Hello! Are you guys in full-on holiday festivities mode? I tend to go a little nuts and deck the halls as soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers hit the Tupperware. So, needless to say, we’ve been in it for a few weeks now. Our tree is up and decorated, twinkly lights and fresh garland are strewn about inside and out of the house, and of course, the oven has been on non-stop to accommodate all the buttery, sugary baked goods that are rolling out of our kitchen (and into the bellies of our neighbors and Sean’s colleagues).
Fall is major for cookbook publishing, which is perfect because it means that there is a ton of holiday baking inspiration right before the holidays. I received Sarah Keiffer’s book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, a few weeks ago and immediately bookmarked this honey cake, excited to recreate it for the holiday season. Partially because I love a bundt cake and partially because of her description of reading about honey cakes in her favorite books. I have also always been drawn to the food passages in my favorite books because they always felt so vivid (specifically the Farmer Boy book from The Little House series) and I love knowing I’m not the only one. Sarah’s book is full of enticing baked goods with thoughtful descriptions and her lovely, warm and restrained photography.
I love the flavor of honey and wanted to adapt this cake just slightly without masking the flavor of the honey. I turned to the brightest wintertime produce for inspiration–citrus! I love the combo of grapefruit and honey (like in a Brown Derby cocktail!) and knew it would shine here. I added the littlest bit of allspice to the batter to add a background note of spice, plus I love the pairing of baking spiced and citrus. This cake comes out as moist and heady with honey as promised, with a punch of fragrant brightness from grapefruit zest. The slick of creamy frosting on top not only lends a little extra sweetness, but also a pleasantly bitter sharpness from even more grapefruit. For kicks I decided to add some candied grapefruit peel (so easy to make, it’s silly) on top for extra sparkle because it’s the holidays and the more sparkle the better!
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- Honey Grapefruit Bundt Cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 3 sticks (3/4 lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1¾ cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
- 1 cup honey
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
- 1 cup milk
- Grapefruit Honey Frosting:
- 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
- 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt or tube pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter on medium until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and zest, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the honey and mix until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat on medium until incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the grapefruit juice and mix on low to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. With the mixer still on low, add the milk in a steady stream until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to even out the top. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let finish cooling on the rack. Top the cooled cake with the frosting.
- For the Grapefruit Honey Frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl using an electric mixer (or stand mixer) until smooth. Add the honey, grapefruit juice, and zest and mix on low to combine. Add the confectioners sugar and mix on low to combine. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 3-5 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
To make the candied grapefruit peel, I followed Laura’s recipe from A Beautiful Plate.