Chilli Chocolate Grapefruit Cake
A whole month and a day ago, it was my sister in laws 21st Birthday. Why is her birthday cake being made a whole month and a day late I hear you ask? Because she has been in Saudi Arabia! jealous.
What a way to spend your 21st birthday! Her partner Saad’s family are from Saudi Arabia, and so this trip was both her first time overseas and her first time meeting Saad’s family. The photos she bought back with her were spectacular, as were the camel milk chocolates and the hand-carved camel teaspoon set that she gifted hubby and I! (Keep an eye out in future posts, those carved teaspoons will definitely be making regular appearances in shoots!) And so after her return, when we finally organised a time that the whole family could gather for her birthday dinner, I knew her birthday cake had to be just as epic and unique as her 21st abroad was. So, Chilli Chocolate Grapefruit Cake, obviously!
Grapefruit is one of my favourite citrus flavours, I always remember that scene in the Simpsons where Homer is supposed to be on a diet and so he cuts a grapefruit in half, rolls it in sugar, licks the sugar off and then throws the grapefruit in the bin before going for a second one 😂
And I get it! They can be bitter! But with a bit of sugar, they have the most divine flavour! So I made the cakes grapefruit, I mean, I packed so much grapefruit into these grapefruit cakes that even the pulp got blended up in there. But then inevitably it had a slightly bitter aftertaste, even with all the sugar in the batter! So I thought, chocolate, chocolate combats bitter perfectly. But the only cocoa powder I had in my arsenal was cayenne chilli cocoa powder, and so I went with it. I figured the cayenne wasn’t a really strong taste and I only wanted a tiny amount, so you probably wouldn’t even be able to detect the chilli… and so I shrugged my shoulders and went with it. Oh my god did the batter taste divine! Just 1tsp was all it needed. You could taste the chilli, but only a tiny bit, and just like that, no more bitter grapefruit, it was perfect!
I later hit up google seeking information as to what flavours paired well with grapefruit for the sake of my buttercream frosting.. and what do you know!
”A surprisingly pleasant marriage comes with chile peppers, both hot and mild”. ~finecooking.com
Fluked that one! so I rolled with it, and the buttercream because chilli chocolate too! And I am SOO IN LOVE WITH THIS COMBO! Seriously, you have to try it! I’ve made mine a little on the mild side because it’s a birthday cake and everyone has to enjoy it, but I’m dying to try one with a bit of a kick!
MY TOP TIPS FOR MASTERING THIS BAKE
#1 When creaming butter, it helps to have your butter at room temperature, cut into small cubes, and adding the small amount of liquid (in this case, grapefruit juice) into the bowl with it before you hit it with the beaters will allow it break down and come together quicker and easier. But even still, this process should take around 10 minutes, so don’t rush it, and don’t stop beating the mixture until it’s light and fluffy.
#2 If you can’t find a ready made chilli chocolate powder to use for this recipe, (unfortunately the company I purchased mine from has since closed down, so I’m unsure how easy chilli chocolate powder will be to find) you can make it yourself, and this way you can control how much chilli you’d like too!
3tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder
pinch of chilli powder (to taste)
#3 Once your flour has been added to your mixing bowl, ensure you keep the beaters on a low speed and only mix the batter until just combined. Mixing flour activates the gluten within it, and so over mixing (which is much easier to do accidentally when using electric beaters) can make your cake very tough and dense.
#4 When dividing a batter between two separate cake tins it’s always advisable to use a set of scales to ensure you have the same amount of batter in each tin. This ensures that each cake has the exact same cooking time, and visually appealing, even layers in the finished product.
#5 It’s crucial that your cakes be completely cooled before you start applying your buttercream. If your grapefruit cakes are even a little warm, the buttercream will soften due to the heat and be squashed out from the between the layers and slide straight off the sides.