It’s September again. How did that happen?
That’s the trick of birthdays – they remind you that a whole year has gone past. Provide you with a reference point. If you are like me, then you remember the cake you made last year, the outfit you wore, the scrawled messages in felt-tip pen.
One whole year. Full of joyful and terrifying experiences. The first time I:
- paid taxes
- drove on the other (wrong) side of the road
- cut off all my hair
- tried capoeira
- was pulled out of the audience to join a capoeira play
- tasted snails (garlicky)
- admitted to myself exactly what I wanted
- put on a chef’s jacket
- made chocolate chip cookies with 5 kilos of butter
But change is good. Yes? It just takes some adjustment to waking up at 5.15am.
To deal with the painful early starts, my comfort food of choice has been pink grapefruit. Home from work in the afternoon, eyelids already heavy, I make myself a cup of tea. Eat a whole sour grapefruit. And go back to bed for a nap.
Then I bought five too many grapefruit in the supermarket and decided to make a celebration cake. A ring of delicate grapefruit sponge. Two layers of goat’s cheese icing. Maple-grapefruit glaze poured messily over the top. Light, tangy and soft. The goat’s cheese only exerts a subtle presence, a fancy substitute for humdrum cream cheese.
Familiar and different. Homey but a little bit cool. Try it. Then maybe take a nap.
Grapefruit Layer Cake with Maple Goat’s Cheese Icing
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, separated
60ml maple syrup
60ml olive oil
45ml grapefruit juice
zest of one grapefruit
juice of half grapefruit
50ml maple syrup
100g soft goat’s cheese
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a cake rin – round or ring.
Beat egg whites to stiff peaks. In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Make a well in the centre and pour in the maple syrup, olive oil, water and grapefruit juice and zest. Stir together. When smooth, carefully fold in the egg white without losing too much volume.
Pour into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make the citrus icing and glaze. In a small saucepan, heat the grapefruit juice, egg and maple syrup while constantly whisking. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Leave to cool completely. When cool, mix 125ml of the grapefruit glaze with the goat’s cheese until smooth, no lumps. (A hand blender will make this easier.)
When the cake has cooled down as well, cut into two or three layers. Spread the goat’s cheese icing between the layers and put the cake back together again. Drizzle the remaining glaze (without goat’s cheese) over the top.
Serve with fresh grapefruit slices, supremed for extra class.