This is a perfect spring dessert: a single moist layer of cake topped with a citrus glaze and compote. Cornmeal and olive oil add dimension. Unsweetened Greek-style yogurt as an accompaniment adds a note of dairy freshness and balances the sweetness of the cake.
Make Ahead: The cake and compote can be assembled a day in advance; keep the cake covered at room temperature, and cover and refrigerate the compote.
- For the cake
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus room-temperature unsalted butter for greasing the cake pan
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting the cake pan
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Finely grated zest of 1 large orange (1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup olive oil (do not use extra-virgin)
- 1 cup Greek-style yogurt, for garnish (optional)
- For the glaze
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon (1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
- 1 tablespoon rose water, preferably mild such as Asmar's brand (Lebanese)
- For the compote (about 4 cups)
- 3 large pink grapefruit
- 2 large oranges
- 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
- 1 tablespoon rose water
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use butter to grease an 8-inch round cake pan, then 1 tablespoon of cornmeal to dust the pan evenly, shaking out any excess. Line with a round of parchment paper, then use nonstick cooking oil spray to coat the surface of the paper.
Whisk together the flour, the remaining 1/2 cup of cornmeal, salt, baking powder, orange zest and sugar in a mixing bowl.
Use a fork to lightly beat the eggs, buttermilk, orange juice concentrate, vanilla extract, the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and the oil in a separate bowl. Use a flexible spatula to fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the pan; bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake will be lightly browned and slightly cracked on top.
While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze: Place the confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Use a small whisk to add the lemon zest, orange juice concentrate and rose water, mixing until smooth.
Use nonstick cooking oil spray to lightly grease a wire cooling rack. Use a round-edged knife to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan, then invert the finished cake onto the rack and discard the parchment paper round.
Use an offset spatula to spread all the glaze on top of the warm cake, trying not to let the glaze drip on the sides (but if it does, that's okay). When the cake has cooled, carefully slide it onto a cake plate or stand.
Meanwhile, make the compote: Use a serrated knife to trim the tops and bottoms of the grapefruit and oranges. Place them on a cutting board, then make vertical cuts to trim away their peels and pith, leaving as much of the fruit intact as possible. Hold each peeled fruit in your hand, then cut between the membranes to separate the segments, letting them drop into a bowl (discard the membranes). Add the orange juice concentrate and rose water, stirring to incorporate. (There should be about 4 cups of compote.)
To serve, place individual slices on dessert plates. Top each portion with a half-cup of the compote and garnish with dollops of yogurt on the side, if desired.
Adapted from a recipe on MarthaStewart.com.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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