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One of my favorite things about living in southwest Idaho is the short winter.  Our mild winter weather comes as a surprise to many people, who seem to think I trudge about in snow shoes for 8 months of the year.  But really, it has felt like spring since February.  Nights still get chilly, but the days have been in the 40s-60s for almost two months now.

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And while I love being able to wear tank tops outside this time of year, a negative consequence is that winter citrus season flies by.  I’ll miss how winter citrus sort of injects sunshine into a gloomy season — but at least it will be replaced with real sunshine (and gardening — I started a half-dozen varieties of tomatoes today!).

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This grapefruit angel food cake is a perfect send-off to the winter citrus season.  The crumb itself is bold and punchy with sweet-tart grapefruit zest.  Pour a grapefruit-rich syrup over top for serving, to pack even more citrus flavor into this delightful cake.  And the low-cal, light, and spongy texture of an angel food cake is perfect for the seasonal transition to warmer temperatures and sunshine.

If grapefruit is unavailable, this cake can definitely be made with any other citrus variety.  Just substitute the zest and juice — and consider adjusting the sugar content of the glaze depending upon how sweet or tart your citrus is.

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Grapefruit Angel Food Cake

Makes 1 tube pan | Total time ~2 hours (90 minutes inactive)

For the Cake

  • 12 egg whites
  • 1 + 1/2 C sugar, divided
  • 1 C cake flour
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest of half a large grapefruit (I used red grapefruit, but any variety will do)

For the Glaze

  • juice of 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1 C granulated sugar or 1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
  • zest of half a large grapefruit

Directions

  1. Separate eggs and let egg whites come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Combine flour and half of the sugar, and sift twice.  Set aside.
  4. Add cream of tartar and salt to egg whites, and whisk to soft peaks.  Add remaining sugar and grapefruit zest, and whisk to medium peaks.
  5. Sprinkle the sifted flour and sugar to cover the top of the egg whites, and fold in.  Repeat until all flour and sugar are incorporated into batter.
  6. Pour batter into ungreased 10″ tube pan.  Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool, inverted, at least 1 hour, before removing cake from pan.
  8. Meanwhile, prepare glaze by combining ingredients in small saucepan.  Bring to boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.  Maintain simmer for 20 minutes until glaze is thickened.

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