Thursday, January 8, 2009

Citrus Season

Winter is one of my favorite times of the year, if only because it means that citrus fruit is finally in season. I love the sourness of grapefruit and oranges, and the way that the juice drips out of them when you cut them open to see all of the perfectly-sized segments. Last week, I came home with a twenty-pound bag of grapefruit, and realized that I had to do something with it. As much as I crave it, I just couldn't eat the whole thing alone. I thought about stir fry, and about juice. But then I realized that there was no dessert in the house. And that just wouldn't do.

I didn't have a specific recipe for grapefruit cupcakes, but by taking the ingredients from a few basic recipes and tweaking them a little bit, I hit on something that I think is pretty fantastic.

These cupcakes are light and tart, with a beautiful golden color. The zest almost melts into the crumb, and the flavor really shines through in the aftertaste. The next time I make them, I might even add another tablespoon of juice. The cream cheese frosting is, of course, amazing. A little bit of salt draws the grapefruit juice out and makes it sing. After the heavy holiday foods we've all been eating, I think these are the perfect dessert.

I haven't tried these with any other fruit juice yet, but I imagine they would be just as good with orange or lime juice. Let me know if you come up with anything else!

Grapefruit Cupcakes

Zest and juice from one half of a red grapefruit, plus several intact segments
¾ cup self rising flour
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup milk

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. grapefruit juice
1 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 12 liners. Combine the flours in a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour and milk in three parts, flour-milk-flour. Mix just until blended. Add the juice and zest, and beat until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each cup just over half full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, beat together the butter and cream cheese until no lumps remain. Add the powdered sugar and salt. When combined, add the grapefruit juice. Beat for five minutes to ensure that the icing is smooth.

When the cupcakes have cooled, frost them and garnish with part of a grapefruit segment.


The Blonde Duck said...

My buddy Libby would love these! Thanks!

Kasey said...

What a great idea! I love grapefruit and this seems like the perfect combo.