Knowing that I could not show up with, like, chips and dip for this sort of meal, I decided to make something for breakfast the next morning. After making such a labor-intensive dinner, Casey would probably be too tired to brew a pot of coffee. That's how I would feel, anyway.
Knowing her love of citrus, I decided to make a grapefruit yogurt cake. Most people don't use grapefruits for much other than plain old eating or juicing, maybe the occasional granita. But grapefruit has a bright, perfumey flavor that's more interesting than lemons, and as I found out, translates well into baked goods.
The original recipe, by Ina Garten, is basically a lighter take on a pound cake, with oil and yogurt instead of butter. And a generous amount of grapefruit zest and a grapefruit syrup that you pour over the cake, so that it seeps in and makes the whole thing even moister and grapefruity-er.
We ate thin slices of the cake on Casey and Dan's sun-drenched deck as we groggily leafed through the morning paper. It was the first day of spring and it actually felt like it outside. The cake was moist and tender and as bright as the day itself. A nice breakfast. I mentally patted myself on the back for thinking of it.
And then Casey brought out a plate of warm, homemade cinnamon-sugar donuts and left me speechless once again. How does she do it?
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. grated grapefruit zest (I used pink grapefruit)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup grapefruit juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the grapefruit-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.