Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Grapefruit and olive oil cake with bittersweet chocolate

I've been away. From this blog, from my apartment. While I was gone, some interstate friends came to stay at my place. Sadly, our paths didn't cross, but I had just enough time before leaving for the airport to make them a cake so I felt like there was a little bit of me there to greet them.

Though I was headed for summer later that day, it was winter in Sydney and that means citrus. The seasonality of that food family is consistently strange to me as its bright burst of flavour seems more suited to warmer months (when you feel like quenching your thirst with orange juice, tucking into grapefuit for breakfast or squeezing lime into gin and tonics) than the colder ones but maybe in these darker parts of the year we need it more. I'm sure nature had some sort of plan. 

This cake is made with grapefruit, an underused citrus, in my opinion. It's fresh and zingy and pretty orange-pink (if you use the ruby sort, which I'm powerless to resist). The flavour comes from both its zest, and juice - which is intensified by boiling it down to half its quantity. No need to dirty a food processor or a stand mixer. Two bowls will suffice - one for the wet ingredients, one for the dry. The two come together, chopped chocolate is added and it bakes in the oven for just under an hour, enough time to pack a suitcase or have a cup of tea and read the paper (having packed well in advance), depending on what type of traveller you are. But whatever type that is, odds are you'll think about that cake all the time you're away and make it again upon your return... and eat two slices for morning tea with the heater on watching the rain, half in summer, half in winter, which through the haze of jetlag seems somehow very right.

Grapefruit and olive oil cake with bittersweet chocolate
Adapted from a recipe by Tara O'Brady of Seven Spoons, based on an original recipe by Ashley Rodriguez

The olive oil and yoghurt keep this cake beautifully moist and fresh for days if you store it in an airtight container, lending it well to being made in advance. If you're new to olive oil in baking, the original recipe suggests using half olive oil and half a neutral flavoured oil, like canola. I did and it worked well.

for cake
1/2 cup / 120ml freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, divided 
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated grapefruit zest, divided 
1/2 cup / 125g whole-milk plain yoghurt (I used Greek)
3 large eggs 
2/3 cup / 160ml extra-virgin olive oil 
3/4 cup / 150g sugar 
1 3/4 cups / 235g all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoons baking soda 
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt (I used Maldon)
4 oz / 110g bittersweet chocolate, chopped 

for glaze
1 tablespoon marmalade
1/4 cup / 60ml grapefruit juice
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour/line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Add 1/2 cup / 120ml grapefruit juice to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the juice by half. Cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest, yoghurt, eggs, olive oil, and reduced grapefruit juice and whisk to mix well. 

In a large bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix until everything is well blended. Stir in the chocolate.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the hot oven. Bake until the cake is deeply brown and set and springs back gently when pressed, 50 to 55 minutes.

Let the cake cook in the pan for 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, combine grapefruit juice with sugar and marmalade in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stirring, bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring now and again. Remove from the heat and cool to warm before spooning over the cake.

Slice thickly.

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