Grapefruit with brown sugar was one of my favorite snacks growing up. I remember watching my my prepare it for me with love, then later emulating the steps myself: Slicing the grapefruit in half, carefully sawing around the outer edge of the flesh and loosening the wedges between each segment, and finally, sprinkling on a thick layer of brown sugar that instantly became a delicious sludge as it half-dissolved into the grapefruit juice. Looking back, I’m not sure why it was always brown sugar, specifically, or why we even had a collection of tiny, pointy, serrated grapefruit spoons in our otherwise standard cutlery drawer. But this flavor combination always brings back the memories for me; plus, it’s just delicious.
A few grapefruits recently came into my possession, and I wanted to recreate my nostalgic snack in a new format. I looked around online at recipes for grapefruit pound cakes (drawing the most from this one) and swapped out white sugar for brown and a confectioners-sugar icing for a crispy glaze. The grapefruit flavor is delicate, the cake itself heartier and darker than it might be otherwise due to the extra molasses in the sugar. Olive oil makes itself known flavor-wise in the batter, but mellows out once it’s baked. There’s no egg or egg substitute, so this cake can be a bit delicate; just handle with care and you’ll be golden. I hope you enjoy it!
Vegan Grapefruit Brown Sugar Pound Cake
- ¾ cup nondairy milk
- 150 grams (¾ cup) brown sugar, + 2 Tbsp for topping
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, strained, + 1 Tbsp. for topping (about 1 grapefruit’s worth of juice)
- 2 tsp grapefruit zest, + 1 tsp for topping
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 212 grams (about 2 scant cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt, + a sprinkle for topping
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a loaf pan with neutral oil.
- To a large mixing bowl, add milk, 150 g brown sugar, olive oil, 1/2 cup grapefruit juice, 2 tsp grapefruit zest, and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined, then add the rest of the ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda and powder) and mix again until combined.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes.
- While cake is baking, prepare brown sugar glaze topping: mix together remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp grapefruit juice, 1 tsp grapefruit zest, and a tiny sprinkle of salt, until sugar is mostly dissolved.
- Remove cake from oven and use a pastry brush to apply the glaze to the the top of the cake, then return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
- Remove cake from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, carefully take it out of the loaf pan and allow to cool completely before slicing (if you can be patient enough).
Recipe adapted from this one by Short Girl, Tall Order.