I love grapefruit, really any citrus fruit. I found this recipe for grapefruit cake and as I was reading the history it was “allegedly” from the Brown Derby in Hollywood. It has been gone for a long time but it was legendary in its day. The grapefruit and the restaurant capture the essence of Southern California.
Growing up here in Orange County we would take our out of town visitors to Hollywood. We would try and find stars homes in Beverly Hills. We would walk down Rodeo Drive and then go over to Grauman’s to look at the stars and footprints. For fun we would see which movie stars feet were the same as ours. There was a soda shop where people had been discovered. It was a place filled with dreams and possibilities.
The Brown Derby was a place we would always go by. I went there once before it closed, but long after the star studded days. The recipes however, linger on and I decided to give this cake a try.
I made a few changes adding grapefruit zest instead of lemon zest and increasing the powdered sugar a bit. It is light cake with a creamy grapefruit frosting.
Adapted from The Brown Derby recipe
1-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 teaspoon grated grapefruit zest
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned, or one can (1 lb) grapefruit sections
Cream Cheese Frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon grated grapefuit zest
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 to 8 drops yellow food color (optional)
reserved grapefruit sections
Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
Make well in center and add water, oil, egg yolks, grapefruit juice, and lemon peel.
Beat until very smooth.
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff but not dry. Gradually pour egg yolk mixture over egg whites and fold in gently until just blended. Do not stir.
Turn batter into an ungreased 9-inch springform pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until top springs back when touched lightly with finger.
Invert onto rack and cool thoroughly. Loosen edges of cake carefully and remove from pan. With a serrated knife, cut cake crosswise to make two layers.
Fill between layers with part of cream cheese frosting (see below) and grapefruit sections.Spread top and sides of cake with frosting and decorate with additional fruit sections.