Whoa..it's been a long time since my last "in the kitchen" post. I've been having fun sharing my adventures of travels near and far on that "other" blog that I fiddle with. But what better way to return than with a celebration for a friend. My dear friend Annie(who luckily is also my neighbor), had a birthday yesterday.
We celebrated her day by sharing a lovely Italian dinner at a neighborhood trattoria. While we chatted and laughed over a robust Chianti and freshly made pasta (mine canneloni and hers orrechiete), our most delightful waiter Roy, charmed us with stories of his family in Italy, wines of the region and a huge smile. He went on to teach us two new Italian words..Maremoto (tsunami) and Terremoto (earthquake), just in case we happen to be caught in this type of disaster on our next visit to Italy...a future visit, yes, but hopefully Terremoto or a Maremoto will not be in the picture! After this truly delicious meal, and lengthy discussions about our childhoods and husbands, our evening drew to a close. But not until it was topped off with a creamy, rum-based tiramisu, complete with candle and brought to the table by Roy, our Italian-Argentinian waiter. The three of us (including the chef) sang a lovely rendition of "Happy Birthday" to my dear girlie girl, Ann.
This past weekend as I thought about how I wanted to celebrate Ann on her birthday, it occurred to me that I should bake a cake. Now I can't really recall the last cake I made, but it's been awhile, last spring maybe, but Annie had given me some Meyer lemons and I knew I wanted to make her something with these fragrant favorites of hers. As I was searching around, I came across a recipe for "The Brown Derby's Grapefruit Cake". Perfeto! Reading through the recipe, (which all good bakers should do before even attempting to bake anything), I realized I didn't know if Annie even liked grapefruit. It's my opinion that you either like grapefruit or you don't. It's very different from liking oranges or even lemons, and can be quite bitter. But I went ahead with it, for a couple of reasons. I loved the Brown Derby restaurant. I went there as a young girl with my mom many years ago in Hollywood before it closed up and they tore it down. It was such a cool place..very old Hollywood. Second reason was that I knew I could make a few adjustments that would make it more of lemony.
Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake (adapted from LA Times Magazine)
1 2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs, separated
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. cup grapefruit juice (I used 1 T. Meyer lemon juice, 1 tsp. grapefruit juice)
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
Preheat oven to 325. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Separate eggs. Beat egg white and cream of tartar to a stiff peak and set aside. Beat yolks until fluffy and pale yellow. Combine water, oil, grapefruit juice and fruit zests. Slowly stream water mixture into egg yolks. Fold egg-yolk mix into egg-white mix (be gentle here!). Incrementally add dry ingredients to wet mixture in 4 additions. Pour batter into cake pans. Bake 20 minutes then rotate and bake an additional 25 minutes. Let cool completely.
1/3 cup butter, room temp (I always use European butter..this time Irish)
1 1/4 cups cream cheese, room temp
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp grapefruit zest
1 3/4 tsp grapefruit juice (I used mostly lemon juice)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
With paddle attachment, beat softened butter on medium setting until smooth. Add cream cheese and mix until thoroughly blended. Add powdered sugar in 1/4-cup increments, making sure it’s thoroughly incorporated after each addition. Add zest, juice and extract.
|Annie and I..we're big on celebrating!|