The Magical Layers in Grapefruit Sabayon Cake

Are you ready for a little dessert? It’s been quite a while since I brought one to these pages. But I was playing around in the kitchen recently and came up with these Grapefruit Sabayon Cakes. Which is a rather fancy pants name for a dessert that’s a re-interpreted Martha Stewart meets Betty Crocker classic. The original is called Lemon Cake Pie and I have posted about it before.

Its roots seem sorta southern recipe to me… and though the version I presented here before comes from my mother’s recipe files I know for a fact this recipe is not completely original to my mother. Because I remember this recipe from a Betty Crocker Cookbook we used to have around the house. I remember it vividly in fact, because to my young non-cooking brain I found the physics of the recipe fascinating. Because all you do is mix up the ingredients and then put them into a pie shell and “poof” miraculously during baking it separates into a curd (sabayon) on the bottom and the lightest, fluffiest cake you can imagine on the top. I found the whole process rather magical and still do

Today’s version swaps out the lemon for grapefruit. I baked it crustless inside little ramekins similar to a lemon version I saw from Martha Stewart. As I said the whole thing came together rather quickly and without any special planning. I usually have lemons around so I could have stayed with lemon “sabayon”. But the ruby red grapefruit this time of year is so good I went with that instead. The decision to go crustless was simply because pie crust takes special planning (and at least a half hour of resting). I was just trying to quell a nagging sweet tooth when I came up with this version. A sweet tooth does not wait for pastry to chill. GREG

Grapefruit Sabayon Cakes serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 1 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 t red grapefruit zest
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice
  • 1 c whole milk
  • 1 pn kosher salt
  • 3 c boiling water, or more as needed
  • 2 T confectioners sugar

Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter the interiors of six 6‑ounce ramekins and place in a baking dish or roasting pan.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until light; whisk in the flour. Followed by the grapefruit juice, then the milk and zest. In a separate bowl use an electric mixer to beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Add to grapefruit batter and fold in gently with a whisk.

Divide batter among prepared ramekins; place baking dish in oven and fill with boiling water to reach halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until puffed and lightly browned (but the grapefruit sabayon is still visible in bottom), 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.