Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pink Peppercorn + Grapefruit Cake

I have been so lucky to be supported and encouraged in my baking by many lovely people. One source of encouragement came from an unexpected place. Ziba's Bistro is a restaurant in our neighborhood and they have gone out of their way to be incredible neighbors to me. 

I wanted to thank them, so I made a cake! I'm on a major grapefruit kick lately, and I wanted to see how it would work with pink peppercorns. I'm really in to my little taste tests. 

I used the same recipe that I used for this grapefruit and honey bundt cake. It's by Hungry Girl Por Vida. To make as layers instead of the bundt I divided the batter between three 8 inch prepared cake pans, changed the baking time to 30-35 minutes, and adjusted the temperature to 350•F.

The pink peppercorn frosting is really exciting! It's spicy, but it's also bright and citrusy. I chose a recipe for ermine frosting for this one. It's made by boiling milk and flour together. Then you whip it in to creamed butter and sugar. I chose this because I wanted to steep the peppercorns in the warm milk so the flavor would be throughout the frosting not just in the peppercorn pieces. 

adapted from Kim Severson's recipe on NYT Cooking 

60g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 tbsp cracked pink peppercorns
1tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
339g unsalted butter, room temperature 
300g granulated sugar

Combine the flour, milk, and peppercorns in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until it comes to a simmer and thickens to a thick pudding consistency. 

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Scrape the mixture in to a bowl to cool. Cover the surface with a piece of plastic to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside until completely room temperature. 

Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. 

A spoonful at a time, add the cooled flour mixture to the butter mixture. Once incorporated, turn the mixer up to high and beat until fluffy like whipped cream. Use immediately. 

*optional: add 1 or 2 drops of pink coloring to make it a soft pink 

I decorated this cake with candied grapefruit peel and cracked peppercorns. The flavors of this cake are a little unusual but in a very good way. My kids approved so it's not that spicy or unusual. 

Happy Winter! x

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