There are everyday cakes and there are special occasion cakes. And then there are the rare breeds. These are the cakes that are the black jersey dress in your cupboard- the kind that can be comfortable and casual and at home on the couch, or serve just fine at a semi-formal do, so long as you pair it with the right kind of accessories. If you need another one of those cakes, that is humming with pink grapefruit and blood oranges, that can be made gluten/dairy free and refined sugar free, then this Grapefruit, Blood Orange Olive Oil number may be what you’re seeking. If you need it right now, skip straight to the image and recipe at the bottom.
We’re all about celebrating grapefruits this week. At 23 weeks along our stowaway now has the same proportions as one. Grapefruits aren’t the most amenable of fruits. They’re strident things. In the app for #PoppyseedtoPumpkin 1, I deployed them in a breakfast smoothie with strawberries, banana, yoghurt and flax. It’s still a staple in this house whenever spirits are flagging. Otherwise their brassy juices make a nice marinade for carrots or chicken, or can add a puckering interest to a salad dressing. They also make a lovely drizzle cake when tempered with enough sweetness (like this one, which I used to bribe the midwives with prior to Will’s birth and used to prattle a little about his birth story with here). But the real appeal to me is their visuals. The shades of blood orange and pink grapefruits are undeniably festive and never fail to put a smile on my face. It’s tropical sunsets and cheerful decals, campari cocktails and summer nail polish shades and bare toes. It’s all the good things.
So last week some pink hued citrus found their way into yet another cake. This one made use of what was in the kitchen. There was plenty of mild olive oil around that was bought in bulk and some local honey gifted to me by a kind friend and midwife-to-be. There was oat flour for bulk and almond meal for flavour and depth. And that was pretty much it. A It’s a simple muddle and mix, then slice and serve. It’s beautifully aromatic as it bakes. It’s downright elegant when served warm with an apostrophe of Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche on the side (for dairy free, coconut yoghurt would also work well). And it’s very good for morale when cut into fat wedges and eaten for a slouchy mock dinner on the couch, because your spouse is overseas, your toddler is refusing to go to sleep, your stowaway is crying out for something solderingly sweet and you just can’t be bothered to make a quinoa bowl with kale and sardines and all other sorts of smugly health-giving things that night.
It’s so good that you don’t even mind that it was the last thing you ate before you were struck with gastro and spent 24 hours vilely ill, emptying your stomach in the gutter of one of the most expensive streets in Sydney while your toddler says ‘Oh no mummy- mess!’ while also ruminating that gastro actually isn’t that different from morning sickness. The only difference is that gastro only goes for 36 hours – not 3-6 weeks, and that with gastro, you can tell easily divulge why you’re green around the gills. And you’re actually given some social license to quarantine yourself in your bedroom and lie at a 45 degree angle and shallow breathe for a day.
Beyond all of that, this cake remains a keeper in my book. And there’s every chance that I’m going to make it once again tomorrow. I firmly suggest you do the same.
Here are a few other things that are going on
Watching: Suits. Harvey Spector. Not really much else to say, is there?
Reading: I’ve been shopping my bookcase and have dipped into Adam Roberts’ ‘Secrets of the The Best Chefs’ again. It’s really a cracker of a book, with some lovely readable vignettes, great tips and winning recipes. Adam’s talent as a writer is so obvious – and there’s a lovely post script in knowing that he’s now got a flourishing second career as a television screenwriter.
Listening to: There was a great episode of ‘The Longest Shortest Time’ (Episode 95) of ‘The True History of a Child Chef and his Mom’. It’s a charming listen, wistful, humorous, about the kinds of sacrifices parents make for their children and the unknown territories of joy that offspring open up.
Eating: The fresh corn cornbread from #poppyseedtopumpkin 1 with a honey butter glaze, made into muffins. I love them for those in between times when you’re not sure if you want something sweet or savoury. Will is deeply suspicious of the green bits (diced shallots) in them, but was happy to paint the sticky glaze on them until the cow’s came home.
These paintings from Briony Russell. Briony and I went to school together back in the day and I’m Instagram stalking her like nobody’s business. I can’t decide which one of these I want more – Leia and Chewy, Iris, Ferris Bueller or Baby and Johnny.
Grapefruit and Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Makes 1 x 20 cm square cake
2/3 cup/ 170 ml mild olive oil
1/2 cup/ 125 ml runny honey/ rice malt syrup
Zest and juice of 1 grapefruit and 1/2 a blood orange- reserve the other half of the orange for garnish (you will need 150 ml of juice). You could also substitute for orange, clementines, all blood oranges or all grapefruits
1 cup/ 100 g oat flour/ gluten free flour/ plain flour
1 cup/ 100 g almond meal/ hazelnut meal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease and line a 20 cm square baking pan with parchment paper.
2) Whisk together the olive oil, citrus zest and juice.
5) Fold in the dry ingredients.
6) Pour into the prepared cake tin and top with thin slivers of the remaining half of the blood orange.
7) Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in tin.
Previously in Poppyseed to Pumpkin
Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far. (Nb, you can also see the poppy seed to pumpkin process in the app, or ebook from my first pregnancy with Will, or read about it on the blog here.)