Guess what? Despite it’s popularity during the summer months, winter is when citrus fruits are actually in season. This is the time of the year all lemons, limes, grapefruits, etc not only taste out-of-this-world, but they’re GIANT, and usually on sale bc they’re more plentiful than other times of the year. (This is the same reasoning as to why blueberries in the summer are $2.50 and in the winter $6…and awful…and teeeeny tinyyy… and from a random country like Peru.)
I absolutely LOVE citrus season- it’s one of my favorite times to bake desserts with my favorite seasonal finds. Among them? Meyer lemons and blood oranges- which I’ll profess my undying love for in another post- and a BIG fruit called a Pomelo. They’re bigger than a grapefruit when in season, and even more delicious. Pomelo are also sodium, fat and cholesterol-free- a quarter of a Pomelo (which is a LOT, trust me) has 60 calories and counts as 130% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C
What is a Pomelo, you might ask? A Pomelo is an ancient ancestor to the grapefruit, but it’s also called a Pumello, Pamplemousse, or Chinese Grapefruit. It’s the largest of all the citrus fruits with a greenish/yellow skin, beautiful candy-pink colored inside, and it’s taste is between an orange and a grapefruit I’d say. It doesn’t have quite the bitter and astringent aftertaste of a traditional grapefruit though, which I love. It’s popular in Chinese cultures, and is often eaten during Chinese New Year because they’re thought of as a sign of prosperity and good fortune. If you cannot find Pomelos at your grocery store (I’ve seen them at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s), you can absolutely use your favorite kind of grapefruit. Ruby reds would be great in this, or a Cara Cara!
I made this recipe three times to perfect it, the first time creaming butter and sugar, and then adding the eggs, extract and the dry ingredients. The second round I used vegetable oil and Skyr (my favorite cultured dairy product, but you can also use Greek yogurt if you can’t find it). The third test I re-tested my Skyr-based recipe to make sure there were no problems at all with it when you try it yourselves at home! The first loaf above is the butter/sugar method, and the one on the right is the Skyr or yogurt/oil method. I liked both, but the oil/Skyr I preferred because it stayed moist for much longer than the butter version.
Not that this is going to last long at your house…because it won’t.
The cake is addictively enticing…you have fluffy pieces of pound cake so it’s immediately sweet, but then you get the balance from the slightly bitter pomelo. And then it’s rounded out by one of my favorite unsung heroes of my kitchen- Fiori di Sicilia extract from King Arthur Flour. YOU GUYS. THIS
It’s a combination of lemon, orange and vanilla essences, and if you’re a fan of citrus or Italian classics like panettone bread at the holidays, this is your new best friend. I have to resist the urge to put a lot in, only a bit is needed because this stuff packs a punch. But it’s SO GOOD I even put it in the glaze to reinforce the flavor. If you don’t have it or cant find it, you can use vanilla extract and/or orange or lemon extract in it’s place. I’d use 2 tsp of vanilla extract OR 1 tsp of orange/lemon extract, as they’re stronger than just vanilla and can easily overpower the flavor of the pound cake.
And this glaze is SOOOOO good, and I barely used one full pomelo for the whole recipe! I hope you enjoy this recipe, it’s so easy to make but is a showstopper, especially with this pink pop of color in the glaze. If you’re making this for Valentine’s Day you can add in a drop of pink or red food coloring if you’re feeling so inclined. My husband said this is among the top 5 things I’ve ever made- and considering I’ve baked probably 244,563 things for him over the years, that’s really saying something!
Pomelo Pound Cake
1 ¾ oz. all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ C. Skyr or Greek yogurt
½ C. Vegetable oil
1 C. White granulated sugar
1/3 C. Pomelo juice
1 tbsp pomelo zest
1 tsp fiori di sicilia extract (or vanilla, see notes above in text)
1 C. Powdered sugar
2 tbsp pomelo juice
½ tsp fiori di sicilia or vanilla extract
1-2 drops of pink/red food color, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 9 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray and line with parchment paper if desired.
Whisk flour, salt and baking powder together in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
In a mixer or a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, then add in the Skyr/yogurt, oil, sugar, juice, zest and extracts.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Avoid overmixing!
Pour into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Allow to cool and then make glaze for the top!
In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, pomelo juice and extract until a glaze forms
Add in food color, if desired, and mix until uniform in color
Drizzle over cooled pound cake and enjoy!
Store pound cake at room temperature wrapped in clear wrap for up to 3 days!