This spiced grapefruit tea loaf has a tender crumb and is delicately scented with grapefruit rind, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice- an understated way to bake for the holidays, with nary a peppermint stick in sight.
Hey internet buddies! I’m going to be posting super sporadically until after this nutty holiday season is over, but I’ll be in periodically. Winter in general is such a buzzkill for me, especially with blogging. For one, there’s just too much life going on to maintain any sense of routine (don’t ask me how the gym’s going. Just… no.). And by the time I have managed to plan, and shop, and clean my 64-square foot kitchen (hahaha not really, that’s Ben’s job), and cook something interesting… there’s no sunlight left for photography! Curses! My life is so hard…
If all of this sounds like I’m making pathetic excuses it’s because I absolutely am. But when I get down on myself about it I remember that nobody’s paying me to do this. So HA! Anyway, I’m here today and that’s just ducky. So, it’s about time to start with the holiday baking, if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m not going to lie to you- I am not into that sort of thing. Cookie exchange, while lovely in theory, is clearly a construct that discriminates against those of us with 18 inches of workable countertop space (which is, in my case, literally a large IKEA cutting board situated over my two right-hand stove burners, which are long-defunct, by the way). And frankly, there’s a limit to how much peppermint and red and green sprinkles I can eat, year after sugary year.
What little holiday baking I actually do, I prefer to be a little more nuanced in flavor, and a lot less on-the-nose [pretend I made a hilarrrrrious Rudolph joke here]. Enter, today’s recipe: spiced grapefruit tea loaf. Flavors of citrus and spice are thematically, undeniably “winter”, and they work so well together in this context. The body of the cake is just delicately scented with finely grated grapefruit rind, cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice, with a texture adjacent to pound cake. A simple syrup with grapefruit juice gets poured over the cake after baking to give the edges a tart-sweet finish, and then a thick layer of simple icing (topped with more rind, if you like) sits on top. Basically, if holiday treats can be equated with holiday pop songs, then candy cane marshmallow m&m fudge is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”, while this grapefruit spice tea loaf is Joni Mitchell’s “River”, minus all the sadness and self-loathing (oh, Joni…).
This recipe is based largely on Ina Garten’s very highly-rated lemon yogurt cake, which is one of my longtime favorite recipes and is ultra-dependable and worth trying out, if you haven’t yet.
- 1 t. butter
- 1 1/2 c. flour, plus extra for dusting pan
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1/4 t. ground cardamom
- 1/8 t. allspice
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 c. full fat greek yogurt (I love Fage the best)
- 1 1/3 c. sugar, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 T. freshly grated red grapefruit zest
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/2 c. vegetable or other neutrally flavored oil
- 1/3 c. freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1-2 T. red grapefruit juice
- Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease the bottom and inner sides of a loaf pan with butter, then sprinkle in a small handful of flour. Tip and shake the pan to distribute the flour around evenly, then tap out the excess.
- In a large mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 c. flour, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- Separately, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Whisk into the dry ingredients. Fold in the oil until mixture is smooth and even.
- Spread batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool cake for 15 minutes.
- While cake is in oven, heat remaining 1/3 c. sugar and 1/3 c. grapefruit juice in a small saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely.
- After cake has cooled, remove from pan and transfer to a wire baking rack. Slowly pour the grapefruit simple syrup evenly over the top and sides of the cake, glazing the entire surface as well as possible. Allow to drip.
- Place powdered sugar in a bowl. Add 1 T. grapefruit juice and stir until combined. If needed, add more juice a couple of drops at a time until icing reaches a thick but spreadable consistency.
- Spread over the top of the cake, then grate some more zest over the top if desired.