Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake


We went to Florida last weekend. It was our first beach holiday since we moved to the US last summer. And boy did we need it! I have been convinced that my skin was turning grey in this foul winter weather. It was time for some much needed sun. It was so wonderful to sit by the beach for hours and get toasted in the sun while we both sunk into our respective books (me: The Omnivore’s Dilemma, him: Winning Chess) Not talking. Just being. Reading. Dozing. It was perfect.

Another thing on our list was to visit organic citrus farms and buy some fresh fruit to take home with us. My husband has vivid memories of visiting Florida as a child with his family and stopping on the highway along the trip for fresh orange and grapefruit juice. So we rented a car and drove from Miami to Fort Lauderdale to find these farms and check the fresh highway juice off our list. It was a fun little adventure. Considering neither of us has much experience driving on US highways, he took to the wheel (I failed my driving test the week before. Don’t ask.) and I was navigator and DJ, It was a memorable ride. To say the least =) We came back with Ruby Grapefruit and Valencia Oranges, and I knew I had to do a post with them.


My husband is a HUGE grapefruit lover. He loves the fruit so much, that he usually eats one a day. He has a special way of cutting it too – neatly peeling all the skin out so all that is left is wonderful pearls of the fruit that are both crunchy and juicy at the same time. I can’t complain really, since cutting a grapefruit is generally a lot of work. I was curious to bake a cake using grapefruit. Grapefruit itself has a lot of flavor, but unlike its other cousins, it leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste. I wasn’t sure how that would turn out in a cake, but this recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s Cookbook did a good job of bringing out the fresh and citrusy notes without the aftertaste . Using olive oil instead of butter is definitely one trick to keeping your cake moist! Also, it’s such a lovely light cake, that it goes wonderfully with your afternoon tea. I skipped the glaze, to cut down the sweetness. Though slightly less pretty – it tasted fantastic!

Also – I think this recipe can be used Oranges just as well, simply replace wherever Grapefruit is used!



Recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook


The Cake

Butter or non-stick spray for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons freshly grated grapefruit zest, from 2 large grapefruits
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt

The Syrup
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice

The Glaze (I didn’t glaze my cake to simply cut back on the sweetness)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
Pinch of salt


Heat the over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, rub the grapefruit zest into the sugars with your fingertips. This will help release as much grapefruit essence as possible. Whisk in the oil until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a second bowl. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice and buttermilk/or yogurt. Add the flour and buttermilk/or yogurt mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-and-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

Spread the batter in the pan, smooth the top, and tap the pan on the counter a few times to ensure there are no air bubbles trapped. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Make the grapefruit syrup

Combine 2 tablespoons of sugar with 1/3 cup grapefruit juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

When the cake is finished, let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then invert it onto a rack set over a tray. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer or toothpick, then spoon or brush the grapefruit syrup over the cake. Let the cake cool completely while it absorbs the syrup.

Make the glaze

Combine the confectioners’ sugar, grapefruit juice, and pinch of salt in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Pour the glaze over the top of cooled cake, and allow glaze to drizzle decoratively down the sides.


5 thoughts on “Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

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