Awhile ago, I posted about my first visit to the Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios. It was probably the best meal I’ve had to date at the Disney parks: a champagne flight and a delicious duck entrée topped off with a slice of the famous grapefruit cake. Lovely!
I really enjoyed the grapefruit cake — even more than I thought I would. The cake had a fine crumb and a taste that expertly mingled sweet and tart flavors. I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting, but this was tangy and lightly applied, and a grapefruit glaze offset the creaminess of the frosting.
It wasn’t difficult to dig up a recipe for this. But frankly I was surprised at how little grapefruit was actually used in the recipe. A few teaspoons of juice, plus some lemon juice and zest. If anything, I felt the addition of more grapefruit could only help. Then again, I usually prefer robust to subtle flavors.
While playing around with the recipe, I realized I didn’t really have the appropriate cake pans to make a perfect-looking Hollywood Brown Derby replica. Nor did I have the time, patience or talent to garnish the cake in a manner similar to how I had first experienced it. So I took the easy way out and made cupcakes. Boom.
A quick note: Though the juice and zest is divided amongst the cake and frosting in this recipe, I ended up using two grapefruits total.
HOLLYWOOD BROWN DERBY GRAPEFRUIT CUPCAKES
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Zest of 1 grapefruit
- Juice of 1 1/2 grapefruits
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 16 oz. (2 blocks) cream cheese or Neufchâtel cheese
- Juice of 1/2 grapefruit
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Zest of 1 grapefruit
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the water, oil, zest, juice and the three egg yolks.
In yet a third bowl, toss in the three egg whites and the cream of tartar. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.
Pour the liquid egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture, combining them with a wire whisk. Fold the egg whites in a bit at a time, then pour the entire mixture into lined cupcake pans and bake the cupcakes until a toothpick comes out clean, just about 20 minutes or so.
To make the frosting, beat together all the ingredients — cheese, juice, powdered sugar and zest. Frost the cupcakes once they’re cool. I used a pastry bag. You can just pour the frosting in a Ziploc bag and snip off a tip for a DIY pastry bag, or just use a spatula or knife, whatevs.
I really enjoyed these. There was a more pronounced grapefruit flavor and tartness than the original Hollywood Brown Derby cake. Have you ever modified a Disney recipe or a favorite restaurant’s recipe? How did it turn out?