Saturday, May 4, 2013

Citrus chiffon cake with ginger, mint and grapefruit spiked syrup

It started with the plant purchase. A wee bonney grapefruit mint I bought on Martha's instigation. Well, sort of. It was Martha Stewart at her best on a segment of Today, planting complete salsa gardens, green juice gardens, and likewise impossible feats to common man, all in a single container. My near answer to MS's gardening super powers? A 3 '' mentha plant bearing the name of the tart/sweet ball of citrus, now lightly scenting my home's air, as it is propped rightly on a corner sill.

After pretty green came home, it required a little more care than I anticipated; because that's the nature of mint, it gets invasively leggy prompting a daily nip, tuck here and there. And until I found a non-scandalous use for it in possibly (?) a baked good, everyday pluckings went down trash bins and freshened up my drains.

All the while, I pined for a dessert, with enough draping of the fruit my mint was named after, quite actually being worried about how I'd use up a 10 pound bag of ruby reds .

Having much experience tearing into these bitter- tart segments, I arrived at the conclusion that all its flavorful zing should and must be harnessed into cake. After hours of blog stalking internet searching, I found best recipe here.

Those of you that meet up with me regularly need no introduction for  my orangelemonfixation. You needing more conviction, I have chronicles complete with  orange cupcakes and their very orang-ish frostinglemon coconut battenburg, coconut lemoned loaf, and strawberry/ mango lemonade.  An obvious next- in- line conundrum it would be; yes, grapefruit, it's now your turn

And that's how it happened, fine, splendid and showcased in my first ever chiffon cake- that of the supersoft genre of bake confections, carrying a lofty track record and possessing legions of flavoring potential. This fruit in cake pairing was a tactic that worked out beautifully, the grapefruit coming forward strong, yet in mild mannered form. I, however decided that a little more sweetness couldn't do damage, supplementing with juice from half an orange. A further scatter of lemon zest and Chiffon transcended greater- than- cake outcome. Sweet, but not cloying, tart but not piercing, it is a most honorable contribution from three outstanding members of the rutaceae family.

Points to hit in most cake bake scenarios include creaming fat and whipping eggs to ribbony silk estimations. The fervor of your beating these elements have direct impact on your final product. So, when we go a step further in separating those eggs, beating yolks and fat to yellow velvet while whites head on to a higher than froth betterment; white gloss peaks of gorgeous billowy mass. It is this cloudlike substance, while claiming help from the two thirds of oil, that creates a moister- than- you- can -believe cake crumb. The morsels are of ethereal calibre, with gentle bites of ginger specks, thus meriting just a tad to an already good show.

Upping the awesomeness ante on this one could very well be a crime. Throwing caution to the wind, however , I went that route anyway, with a slight syrup drench at the very end. An approach I feel leads to a more lighter- than- air transcendence. Best yet, you really can't tell if the 5 2 pieces you nibbled on went straight to your thighs and belly or just puffed away into a breath of sweet smoke. Carry on, after and which, I'll let you be the judge of that.

Citrus Chiffon cake~
(Adapted with modifications from Eat My Words)
  • 2 c cake flour
  • 1 ½ c sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp finely chopped crystallized ginger(sugared ginger)
  • 6 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • ⅔ c canola oil
  • ⅔ c combined fresh juice from 1 grapefruit, and half an orange ( I used more grapefruit, and filled in with orange)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
I add more juice from the grapefruit, since that's what today's topic is mainly about , also it adds just the right amount of mellow- tang.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, sift cake flour, 1 c sugar and baking powder. After combining the three, mix in the ginger pieces.
  • In a large bowl or using an electric stand mixer, on medium speed, beat together egg yolks, oil, juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Switch speed setting to med-high and beat until thick, pale yellow ribbons form. Add flour mixture and beat until incorporated well.
  • In another large bowl,  beat in egg whites. If using electric mixer, whisk on low speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium high- covering the bowl, add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add in ½ c remaining sugar and beat on high until stiff, glossy peaks, form.
  • Using a rubber spatula, mix whites into the batter and gently scrape components from bottom of bowl and bring to top and until everything is evenly distributed and of uniform color .
  • Pour batter into greased 10' bundt pan or similar sized deep fluted pan.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, until center springs back and toothpick inserted comes clean.
  • In the meantime make your syrup (recipe below)
  • When cake is done, keep in pan for 12 minutes. Carefully invert pan and ease cake onto wire rack. At this point, you can pour the syrup by spoonfuls, going along the breadth of cake to moisten each area. Or wait till cake cools to spoon over.
  • Serve with fresh whipped cream.
Notes~ When squeezing juice from grapefruit for the cake, set aside two extra tablespoons for the making of your syrup (below).

Grease and flour those grooves and nooks well, unless you want a pan cemented with cake.
Grapefruit, ginger, mint syrup~
  • 2/3 c water
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/2 inch ginger sliver
  • 1 sprig mint, freshly chopped ( I used grapefruit mint)
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

  • To make syrup, heat water with sugar on medium flame. When mixture is slightly dissolved add ginger and mint and stir till no grit of sugar is left. Take off heat, pour in remaining 2 tbsp of grapefruit juice and let cool to room temperature. Take out ginger and mint.

Pictures of whipped up clouds of cream can never be enough.

 Meet grapefruit mint, my lovely green who was inspiration for what you see here.

Take a look~ Last year, this time: breaded pork chops and cake pops.

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12)

"The moment you're ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens" 
Don't. Give. Up. (!!)


  1. Wow Tisa ,I am all in for a slightly soaked cake compared to heavy frosted one .Love the grapefruit and mint combo.Hmm..grapefruit mint I should look for that next time in store.

    1. Thank you Meena. Yes, soaking brings out a lot more flavor, right?

  2. oh wow... beautiful looking cake!!!

  3. wow! gorgeous luking cake, Tisa..great clicks!

  4. Yummm Makes me carve to have one :) Such Soft and Spongy

  5. cake looks yum... beautiful snaps and want to grab that plate in last snap

  6. This cake looks utterly gorgeous, so fresh :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Wow Tisa the cake looks wonderful. You are gifted writter :)

    1. Such nice words, Rekha- thank you much!

  8. This cake looks amazing and I love the story of how it came about!

    1. Thank you B. It was a fun journey!

  9. I bake like once in a blue moon but I sure learned the nitty gritty tips on how to bake. This is such a fabulous cake and adore the tangy punch from grapefruits. Also the visuals are equally stunning.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!