As I am writing this I am looking out at a white, wintery snowfall. I am humming "it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas", but dreaming of sunshine and rhubarb and green leaves. Winter is coming indeed.
I was (am) actually working on a grapefruit version of the classic lemon drizzle cake, but then my mind started wandering and I ended up here somehow. With a cake that is in between a yeasted savarin and a lemon drizzle cake. The cake itself is a lusciously moist grapefruit and aniseed pound cake, but rather than a loaf cake I baked the pound cakes in individual savarin moulds and soaked the cakes with a sweet and tangy grapefruit and maple syrup.
I served the pound cakes like I would a savarin, with a fruit compote and chantilly cream. I wanted the grapefruit to be the star throughout, so I made a simple gingery compote with pink grapefruit segments and finished the whole thing off with a lemony verbena chantilly cream.
If you don't have savarin moulds, you can bake the cakes as 6 mini loaf cakes and serve them with the grapefruit compote on the side instead. Or multiply the the recipe by 1,5 for a large loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes.
Grapefruit aniseed cakes with maple syrup
6 mini cakes
75g granulated sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 large, pink grapefruit
25g maple syrup
100g butter, softened
2 medium eggs
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. toasted green aniseeds, finely ground
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. milk
30g granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
Juice of 1 pink grapefruit
Preheat oven to 175C and grease your mould. )I used six cavity 74ml silicone savarin mould.)
Rub the sugar with the grapefruit zest until the sugar is slightly moist and fragrant. Beat the butter together with the sugar until light and fluffy, add the maple syrup and beat for another minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, ground aniseed and salt and gently fold into the butter mixture in two parts, adding the milk in between. Spoon the batter into the prepared moulds and bake for about 20 minutes, until they spring back, and a tester inserted comes out clean.
Leave the cake to cool for 5 minutes, while whisking together the sugar, maple syrup and grapefruit juice for the syrup. Pour the syrup the over the cakes a little at a time, so they can absorb the syrup. Leave to soak for 15 minutes in the moulds, before inverting onto a cooling rack.
Gingery grapefruit compote
2cm peeled ginger, sliced
2 pink grapefruits
Bring the sugar, water and ginger to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, until syrupy.
Meanwhile, use a sharp knife to cut the peel and bitter pith off of the grapefruits. then cut between the membranes to separate the grapefruit segments. Put the segments into a bowl; pour the warm ginger syrup over the grapefruit segments and leave to infuse for about an hour.
Verbena Chantilly cream
125ml heavy cream
1 Tbsp. superfine sugar
12-15 finely chopped lemon verbena leaves
¼ sheet gelatin, soaked in cold water
Lemon verbena and lemon balm for garnishing
Remove the soaked gelatin from the water, mix with 1 tsp. of cold water in a small microwave proof bowl. Dissolve the gelatin in the microwave at high heat for about two or three 10-second blasts. Set aside.
Whip heavy cream until beginning to thicken, then add the sugar. Whip for another 15-20 seconds, then add verbena leaves. Whip until soft peaks and pour in the melted gelatin mixture. Whip the cream until medium peaks, chill in the fridge for 10 minutes, so it firms up a little.
When ready to serve place a grapefruit aniseed cake on each of the plates. Top each of the cakes with a little grapefruit compote, and garnish with lemon verbena and lemon balm.
Serve with a quenelle or dollop of the ve