A Ruby Red Rio Star Grapefruit Upside-Down Cake for Dark February Days

Rio Star Grapefruit

Hold On! Do Not Panic! This is not a giant red asteroid about to hit the earth!

It is, on the other hand, a very close-up iphone photo of a Texas Rio Star Grapefruit that I just turned into the most delicious upside down cake.

Last year about this time I was writing about Blood Oranges and baking little tartlets. This year I have turned to Texas Rio Star Grapefruits & Upside-Down Cakes.  Deep winter is the only time I can find these ruby red-orange grapefruits in our local markets.

An Upside-Down Cake is such a classic and simple, homey & cozy dessert…the perfect foil for this jewel of the citrus world.

Rio Star Grapefruit Upside-Down Cake

This recipe was inspired by  a recipe for upside-down Blood Orange Cake I saw in The New York Times, Wednesday, January 16, 2013 in an article by Melissa Clark.  Here is my version using Texas Rio Star Grapefruits .

Here is what you will need:

2  Texas Rio Star Grapefruits

1 1/2 stick of Butter  softened + 1/2 stick for baking pan

2/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar

1 TBSP freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

1/2 cup White whole-wheat Flour

1 cup Yellow Cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

Generous pinch of Sea or Kosher Salt

1 cup Raw Sugar

4 Eggs

1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt

1 TBSP grated Rio Star Grapefruit peel

1 TBSP Vanilla Extract

Here is how you make this cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt the 1/2 stick butter over medium heat in a 10 inch iron skillet. Remove from heat. Stir the dark brown sugar & lemon juice into the melted butter. Set aside.

Butter & Sugar Melted

2. Slice off the top and bottom of each of the Grapefruits. Cut the peel & pith away from the Grapefruit. Cut peeled Grapefruit into 1/4″ circles. Remove any seeds.

Rio Star Grapefruit

3. Arrange Grapefruit slices over the bottom of the iron skillet covering the butter-sugar-lemon juice mixture.

Butter Sugar Melted

Rio Star Grapefruit Wheels

4. In a bowl mix together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder & salt with a whisk. Using a mixer, blend together in a large mixing bowl the 1 1/2 stick softened butter & raw sugar.  Scrape down side of bowl when needed. Add eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition. Add zest, yogurt & vanilla extract. Add flour mixture by 1/2 cupfuls at a time to the butter-sugar-egg mixture until well mixed. Do not over-mix.  Batter will be thick. Scrape batter into the skillet over the grapefruit slices spreading out to edges  and smoothing top of batter.

Upside-Down Cake Batter

5. Bake for about 40-45 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake for a few minutes in the pan.

Baked Upside-Down Cake

6. Invert cake upside-down on a large plate or platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Rio Star Grapefruit Upside Down Cake

Here, have a bite….

Rio Star Upside-Down Cake

This is a very moist cake, with a slight bit of crunch from the cornmeal, very citrusy and not too sweet. The colors are to die for and will make you very happy in these dark days of February.

Drink it or eat it, but get some Vitamin C however you can!

Rio Star Grapefruits

“Bloody Sweet Orange Tartlets”

Is it possible to fall in love with an orange. I think so…it happened to me. I had a short love affair with a few blood oranges yesterday. Obsessed, I posed & photographed 7 little blood oranges for a good part of my day. Whole, cut, peeled, the peel itself, juiced, all together, separately…from the front, from the back, overhead, sideways.

Don’t you just love that color….a crimson red, a sexy red, a not-a-red-flannel nightgown red. This color takes my breath away…I am gobsmacked…I am enchanted. The colors of the planet Mars via National Geographic!

I couldn’t stop at posing these beautiful orbs…I needed to turn them into delicious drinkables for later & edibles for right now. So six of my blood oranges are presently becoming “Blood Orange-cello” and Jam…..more about those at a later date, and one very special little “red planet” was turned into four tartlets.

An easy & simple recipe for “Bloody Sweet Orange Tartlets”


Enough pie dough for 4 small tart pans

Raw or Turbinado sugar

4 ozs softened cream cheese

1 large egg

1 Blood Orange, peeled, pith removed & thinly sliced

How to make it:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll pie dough out into 4 thin circles & loosely fit into tart pans. Sprinkle each with 1 tsp of sugar. Place tart pans on a sheet pan & bake for about 6 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove from oven.

2. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the softened cream cheese, 2 tbsp sugar & egg until smooth. Evenly divide filling between the 4 tart pans.

3.  Place one slice of the blood orange on top of each filled tart & sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown & puffy.

4. Eat warm from the oven if you can, but these little tarts are great the next day.

A Little Blood Orange Gallery:

Just in case you are interested:

 Blood oranges’ red pigment, anthocyanin, is an antioxidant. The pigments begin accumulating in the vesicles at the edges of the segments and at the blossom end of the fruit, and will continue accumulating in cold storage after harvest. Due to its pigments the blood orange contain greater amounts of antioxidants than other oranges. Blood oranges have a unique flavor profile compared to other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes.

Blood oranges are a source of vitamin C like all citrus fruits. A medium-sized (154g) orange also provides 28% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber. Oranges can also be a valuable source of folatecalcium, and thiamine.

Bon Appetit, Goodbye February and Hello March.