Grapefruit Bundt Cake with Star Anise Glaze

IMG_0696 The last couple of weeks Brian and I have been fighting a cold. Brian came home from a business trip feeling “head cold-ish’. He was feeling on the mend when we headed out to New Jersey for a quick trip to visit with our families. On our last full day there I felt something was coming on myself. No fun!!! By the time we were back in Seattle I was in full combat with this head cold ugliness. Once I was all better, Brian received round two! Napping, cold meds, hot lemon and honey water, cough drops, and sniffles. In two weeks we have been home we have been trying our best to not be cranky, but the influx of this illness has put us to the test.

The plus side, we got to spend a short but fun visit with our loved ones on the east coast. Lots of laughs and giggles were had. We spent an afternoon in Manhattan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, got to see a dusting of snow, and ate a lot. We had some good New York pizza, feasted at a Polish restaurant, and my mom made my favorite dish of her's - lentil soup. It was an overall amusing trip. The colds we acquired though equaled to no fun.

IMG_0680

Due to the “ick” we've been experiencing we have overloaded ourselves with vitamin C. Naval oranges, pink grapefruits, meyer lemons, limes, blood oranges; you name it we have been ingesting it. Citrus in salads, citrus with roasted veggies, citrus in quinoa, citrus with soup…I think you get the feeling of where we were going. When I looked at the grapefruits instead of eating it whole I thought - Cake! After all, we have been so good. We were eating healthy and now almost fully rid of this yuckiness - we deserved a treat.

I made a bundt cake with lots of grapefruit zest in the batter. I made a syrup out of the juice from the grapefruit and gently spooned it over the freshly baked cake while still warm from the oven. Once the cake was cooled I pooped it out of the pan and drizzled it with a star anise spiced glaze. We enjoyed it with extra sliced citrus and mugs of tea. It was moist and slightly sweet, not to mention it paired well with the tea. Eating all that citrus to combat our colds was tasty, but I think in the cake form it is best. I just wish there was more, we shared it and disappeared fast!

IMG_0698

Grapefruit Bundt Cake with Star Anise Glaze (Makes one 9 inch round cake)

Cake

8 oz butter, softened (plus extra for pan)

2 1/2 cups sugar

6 eggs

1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup yogurt

1/3 cup grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed)

2 tbsp grapefruit zest

Syrup

1/4 cup grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed)

3/4 cup sugar

Glaze

*Note: If you are not a fan of Star Anise you do not have to use it. You can simply replace it with vanilla extract to keep the glaze more simple.

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup water

1 tsp ground star anise

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour your pan generously. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In a small bowl stir together your grapefruit juice and zest and set aside as well.

Next, in a large bowl mix your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl in-between each egg; mixing until completely blended. Add in your vanilla and stir it together until combined. In two parts alternate adding the flour and then the yogurt.

Then, once all is combined stir in your  juice and zest mixture. When your batter seems evenly mixed pour it into your prepared pan and place in the center of the oven. Bake about and hour, rotating it half way though. Test it with a tooth pick to check the doneness of the cake. when toothpick is removed form the cake cleanly you should remove it from the oven.

Meanwhile, you should begin to make your syrup. Place the juice and the sugar in a small pan and bring to a simmer. You want to stir it continuously until the sugar  is dissolved. Promptly remove the pot from the heat, and with a sharp knife poke several wholes around the top of the cake. Generously spoon the syrup over the cake letting it seep into it. Place the cake (in the pan) in a spot to cool completely. At lest a hour.

Finally, you can make your glaze for the cake. In a bowl whisk together your powdered sugar, star anise, and water. Whisk it until smooth. Gently remove the cake from the pan. I used an offset spatula to carefully loosen the cake from the sides of the pan (you might need a firm hand in doing this as the syrup may have made the cake stick to the pan just a bit). I inserted the spatula along the side of the cake and gently nudged the cake away from the pan, then you flip the cake over onto a wire cooling rack over a sheet pan. Easily pour or spoon the glaze over the cake little by little. Let it drip on down the sides and become set onto the cake. Let the glaze set about 15 minutes before serving.

Cake will keep about 3 - 4 days if wrapped in plastic. Cake can be refrigerated, but let the cake come to room temperature before eating for best texture and flavor.

 

Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

I can honestly say that I remember Thanksgiving, and I turned around and it was today (December 18). In-between then and now is a complete blur. I have been busy at work, taking care of our dogs, Christmas shopping, Christmas wrapping, holiday parties, and now…Holiday cards to be sent. I usually am more ahead of the game, but for some reason between family visiting and birthdays to celebrate I lost a hold on time and here we are. One week away from Christmas and I was not prepared for it until yesterday! Yesterday, I packed my last box and shipped out our last packages out to the east coast. (That is where almost all of our family resides.) Our dinning room table for the last week looked like a controlled chaos of wrapping paper, scotch tape, ribbons, and scissor clippings. I must say that I am happy to have it all back to normal now. Martini and Latte came with me to ship the packages, and if you ask me they were really happy to see the packages go. I think they have been feeling a bit neglected. Somehow, we all have felt that way. Oh, how we love the holidays!

Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

With all the hustle and bustle to get to the grand finish line of the holidays I have almost forgotten to cook! On my way home from work the other day I stopped by one of the produce vendors at the market and asked the workers “What looks good this week?” they responded with: “Fennel, grapefruit, romanesco, and blood oranges.” I purchased a couple of them all and headed home. While throwing together dinner I whipped up a salad with the fennel and the grapefruit. I was hoping for something light and refreshing with a clean taste. The result was a shaved fennel salad with grapefruit slices. It was tossed together with hazelnuts, farro, and pomegranate seeds. It was just what the crazy agenda of holiday prep called for. Give it a try. If I could whip it up in no time, I am sure you all can to. The most complicated thing was cooking the farro; and after all, that is just simmering - how hard is that?

Fennel and Grapefruit Salad served up and ready to be devoured.

Grapefruit and Fennel Salad (feeds 6)

1 medium fennel bulb, some fronds reserved (about 2 tbsp)

1 large grapefruit; peeled, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices, and slices quartered

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

1 cup of hazelnuts; skinned, toasted, and roughly chopped

1/2 cup farro

1/4 onion

1 garlic clove

2 bay leaves

Olive oil (about 1/4 cup)

Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

First, place the farrow in a 2 - 3 quart pot with about 2 - 2 1/2 cups of water. To that add your onion 1/4, garlic clove, and bay leaves. Gently simmer it all until your water is almost all absorbed by the farro. Once the farro is tender (about 45 minutes) you can remove the onion, garlic, and bay leaves, Strain any remaining water and chill your farro in the refrigerator.

Next, thinly slice your fennel. Trim the bottom end and discard and slice it thinly until your reach the stalks and top of the bulb. (You can use a mandolin to do so, or you can just as well use a sharp knife.)

Then, in a bowl place your farrow, fennel, grapefruit, and  pomegranates.  Toss it together and refrigerate it for at least an hour (or up to a day ahead).

Finally, when ready to serve, drizzle the olive oil over it. Add the hazelnuts, sea salt and black pepper. Toss it well and sprinkle the fennel fronds over it and serve.