Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pink Grapefruit Vanilla Bean Gold Cup-cakes

I can't believe it's already that time of year again.  The time when we dust off the floppy sun hats, break out the seersucker, pop those collars extra high and lay on a healthy dose of bourbon-induced southern drawl to cavort along Great Meadows' north rail--that's right, it's Gold Cup.

Virginia's answer to the Kentucky Derby, Gold Cup is an event worthy of all your royal wedding-inspired hats and fascinators that has been run in The Plains, Virginia since 1922.  Ostensibly a steeplechase (and, perhaps more enticing, a terrier race), Gold Cup is an excuse to get dolled up in your finest frippery, sip bourbon like it's going out of style, cheer on the horses like the true equestrian Mumsie and Daddy raised you to be and refer to everyone as "Jeeves," "Muffy" or "Belvedere" while waiting in line at the port-a-johns.

Two years ago I tried to embody the true spirit of the races with Mint Julep and Iced Tea Cupcakes, but this year I decided copious amounts of mimosas would probably provide ample booze without infusing it into the cupcakes as well.  This year I decided to go with one of my all-time favorite flavors--grapefruit--to echo the sentiment of spring on what I hoped would be a sunny day.  Because the sweet zing of grapefruit can be difficult to capture, I decided to add a grapefruit curd filling as well, which almost didn't make it into the cupcakes because I wanted to eat it by the spoonful.
Possibly my favorite thing about these cupcakes was getting to try out my adorable new Parisian-themed cupcake liners--because in my book Paris makes everything better :)

A couple of notes:
I was really intimidated by the idea of homemade grapefruit curd until I realized how simple it is! But to save time you can buy jarred citrus curds at most supermarkets.

I decided to go with a buttercream for these cupcakes, though a cream cheese frosting may have been better in retrospect. 

Pink Grapefruit Cupcakes
     from Ryan's Baking Blog makes 12
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grapefruit zest (about 1 grapefruit)
2 eggs
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cupcake tin with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, sift and whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar and grapefruit zest. Mix together with your fingers or the back of the spoon until the two are completely combined, creating a fragrant grapefruit sugar.

4. Beat the eggs into the sugar until the eggs are thick and pale yellow. Add the yogurt, oil, grapefruit juice, and vanilla extract. Stir well to combine. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, being careful not to overmix, until it is all incorporated.

5. Scoop batter into the paper liners, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for a couple minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Grapefruit Curd
     from Honey & Jam
8 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
1. Combine yolks, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, half of the zest, and the sugar in a saucepan; whisk to combine.

2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt and butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth.

4. Strain through a fine sieve unto a medium bowl. Stir in the remaining zest. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set.

Grapefruit Vanilla Bean Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
Seeds of 1 vanilla bean (or extract)
1/4 cup grapefruit juice
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2 drops red food coloring, if desired

1. Cream butter until pale and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla, grapefruit juice and food coloring, mix until combined.
3. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until reaching desired consistency.  Pipe onto cupcakes as desired.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! I was hoping to be in Kentucky this past week but a host-friend is absent. That strange mix of Parisian/posh coastal town aloofness is quite a spectacle I wanted to fake my way into. But here, with this Gold Cup-cake is my real chance. Mouth watering!