  4. With the 4+ oz of batter, what I got was these cute little bowler hat looking cakes.
    1. I know you think I picked at the cake on the left, and that’s why there’s a small dent. I did not. This cake if very moist and, like a baby who doesn’t want to leave the warmth of its mommy’s tummy, this cake did not want to leave the warmth of its pan. Some of the cake stuck to the pan… and I greased them monkeys good.
  5. But, the rim was bugging me, sooooo…IMG_7179
  6. I trimmed off the rim. On one hand, it looked a bit more uniform, but on the other hand, it looked half-eaten. Not the best plan when you’re selling these or even giving them away. IMG_7178
  7. I decided to leave the rest on, and go with the bowler hat look. IMG_7180
  8. This is a very dense, moist cake, and is dee-vine without the glaze if you want a more subtle grapefruit flavor, but one of the beauties of using Ruby Reds in this recipe is that combo of tart and sweet. Go balls to the wall and make the glaze – the zest and juice bring out the bright pop of sweet-tart we all associate with Ruby Red grapefruits in this cake. You’ll be happy you made the glaze.
    1. If you’re going to make baby bundts, I would make more glaze.
    2. You could also do powered sugar for a thicker glaze that won’t completely soak in like the granulated sugar one does. No foul that the glaze soaks in… it just adds to this cake. It all boils down to what kind of presentation you want, I suppose.
    3. If you’re making the granulated sugar glaze, and you’re serving this as a dessert, then I’d add the glaze just before serving.

I loved this cake so much. The poppy seed was an unexpected delight, adding a slightly nutty flavor to a tart sweet cake. Even my twerp-ass middle schoolers thoroughly enjoyed this cake. We’ll call it a serious win. Eileen, you’re my Martha inspiration today. Maybe we should start our own East Coast baking show…

A Kitchen Lesson So You Can Say You Learned Something New Today:

  1. Eileen tells us to “Lightly spoon the flour into measuring cup and level with a knife.” Someone taught me this eons ago when I first starting baking in my 20s, and I didn’t know it, so let me share if you’re not in the know:
    1. Flour is heavy. Ever hefted a 50 pound sack over your shoulder?? If you just dip your 1 cup measuring cup into the flour and just scoop it out like a Neanderthal, pressing it down with your Neanderthal hands, trust me, it will weight MUCH MORE than a cup of flour that has been delicately and rightly spooned in and leveled off with a knife. In one of the King Arthur cooking classes (highly recommended, I might humbly add), the instructor suggested stirring the flour before spooning it into the measuring cup, and then leveling it off with a knife.
      1. As Paul Hollywood  from the British Baking Show would say, “This is the right proper method.” (Really This is the British Baking Show dude’s last name?? Hollywood??)
    2. If a recipe gives you weighted measure, use weighted measure. If you bake, invest in a kitchen scale. You don’t have to sell off your first kid to get one, unless you want to because the kid is a pooper who warrants selling off; cheap ones do the trick just fine, but weight definitely matters when it comes to flours. Too much flour equals crappy cake, and who wants that kinda heartache in their lives??
  2. One of the next pieces is to “beat butter and sugars on high speed until pale and fluffy, a full 5 minutes.” Most people do not cream the butter long enough. The science behind this is two-fold:
    1. You want the butter to kind of absorb the sugar. This allows the fat cells to form around the sugar to help build the emulsion needed in the cake.
    2. Beating for a full five minutes will add air into the mixture, which will create smaller air cells, which will mean a finer crumb to the cake.
    3. This Serious Eats article explains it pretty well, and while the article is relative to cookies, much of the same science exists in cakes.
  3. This is not a potty or a boxed cake mix where you dump and go. This recipe asks you to  “Add the flour mixture, mixing only until it is incorporated, alternately with the sour cream, beating on low speed, beginning and ending with the flour.” There is a scientific reason for this, as well.
    1. Baking is science.
    2. Adding the dry and wet ingredients alternately ensures the liquid – in this case, the sour cream – will be properly incorporated.
    3. It also helps with the formation of gluten which helps bind the cake together.
  4. Now you can say you learned something. Maybe you got schooled…

Science is your friend in baking.  

Just because I know and understand the rules doesn’t mean I always apply them. Cause that’s just how I roll.

Poppy Seed cake picture, TED baking science GIF, Martha meme


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