I've mentioned the grapefruit situation with the fruit box at work. So. Much. Grapefruit.
|Not very pink, pink grapefruit|
There were a couple of office birthdays coming up, so I decided to make a cake utilising the grapefruit glut. In my last job, birthday cakes were very political. They were discussed in team meetings and policies were argued, formulated, and then ignored in favour of the unhappy status quo.
My new workplace is not like that at all. They are a thoroughly charming group of young people. I'm the oldest in the office by a reasonable margin, which is a bit of an odd experience for me, but I am so delighted to be working with this extraordinary bunch I just can't tell you. My mother might make a plea for the Shore boys of my generation, but really, at 23 most of them were still struggling to walk upright. These kids are an entirely different kettle of fish - clever, articulate, polite, radiant with youth. Totally awe-inspiring, magnificent creatures. A lot of them are volunteering for a brief period, and I haven't quite figured out how I am going to deal with the regular little bereavement of these beautiful people moving on to other things.
So in my continued karmic journey towards reincarnation as an Italian mother (or journey away from foie gras farmer...), I am enjoying feeding them. And the thing about clever, articulate, polite people is that they are very sweet and gracious guineapigs for my experiments.
|I think we can agree that my cake decorating needs some development|
I split the cooled cake in half (really must get a serrated knife, if snazzy cakes are going to become a more important part of my repertoire). I brushed the cut edges with a simple grapefruit syrup (i.e 1:1 grapefruit juice and sugar), and sandwiched it with fresh grapefruit curd mixed 50/50 with white chocolate buttercream. For some reason, I had been absolutely convinced that the white chocolate buttercream recipe contained cream cheese. It doesn't, but I'd already bought it, so in it went. I used strained grapefruit juice and some zest instead of the cream and vanilla to carry the flavour through a bit more and moderate the sweetness of the frosting.
|Really good crumb|
I iced it with more of the buttercream, without the curd added, and got a bit fancy with the piping bag and some pink cachous. It was delicious - and very popular in the office - but the grapefruit flavour was very subtle. Almost undetectable, in fact.
There were more grapefruit in the following week's box, so I made another cake. This time, I used the grated zest of 2 grapefruit in the cake itself. I reduced the grapefruit syrup down a bit further to concentrate the flavour and melted a couple of my remaining pâtes de fruits into it before brushing it onto the cut surfaces of the cake (which was a 9" round). I filled it with grapefruit curd mixed with cream cheese, then iced it with the grapefruit-flavoured white chocolate buttercream (without cream cheese in it). I was playing with food colouring, aiming for a sort of ombre effect, but I didn't quite get it. Much better flavour though.
I've cancelled the grapefruit in the fruit box now. They make a pretty good cake, but I'd really rather use lemons. And if there are always grapefruit cakes, where does that leave chocolate?
|Some of my colleagues have said they read my blog. I am seeing how closely they read it.|