If you follow me over on Instagram, you already know I’ve been eating grapefruit like it’s going out of style. I’m one of those weirdos (geniuses?!) who eats them like an orange- no need to sprinkle with sugar and eat out of a spoon.
Just peel and eat.
And do a happy dance.
So, it should come as no surprise that, when I was craving cake last week, my mind immediately went to grapefruit. Well, okay, it actually went to chocolate, but that should be obvious by now. I already had these hazelnut brownies in my kitchen, so I decided to take a momentary break from my typical cocoa-dusted life and use up some of the juicy, tangy-sweet grapefruit sitting on my counter instead.
I’m so glad I did.
I originally planned to make a layer cake, but there’s just something so alluring about a simple loaf cake. Despite it’s humble appearance, loaf cakes feel extra special to me.
Maybe it’s because, growing up, my best friend’s mom (who essentially adopted me as her second child) had the prettiest loaf pan, and, more often than not, had a loaf of blueberry bread sitting around for us to snack on with a cup of tea.
Her loaf pan is one of those long, skinny, rectangular tins that probably holds the same volume of cake as a standard loaf pan, but feels like you’ve won the cake lottery when you take your loaf out of the oven. Perhaps you have one in your kitchen? I’ve never met anyone else who does, so I’d love to know!
When I was away at college, most likely subconsciously missing my other mom, I stumbled across one of those very loaf pans at a yard sale, and couldn’t resist buying it. Sadly, it rusted after only a few uses and I had to get rid of it, leaving me dreaming of the long, skinny, extra special loaves of my childhood.
I know I can just buy a shiny new one online (hello, it’s 2018, Amazon exists), but I want a real one. Maybe one that someone’s great aunt used to use to bake her beloved banana bread in, one that lived a full life. I want a loaf pan with personality; with memories.
Is that too much to ask (insert dramatic eye roll here)??
So, long story short, I’m still on the quest for that perfect loaf pan, but that hasn’t stopped me from baking loaf cakes. I typically just use my standard loaf pan, but recently found a retro glass loaf pan at a thrift shop that was calling to me.
Maybe this can be my special loaf shape? Only time will tell.
Until then, I’ll be making this Grapefruit + Cardamom Olive Oil Cake and pondering the mysteries of loaf cakes. Luckily, this one is special enough to stand out in your kitchen, regardless of it’s shape.
It’s ultra moist, thanks to a batter that’s made with plenty of extra virgin olive oil and honey, perfectly tender, thanks to organic all-purpose flour, and gets a little extra texture from almond meal. Both grapefruit and cardamom add subtle flavor to this cake; it’s neither boldly grapefruit-flavored nor cardamom flavored, but instead has mellow hints of both.
I baked a version of this cake with a glaze on top, which looked pretty, but I liked this olive oil cake better just as it is: rustic, golden, tender, and simple.
Perfect for serving up with a dollop of whipped cream and a jumble of grapefruit segments after dinner, or for slicing and eating in the afternoon with a cup of tea. I’m actually eating a slice of it right now for breakfast, warmed in a pan and topped with some thick, full-fat greek yogurt. Does it get any better than this?
If you make this cake, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below, or taking a picture and sharing it with me on Instagram! And, if you happen to come across a long, skinny, rectangular loaf pan full of personality and love, by all means, send it my way.
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 Tablespoon grapefruit zest (from 1 large grapefruit)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (preferably organic + unbleached, if possible)
- 1/2 cup almond meal*
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (aka 1/2 Tablespoon) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom**
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan with olive oil (or line with parchment paper) and set aside.
- 2. Put olive oil, honey, grapefruit zest and juice, and eggs into a bowl and whisk to combine. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
- 3. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 35-45 minutes, depending on the shape/size of your loaf pan. In my standard-sized metal loaf pan this cake took just over 35 minutes, in the glass one pictured above it took close to 45 to be cooked through. Cake is done when fully golden brown and no longer wet in the center. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.
- 4. Let cake cool slightly before slicing and serving warm, or cool completely and store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Serve plain or, if desired, add a dollop of full-fat greek yogurt, whipped cream, or creme fraiche and a spoonful of grapefruit segments on top.
- *I find the best price for almond meal at Trader Joe's, though it's sold at most major grocery stores, sometimes in the 'natural foods' section, sometimes just in the baking aisle. You can also make your own by pulsing almonds in the food processor until they form a fine meal. Just be careful you don't pulse too long, or they'll turn into almond butter!
- **The cardamom adds a subtle flavor to this cake; if you don't have any or aren't a fan of cardamom, I think an equal amount of dried ginger would be great here!