Grapefruits have never appealed to me in the way that lemons have. They’re a mix of tart and sweet that I never got used to and although many people eat them for breakfast, I just can’t seem to like them enough.
But when grapefruit is used in cake, it takes on a whole new form. The mouth-puckering tartness becomes intoxicating; the light sweetness, played up by raw sugar, fuller and sweeter. And when the freshly baked cake is infused with grapefruit syrup and topped with a grapefruit-lemon glaze, it’s enough for me to change my mind and eat cake grapefruit for breakfast.
Yield: 1 bundt cake
Why I love this recipe: the bitterness of the grapefruit is complemented by fruity olive oil and tempered by a combination of white + raw sugars. Yogurt gives the cake breakfast-worthy heft, and pouring fresh grapefruit syrup over the cake, and then glazing it with a citrus-y icing, makes it sweet, slightly tart, and just right.
For the cake:
- Butter for pan
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated grapefruit zest
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
- 1/2 cup light olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean seeds or extract
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- fresh grapefruit cut into half moons
For the syrup + glaze:
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Make the cake. Heat the over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a small bundt or loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, rub the grapefruit zest into the sugars with your fingertips. 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 yogurt mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-and-sugar mixture.
- Spread the batter in the pan, smooth the top, and rap the pan on the counter to ensure there are no air bubbles trapped. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- 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.
- 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, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, and salt in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the top of cooled cake, and allow glaze to drip down the sides. If desired, place grapefruit half-moons decoratively over the top.