Do you live near your family? Maybe not the same street, but the same state, or maybe even the same city. We used to. We all lived in the same small town, and did a lot of stuff together. Some of my favorite memories are running through the apple orchard behind our parents house (okay, my mom didn't run, she stayed home and cooked and baked so we'd have something to eat when we came home ravished). Most of my favorite memories though, have to do with hanging out, and eating, together. We are pros at it. And when we lived in the same small town, we'd have family dinners at least once a week, and usually on Sunday after church. Our mom always set the oven and had a chicken or roast dinner ready to eat by the time the last of us rolled on into the house. Someone would stop for Coke, and they'd always buy a loaf of french bread, still warm to eat before dinner. We'd all help set the table, make the salad, play with the baby (only one grand baby back then, Aidan is now 11...) and generally have a good time. We didn't know how great we had it, hanging out, eating good food, and laughing together, so often.
You see, there are five of us siblings. Hannah and I (Andrea) along with our three brothers, Ryan, Jacob and Ethan. The oldest of us is nearing 40 yrs old and the youngest of us is just a babe of 23. We did a lot of traveling growing up but for the last few years of my teen/early twenties we were all settled in this same small town. Our parents had a beautiful home on a quiet (except for us) cul de sac and this became our home base, the street named Citrus, we were always coming and going. I didn't think anything of it. It was normal and we enjoyed many holidays, and birthdays, and bar-b-ques on that street, in that house. My sister (in law) told me a few years ago how surprised she was that we'd all stand around in the kitchen, in that house, with forks and eat cake...OUT OF THE PAN...like it was the most natural thing in the world. I was so shocked, for two reasons; 1. she did it with us (and I had no idea she thought it was strange), and 2. Didn't everybody do that? haha. Looking back, I think that's one of the things I miss most, those unexpected moments where we'd gather, not meaning to, and just eat cake, laugh at Ethan (our youngest brother) acting out scenes from old movies, or how we'd just sit around and talk about where we'd go running once the food settled.
It's been nearly ten years since Citrus. And since then we are spread out all over the globe. Texas, Oregon, Idaho, Austria and Australia....So you can probably guess how often we get together. I think it's been a good 3 years since we were all in the same state, much less the same house. Mostly we stay in touch through Internet, phone calls and iMessage. And actually, it's daily. We act like we all still live in the same town, and we will randomly text about what our next meal together will be. I'm guessing there will be big steaks to be grilled, lots of sides...and probably a cake or two.
So this one is for you, guys.
What you will need:
FOR THE CAKE:
1 white cake mix (we like Ducan Hines)
3 egg whites
1 cup water (minus 3 tablespoons)
*3 tablespoons fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1.5 tablespoons poppyseeds
(this is for a very mild grapefruit flavor. If you prefer a stronger grapefruit taste to your cake add 5 tablespoons of grapefruit juice in place of the 3 tablespoons. Just remember to omit those extra tablespoons from the amount of water you add to the cake. You don't want the batter to be too runny.)
FOR THE FROSTING:
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons poppyseeds
You will also need:
Two 9in cake pans
Parchment paper, cut to fit into bottom of cake pan
What you will do:
For the cake:
Preheat oven 325F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the cake mix, egg whites, water, grapefruit juice and oil. Mix slowly for 30 seconds then turn the mixer to medium high and beat for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes add the 1.5 tablespoons of poppy seeds and mix until incorporated.
Butter each cake pan and place precut parchment paper round into the bottoms of the pans. Now butter the parchment paper and then lightly flour entire pans. Divide the cake batter between the pans and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick in the center of each cake comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack. Allow cakes to cool completely.
What you will do:
For the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, place room temperature butter and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until butter is fluffy. With the mixer off, add 2 cups of the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice and mix on low. Once that is incorporated repeat the process with remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice. Once everything is combined, beat at medium high speed until frosting is nice and fluffy. Around 2 minutes. You want an easy to spread frosting. Light and fluffy. I keep saying fluffy. But really, that's what you want! If the frosting seems too hard, add more grapefruit juice, 1 teaspoon at a time. If the frosting seems too wet, add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Do not add the poppyseed's yet!
Crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Now place a third of the remaining frosting on the top of the cake.
Now you will add the 2 teaspoons of poppyseed's to the frosting still in the bowl. Mix until combined.
Frost your cake by first smoothing the sides with the poppyseed frosting, then with the same spatula smooth the top. This will give you a nice, thick layer of poppyseed's on the sides of the cake, but only a few, uncluttered ones on the top.
Now, start the coffee and cut that cake!