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    We're a Big Blog Now!

    That’s right, we’re turning 4 today! It doesn’t really feel like it’s been that long, until I stop to think about all that has happened in that time.  Seeley nearly liquefied her brain with never ending crazy math, but survived, and even graduated! (See we are all grown up!) I moved from Utah, to Massachusetts, to Virginia, and eventually back to Utah again.  (Always in May, mind you.  What’s with me moving in May?) And on top of all of that, in the four years since Authors Kitchen was born, we’ve posted somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 recipes! That’s a lot of cooking and food porn!

    The inspiration for this recipe comes from a place in Virginia called The Icing. They make the most amazing cupcakes, and my very favorite flavor was grapefruit. I know, grapefruit cupcakes sound more weird than wonderful, but trust me, they are fantastic. Since I can no longer just run down to The Icing and pick some up, it was time for me to figure out how to make my own.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 ⅓ cups flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • ½ cup whole milk
    • 6 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 eggs
    • 2-3 grapefruits depending on size
    • Grapefruit buttercream (recipe below) 

    Everything for this recipe should be at room temperature, including the fruit. First up, pour ¾ cup sugar into some kind of a container with a lid.  I like to use a 1 pint mason jar for this purpose. (Add that to the long list of uses for those.) Set that aside and zest your grapefruit.  I like to use organic citrus when I know I’ll be eating the zest.

    Give it a good wash, and make sure you just take off the very outside layer.

    Now, because grapefruits vary so much in size, I was diligent and actually took measurements as I worked. You want 2 Tablespoons of zest. And when I say Tablespoon, it should look something like this. Don’t pack it down or it will just all stick together. 

    Add that to your sugar, put on the lid, and give it a good shake. (remember the lime sugar?)  Not only does this mix the sugar and zest together, but it also makes the zest release some of its oil, which is where all the flavor is, so don’t wimp out. Shake, shake, shake. 

    Now on to the juicing. Grapefruits are too big for my press juicer, so I like to use one like this for them. You need 1 ½ cups of juice. That took 2 medium sized grapefruits for me, but if yours are very small, you might need 3.

    When you’ve got the juice, pour it through a mesh strainer to remove any pulp.

    Then, in a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring it to a boil.

    You want to cook the juice down from 1 ½ cups to ¼ cup. The reason for this is to concentrate the grapefruit flavor while reducing the amount of water that will be added to the recipe. This process will probably take about 15 minutes, and you’ll need to stir almost constantly. I like to use a silicone spatula for that. They do a good job of scraping the bottom and moving stuff around without making a lot of noise. As you near the ¼ cup mark, it will start to become somewhat syrupy in consistency. You’ll know you’re close when the bubbles start to stack up on each other like this:

    Pour the grapefruit concentrate into a glass measuring cup.

    See, it really did cook all the way down to ¼ cup.

    While that’s cooling, go ahead and drop paper liners into your muffin pan and turn your oven to 350°. Then, in your mixing bowl, whisk together all of your dry ingredients, including the grapefruit sugar.

    To that, add the milk, butter, vanilla, and 3 Tablespoons of the grapefruit concentrate (the remainder is for the frosting).

    Mix on low speed until everything comes together, then scrape everything down really well. Increase the speed to medium and allow it to mix for 2 minutes, after which, the batter should be fluffy and beautiful. 

    Give it another scrape and add the eggs. 

    Mix until they are fully incorporated, then one more scrape, and a quick final mix. Gorgeous!

    Scoop the batter into your prepared cups, filling them just over half full. The scoop I use is about 3 Tablespoons. 

    When you place the pans in the oven, increase the temperature to 425°.  After 5 minutes (set a timer) turn it back down to 350°, and continue baking for an additional 15 – 18 minutes. That’s a total bake time of 20 – 23 minutes. When they’re ready, they’ll be beautifully domed, and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean. After just a couple minutes, transfer them to a rack and allow them to cool.  Aren’t they lovely?

    Otto found some sun under the dining room table and decided to have a nice nap while I was baking. I already had the camera in my hand, so I couldn’t just pass up the opportunity to capture the aww. As you can tell by all the white in his face, he’s no spring chicken anymore, so I try my best not to take these precious moments for granted. 

    Now for the buttercream… Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 Tablespoon grapefruit concentrate
    • 1 – 3 Tablespoons cream (or the highest fat dairy you have on hand) 

    Put the butter in a mixing bowl.

    Give it a whirl until it’s nice and soft and fluffy.

    Sift in 1 cup of the sugar.

    Starting on low speed, stir until it all comes together, then scrape it down and give it a good mix on medium high speed for 45 seconds or so. Add the grapefruit concentrate and vanilla and mix until they are thoroughly incorporated.

    If you used pink grapefruit, it’ll give the frosting just a hint of color.

    Sift in the remaining cup of powdered sugar and go through the stirring, scraping, mixing process again.  Add the cream, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until you reach buttercream perfection. 

    Then just spread or pipe it onto your waiting cupcakes.

    So, how do they compare to the ones from The Icing? I’m going to say, equally fabulous, but different.  They use a regular vanilla buttercream which makes for a fairly subtle flavor, whereas my grapefruit version has a fabulous citrusy of tang to it. The cake itself is probably almost a dead ringer. Just look at that texture. The crumb on this recipe couldn’t have been better.

    What’s your favorite flavor of cupcake?


    Reader Comments (3)

    You know I love the grapefruit ones, but I also love the carrot cake ones with cream cheese frosting. They have a new one that is almond cupcakes with raspberry buttercream - that one is outstanding, too.

    I did a lemon cake using a mix of lemon sugar and vanilla sugar last week that came out nicely, though I think next time I might use only the lemon sugar. The citrus-sugar stuff works BEAUTIFULLY in baking.

    February 1, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterElise Logan

    That really is a beautiful crumb. I'm not a fan of grapefruit, but I think I want to try this with blood oranges. Just imagine the colour!

    February 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterseeley

    Blood orange would be gorgeous, but honestly, I think any citrus would be good. Eventually I'll probably try both lemon and lime. And you could always mix it up. If you did an orange version, you could make a really vanilla-y buttercream so it would taste like a creamsicle.

    February 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTaneasha

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