Today marks my one year blogiversary. To celebrate I baked this delightful grapefruit cake, put on my Molly Yeh cake tat and had some sparkling wine!
I started this blog exactly one year ago today because I felt like there were not many Latina voices like mine out there in the blogging world.
I was also excited about the prospect of recording some of the rich culinary tradition in my own family but even more broadly about the rich pre-hispanic Mexican cooking tradition. As a newlywed I was noticing myself pushing the limits of “Mexican cuisine” in my kitchen as I was fusing my favorite meals with my husband’s favorite Korean foods.
I told my husband that I wanted to start a blog in the summer of 2015 when it was still a very new idea. My husband who is normally cautious about starting anything new, was incredibly supportive and encouraged me to start the blog. After that initial conversation we even decided that I should work part time in order to create time for blogging.
Unfortunately, when the school year started that fall I found myself slammed by a very demanding work schedule which though technically part time, ended up feeling like the same or even more work than my previous year working full time. The blog got put on hold until December of 2015.
We had planned a getaway in Cape Cod for the days following Christmas in order to pray and plan for the new year. It was in that tiny, ill equipped kitchen that the Spiced Kitchen was born!
I went into blogging knowing very little about food photography or the more technical aspects of blogging. This year, I’ve learned a lot but more than anything, I’ve learned how to learn and how to stick to it.
I’ve learned how to install plugins, mess around with code (a tiny little bit), write more effectively, use a DSLR camera, cook for food photography, style and edit pictures.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years I tried dozens of different activities for a season or two–ballet, soccer, guitar, yoga, rugby–but I could never commit to anything. After the novelty of it wore out and things got a little difficult, I would move on to something else.
Learning photography this past year has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the blog because I’ve stuck to it and as a result, I’ve seen such immense growth. When I first began to shoot with my DSLR in manual mode, I was perplexed. I tried getting the ratio of numbers and dials just right but my pictures were often overexposed or underexposed. Even when they did work out, my composition or styling were off, it felt like I was not producing the quality of photos I was envisioning. I’m still not there, but somehow through the cycles of critiquing my own work and practicing, I’ve been able to see my photography skills increase tremendously. I was even able to earn money from my photography skills by photographing for a local business this fall!
I still have a ton of room for growth and am so excited to keep sharing great recipes with you that I’m discovering in my kitchen this upcoming year. In order to celebrate this year of growth check out some of my favorite images below in chronological order.
Special shout out to my husband for eating cold meals this entire year while I photographed, for tons of solicited and sometimes unsolicited feedback and for tons of patience all around. I love you!
The Blogiversary Cake:
Although I love grapefruit for its tart and bitter bite, I know that many people might not feel the same way. Still, this Grapefruit Cake is one of the best cakes I’ve ever had: the citrus sponge cake is crumbly and light, the grapefruit curd is the perfect balance of richness, sweetness and tartness, and the mild cream cheese frosting perfectly envelops and complements the citrus flavors of the cake and the curd.
The cake recipe itself is by Tessa Huff. The original recipe is found on the cake blog and the slightly adapted ingredient list is included below for your convenience. The only change I made was to substitute orange for grapefruit.
The frosting is a simple Cream Cheese Buttercream. I’m sure there are a ton of variations of this but the recipe I used is found here. It was a great balance of cream cheese and butter cream taste. I cut about 1 cup of sugar from the recipe and found that it still frosted well. The ingredient list is the same as the original, but doubled.
And finally, the Grapefruit Curd. The grapefruit curd was simply a dream I’d had since trying lemon curd recently but this was actually my first time making it. I ended up adapting the original recipe significantly. After 23 minutes of whisking and not getting the recipe to curd, I ended up adding more sugar, dumping the butter in and eventually switching from the double boiler to a sauce pan after a few minutes of whisking. I would strongly recommend running the curd through a sieve while still hot since mine contained quite a few pieces of cooked egg. Overall, the curd took a lot of time. I would cook it again but I will try a new recipe next time.
A Delightful Grapefruit Cake
Yields: One tall 8 inch cake (8-12 slices)
Cook/Bake/Prep time: Approximately three hours
For the Grapefruit Cake:
- 2 ¾ cup cake flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- zest of one grapefruit
- ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup grapefruit juice
- 1 ¼ cup milk
For the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
- 2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 (8-ounce) package chilled cream cheese
- 5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
For the Grapefruit Curd:
- 2 teaspoons grated grapefruit zest (about 1 grapefruit)
- 2/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- Bake cakes according to Tessa Huff’s Recipe.
- While cakes are baking, prepare grapefruit curd and cream cheese buttercream.
- Level cooled cakes using a cake leveler or serrated knife.
- Brush off any stray crumbs and refrigerate cake layers in order to harden cakes for at least 30 minutes.
- Save your smoothest layer for the top of your cake. Then frost each remaining layer with a generous layer of frosting. Then add half of the grapefruit curd to each of the middle layers and spread to about one inch from the edge of the cake. Pipe a frosting border on the edge of your cake to prevent the curd from overflowing.
- Frost assembled cake in however way suits your fancy.