Calm – {Grapefruit Cake}

Over the past month, I’ve enjoyed waking up to quietness and going about my morning routine alone. I’ve become accustomed to the ease and speed of making breakfast for one and am strangely comforted by hours of wordless peace spent in an ambient living room. It’s been calming after months of enjoyable but tiring trips to and from friends apartments to just… Be in my own place.

I’ve found a new routine for my Saturdays, and it involves folding myself up on the couch, burying my legs in my pullover and balancing a mug of enriched coffee on my kneecaps. My garage sale coffee maker, who’s loyally followed me through three moves, fills the otherwise silent room with comforting sputtering and clicking. My only companion, that Mr. Coffee, is the in-house DJ all morning.

I eat folded eggs on toast, all Pollock’d up with Frank’s Red Hot, while scanning my planner for the day’s obligations and chores. Homework. Reading. A half-assed shopping list. Slowly distorted by a dusting of crumbs, the tasks below become easier to swallow as I file them away for the coming hours.

I take time each morning to admire the cool blue glow of the dawn on drawn shades; typically while folded up on the couch with that first mug of the day. It’s a mundane thing that I, for whatever reason, look forward to after peeling away covers and a thin veil of sleep in my bedroom. I guess it’s become the anchor of my morning, that silly illumination, reminding me that the day is just outside my window, patiently waiting for me to come out and play.

The weekends now, after quite some time, are mine.

Grapefruit Cake via A Thought for Food and Saveur
I asked for grapefruit ideas on Twitter a few days ago and was reminded of this recipe by Rosie of Sweetapolita. I was not disappointed! The cake comes out buttery and nicely dense. I’d like to try it with brown sugar in place of white and bananas instead of grapefruit – I’ll get back to you when I do!

1 grapefruit
3/4 c + 1 Tbsp (115g) flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp (57g) butter, softened
2/3 c (131g) sugar
2/3 egg*, room temp
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 c (60ml) milk
4 oz (113g) cream cheese
1 c (156g) powdered sugar, more or less to taste

*You could probably use one egg and it would be fine, but I beat the egg in one bowl and scooped out about one third before adding to the recipe

Preheat the oven to 350F. Oil and line a 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan.

Zest the grapefruit and set aside. Peel and segment the grapefruit, place the slices in a small bowl. Into another small bowl, squeeze the remaining pulp (all the bits that are not segments) and reserve the juice for the recipe.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, then set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until very light and fluffy, about five minutes. Beat in the egg and mix until well-combined, about two minutes. Add three tablespoons of grapefruit juice and the vanilla and beat to combine, about two additional minutes, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Dump in half of the dry ingredients and mix briefly to incorporate. Add the milk and mix just until combined, then follow with the remaining dry ingredients.

Place half of the reserved grapefruit segments into the bottom of the prepared baking tin. Pour the batter over the top and smooth to cover. Bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack.

While the cake cools, prepare the frosting. Melt the cream cheese in the microwave and whisk in the powdered sugar, 1-2 tablespoons of remaining grapefruit juice and a few pinches reserved grapefruit zest. Spread over cooled cake and top with the second half of segmented grapefruit.


  1. says

    I discovered your site recently and I'm AMAZED (that's right, only capital letters can adequately express my level of amazement) at what an accomplished baker you are at such a young age! I still haven't fully mastered the art of layer cakes and often end up in tears over a top layer that slides around (I know, refrigerate! I'm just way too impatient…) On top of that, the

  2. says

    mornings by yourself are the best! On the weekends, I typically wake up hours before my man, and just having that solitude is lovely. <br /><br />I&#39;ve been thinking about grapefruit cakes too, so now I&#39;ll have to give this one a try

    • says

      Thank you very much! I guess they kind of fit your layout, huh? Orange and honey is such a good combo and it would be great here. BTW, the rolls you tweeted about look awesome and I just bought another bag of oranges so I&#39;m probably gonna give them a go πŸ˜€

  3. says

    I love the peace and quiet of a weekend morning, although it usually only happens if I&#39;ve locked my boyfriend away in his music room (he&#39;s a DJ in the making…). Rather than eggs I&#39;d happily curl up with a slice of this for breakfast, or the banana and brown sugar version you&#39;re going to make which also sounds awesome!

  4. says

    I would LOVE to wake up to this cake! It looks so delicious and the bright grapefruit segments on top are lovely. Congrats on having your weekends back. Definitely something we should savor.

  5. says

    I love reading about your morning routine. :) It sounds so tranquil and slow – some days it&#39;s nice to start the day slowly, easing into it. And I love how you described your coffee maker as the in-house DJ. That was inspired! Really, sometimes I could just read your writing; posting this cake and the recipe for it is like an extra or something.

  6. says

    I&#39;m normally not a huge fan of grapefruit but, and I don&#39;t know why, I&#39;d totally roll around naked on this cake. It looks so heavenly!<br /><br />I always try and make my mornings as tranquil as you describe yours. I&#39;m always like &quot;I&#39;m gonna wake up, make tea, and just chill.&quot; But then I get up, cry about how tired I am, stumble downstairs, and eat a cupcake before

  7. says

    This post is exactly how I feel about mornings! And it is so hard to accomplish that feeling of complete peace and ease, especially at college (and in a dorm room no less)! You described the exact kinds of mornings I can&#39;t wait to have next year in my brand-spanking new apartment. This cake will be a perfect addition :)

    • says

      Oh goodnes, I remember being in the dorms and just wanting this calmness and comfort SO. BAD. I hope that you&#39;ll be able to find the peace in your new place!

  8. says

    What a pretty cake. Since I moved last month I&#39;ve been getting up before six to spend a few minutes with my fella before he leaves for the day. It&#39;s proved tricky to repeatedly get up so early, but it&#39;s so worth it. It&#39;s nice to have all of these rooms to myself, and to greet each and every morning silently as the sun rises over the hill. By 5pm, things start to get lonely, but

    • says

      Thanks so much! <br /><br />That sounds like a sweet way to start your day :) I&#39;m glad you&#39;re able to spend some time with him before he leaves in the morning and also that you can appreciate the calmness of an empty house!

  9. says

    Thank you for reminding me that my morning me-time is important, even if I&#39;ll be doing homework for the rest of the day.<br /><br />By the time I get grapefruit peeled I tend to just eat it. I&#39;ll have to branch out!

  10. says

    I&#39;ve never tried grapefruit in anything other than juice and salads, baking with grapefruit is new for me but I do love the way your cake turned out it looks delicious

  11. says

    We just moved into a house that already has a grapefruit tree. It&#39;s covered in grapefruit and I have been lost as to what to do with them! This sounds awesome I am going to try it thank you!

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