It's no secret that I love the Golden Age of Hollywood. I corner strangers at parties and tell them about Cary Grant's romantic proclivities, or about silent film stars who ate nothing but raw meat. The hot spot among the golden age elite was the Brown Derby, a restaurant plunked in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard. When I found this recipe in a book about Los Angeles, I couldn't resist making it, since it was one of the restaurant's claims to fame.
1 1/2 cups flour 1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cups granulated sugar 3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 4 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup water 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
Preheat oven to 350' F.
Sift the dry ingredients together, and then make a well in the center of the bowl. Add the water, oil, egg yolks, grapefruit juice and lemon zest. Beat everything until smooth and creamy. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tarter until stiff. Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk/flour mixture.
Pour into an ungreased 9" round pan and bake until the top is springy and the cake is golden around the edges, about 35 minutes. When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and flip it onto a cooling rack, then allow it to cool while still in the pan. Once the cake is cool, carefully slice it in half horizontally, using a serrated knife.
12 oz cream cheese 3 tablespoons peeled grapefruit
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 2 medium grapefruits, peeled and drained
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 3 drops yellow food coloring
3/4 cup powdered sugar
While the cake is in the oven, slice open the grapefruits. Take all the sections apart and remove the thick skin from the sections, piece by piece. Arrange the sections on a plate covered with paper towels, then cover them up with another paper towel. You want to get rid of as much juice as possible, without crushing the grapefruit sections completely.
Once the cream cheese is room temperature, put it in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the other ingredients slowly, then beat until blended. Add the 3 tablespoons of grapefruit to the frosting - remember, none of the hard, white skin!
You're ready to assemble the cake! Spread some frosting on the bottom layer of the cake, then arrange the grapefruit sections to completely cover it. You shouldn't see any cake between the grapefruit. Carefully add the top layer, then coat the top and sides with the remaining frosting.
Serve with mint tea.