Now I know you have all been wondering- exactly how did some cakes become "pound cakes"! Is it that they weigh a pound (or several pounds)? Or maybe that if I sit and eat an entire cake I'll be a several pounds heavier? Well actually there is a simple explanation- an explanation that dates 300 years ago. The pound cake dates back to the early 1700s in Britain. And I might remind you that most women (who of course were doing ALL of the cooking at that time!) could not read, so recipes had to be easy to remember- and easy to pass along to a neighbor- or a daughter. So a pound cake was just such a cake: a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a pound of butter and a pound of eggs! Now how complicated is that. As did other things British, the pound cake made its way to the New World. Two variations were included in the very first cookbook printed in the New World in 1796, American Cookery: or, The Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, and all Preserves, and all kinds of Cakes, from Imperial Plum to plain Cake by Amelia Simmons. Obviously some of the women in the New World could read!
Well pound cakes have survived! You're going to love, love, love this cake! In fact, you'll love it even if you don't love grapefruit! But just in case you don't believe me I'll give you some ideas for minor alterations that change this cake into an orange pound cake or lemon pound cake or lime pound cake or maybe just a simple elegant vanilla pound cake. I do have to warn you in advance that you'll need a pen and paper though- this recipe is just a bit more complicated than a pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a pound of butter and a pound of eggs!
Now I happen to love grapefruit- I'll even eat them unadorned. And it's not hard for Florida (where more grapefruit is grown than any other place in the world) to send its grapefruit my way. This cake was perfect me!
So let's gather the ingredients and get started!
Grapefruit Pound Cake
8 ounces of Butter (it is REAL important to use butter- not margarine!)
8 ounces of Cream Cheese
1 1/4 cup of Sugar
Zest of one Grapefruit (May substitute other citrus or leave out if making Vanilla pound cake)
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
2 cups of Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon of Salt
1/4 cup Grapefruit juice (May substitute other citrus or just increase Half and Half to 1/2 cup for vanilla pound cake)
1/4 cup Half and Half
1/2 cup of Grapefruit reduced to 3-4 tablespoons
1 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Butter and flour a 10 inch tube pan.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Mix the grapefruit juice and the half and half.
Using your fingers mix the grapefruit zest and the sugar until no clumps of zest remain. In a stand mixer beat the sugar, butter and cream cheese on high speed 5-7 minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add the teaspoon of vanilla.
Turn the mixer to a slow speed and alternately add the flour mixture and the juice/half and half mixture ending with flour mixture. Do not over mix!
Pour into the pan and place in the oven for 45-55 minutes. Remove when toothpick comes out clean in the middle of the cake. Don't over bake! Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes and then turn onto cake plate.
For glaze: Bring grapefruit juice to a boil and cook until only 3-4 tablespoons remain. Stir in powdered sugar until reach desire consistency.
This cake can be dressed up with Madisono's Pistachio Gelato and raspberries:
Or makes a perfect "tea time" treat when toasted then topped with a marmalade and served with a cup of tea: