Thursday, April 16, 2009

Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake (or 4 hours and a bottle of wine)

I'm really lucky because my boss cooks lunch for me every day, so not only do I get free food, but I get free, AMAZING food. I don't know many people that get lamb stew or pork with cherries, sweet potatoes and Guinness for Lunch.

When I first started working with her, my husband, boyfriend at the time, said "That's awesome that she feeds you, but does she now how much you eat?" Ass. Anyways, she's also a culinary inspiration for me. She's always going through recipes and offering me copies of whatever she deems best. I often pass on the recipes because, although amazing, a lot are quite fattening and there are things I just don't need to be making.

Yesterday, however, I decided to take home a cake recipe, because sometimes you just need to bake a cake. Because the recipe is copied, I'm not sure where she got it from, but there is half an article attached, some cut off by being copied a few times and other parts continued on other pages. I tried to decipher it and one of my favorite parts in the article is:

"One of the most famous (recipes) was the Brown Derby's grapefruit cake. Owner Bob Cobb conceived it when gossip columnist Louella parsons threatened not to return until he put a non- fattening dessert on the menu. He told his cooks, "Put grapefruit on something, because everyone knows it's slimming."

This cake isn't slimming, just so you know. It's a lot lighter than a few cakes I've made, but it still has sugar, flour, oil and egg yolks, so I don't want anyone thinking this is healthy.

Oh, and did I mention this cake is fabulous. It's also a fabulous nightmare. I will post some tips at the end for fleshing or pithing a grapefruit, because that can be a lot of trouble. That is actually why I titled the post 4 hours and a bottle of wine. It took me 4 hours to make this cake and the pithing took close to an hour and drove me to drink. And I never do cakes like this; that require more than one bowl, lots of whipping, and lots of trouble. It was worth it though because it is a beautiful cake. I think next time I may do a whipped cream topping because the cream cheese is a tad too rich for this feathery light cake.

Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake


2 1/4 c sifted cake flour ( I used regular flour and it worked just fine)
1 1/2 c sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 eggs yolks
8 egg whites
2 t vanilla
3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
2 t grated grapefruit rind
1/4 t cream of tartar


Preheat oven to 325º F. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into mixing bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients.
Add oil, egg yolks, grapefruit juice, and rind. Beat until smooth.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar separately, until whites are stiff but not dry.
Gradually fold egg whites into the cake batter, folding gently with a rubber spatula until just blended. Do not stir the mixture.
Pour into 2 greased and floured 10-inch cake pans. Bake at 325º degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched with a finger. Invert pan on cake rack until cool. Run spatula around edge of cake. Carefully remove from pan.

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting

3 eight oz pkgs cream cheese
2 t grapefruit juice
1 1/2 t grated grapefruit rind
1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
2 grapefruits peeled with pith and membrane removed
*crush 6 sections for frosting and reserve the rest for topping

Let cream cheese soften at room temperature. Beat cheese until fluffy.
Add grapefruit juice and rind.
Gradually blend in sugar. Beat until well blended.
Add crushed grapefruit and blend into frosting.
Frost Bottom layer of cake
Frost top and sides
Garnish with remaining grapefruit sections

I had major problems pithing the grapefruit, it all fell apart. I was able to salvage some so don't make the mistake I did on pithing the grapefruit. Here are instructions on doing it correctly

How to flesh a grapefruit

The original recipe actually used canned grapefruit slices, which I will definitely use in the future. Try this, you'll like it

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