An honest word about baking: I'm not good at it at all. Truth be told, like most things I'm not good at, I don't even enjoy it that much! I know... why did I even start this food blog. Perhaps a few more decades in the kitchen will lend me more confidence with a mixing bowl, but today the scientific mysteries of baking intimidate me to no end.
I feel fairly confident in my ability to replicate a recipe by carefully following directions, but the things I love most about being in the kitchen (carefree inspiration, changing things on a whim, being in charge!) go out the window with baking. What if I want to use honey instead of sugar, buttermilk instead of yogurt, oil instead of butter... Do I need to adjust the dry ingredients or leavening agents? Who knows?!
All that to say, I tested this recipe several times and it works, I promise! I went easy on the sugar and used buttermilk for a tangier cake that really lets the citrus sing. Olive oil cakes, lighter than pound cakes, have such a delicious, moist crumb, and the buttermilk only elevates them!
Because it's truly a crime to make cornbread without buttermilk, I regularly find myself with a half carton that needs to be used before spoiling. Thankfully, I've developed an arsenal of recipes to help me avoid wasting perfectly tangy and delicious buttermilk, this cake being one of them! You could easily substitute the grapefruit for any other citrus you have on hand, as well as the nuts. Salted pistachios, coarsely chopped, are amazing here!
olive oil cake :: grapefruit, almond, buttermilk
Makes one loaf
Adapted from two Smitten Kitchen recipes, grapefruit yogurt cake and blood orange olive oil cake. While this cake is too sweet for my breakfast taste on most mornings, I'm not going to say I wouldn't eat a leftover slice with a morning cup of coffee. It keeps well for a couple of days in an airtight container.
What you'll need:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
scant 3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 grapefruit (zest and juice)
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sliced almonds
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 T freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan, set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl whisk buttermilk, sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest and almond extract. Working in small batches, add dry ingredients to the wet, whisking to combine. Slowly pour olive oil into the batter, folding with a rubber spatula to incorporate.
Pour batter into loaf pan, and bake for 50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
While the cake is cooking, make a grapefruit syrup by juicing the zested grapefruit (reserve 3 tablespoons of its juice for later). Pour the rest (1/3-1/2 cups) into a small sauce pan with 1 tablespoon sugar. Heat over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
When finished, let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Place cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, and turn out the cake onto the rack. Using a kabob stick or a butter knife, pierce the cake with 10-12 small holes, not piercing through to the bottom. While cake is still hot, pour the grapefruit syrup overtop and allow syrup to run into the holes. Cool completely.
Make glaze by stirring 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice into 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Add additional tablespoon or juice if needed.
Pour glaze over the cooled cake and immediately top with sliced almonds.