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Grapefruit Pound Cake

Grapefruit pound cake on a white platter

This is the most awkward time of year for produce. Our expectation in winter is that we have to rely on imported or frozen fruit, if we want anything other than snow to eat. During the summer we have all kinds of local options and even take them for granted by August. Right now, at least in Minnesota, we’re watching the buds come out on the trees, the crocuses are popping up and we’re hopeful that it won’t snow again. But, it will.

There is nothing but tasteless berries and wooden imported fruit at the grocery store. But, thankfully there is always citrus to cheer us up. It is not local in Minnesota, although with our new classification of growing zone 5, it may just be a matter of time before I grow my own. But, unlike imported berries and stone fruits, citrus travels well and is juicy and delicious when it gets to us. I adore grapefruit. I think it is often overlooked; giving up the stage to its more popular cousins, oranges, limes and lemons. It is a more subtle, less sweet or tart than any of those. It makes great mimosas too. I digress.

This grapefruit pound cake is based on a recipe from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert. I’ve made his orange or passion fruit pound cake many times, but I like it even better with grapefruit. I also swap out the butter for a light olive oil. It is a wonderful rich flavor, but also creates a soft, moist crumb that lasts well for several days. Unlike butter, which gets a stiff crumb after just a couple days. Having said that, I’ve made it with butter as well and it never, ever lasts long enough to worry about the crumb on the second day.

Grapefruit Pound Cake

See me make this step by step in the photos below and the full recipe is at the bottom of this post.

To prepare cake:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Grease a 9″ loaf pan with butter, line with parchment and grease the parchment with more butter.

Pouring light olive oil from a measuring cup

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and olive oil.

Whisking eggs and brown sugar in a mixing bowl

Add the zest, eggs, grapefruit juice and vanilla, mix until well incorporated. Fold the flour in just until there are no streaks of flour, but be careful not to over mix or the cake will be tough.

Grapefruit pound cake batter in a ceramic baking dish

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Grapefruit pound cake batter in a ceramic baking dish lined with parchment

The batter should come up no higher than 2/3 of the way up the pan.

Grapefruit Pound Cake in a ceramic loaf pan on a cooling rack

Bake grapefruit pound cake for about 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Try not to over bake the cake. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes.

While the cake cools, heat the juice and sugar for the glaze. David suggests just stirring them together, not letting the sugar dissolve. I have always cooked them together making a syrup that will run through the cake. His way will create a crunchy top and mine gives a softer crust. Try both and see which way you prefer.

Poke the cake with lots of holes with a skewer all over the cake and all the way through. You want many holes, so the glaze will go through them to moisten the interior crumb. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the loaf with half the glaze.

Grapefruit Pound Cake cooling on a wire rack

Remove the cake from the pan and repeat the soaking on the sides and bottom until you’ve used all the glaze.

Grapefruit Pound Cake on a cooling rack next to a pastry brush

Allow the grapefruit pound cake to cool and absorb the glaze.

Grapefruit Pound Cake on a white platter
Grapefruit Pound Cake

Grapefruit Pound Cake

This grapefruit pound cake is based on a recipe from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert. I've made his orange or passion fruit pound cake many times, but I like it even better with grapefruit. I also swap out the butter for a light olive oil. It is a wonderful rich flavor, but also creates a soft, moist crumb that lasts well for several days.
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Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (210g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) olive oil I used a light flavored oil, not a super fruity one
  • 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar
  • Grated zest of 2 grapefruits preferably organic and washed well
  • 2 tbsp fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature (if they are cold, just put them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (homemade vanilla extract)

Glaze

  • 2/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Instructions

Prepare the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ loaf pan with butter, line with parchment and grease the parchment with more butter.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and olive oil.
  • Add the zest, eggs, grapefruit juice and vanilla, mix until well incorporated. Fold the flour in just until there are no streaks of flour, but be careful not to over mix or the cake will be tough. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. The batter should come up no higher than 2/3 of the way up the pan.
  • Bake grapefruit pound cake for about 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Try not to over bake the cake. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes.

Glaze

  • While the cake cools, heat the juice and sugar for the glaze. David suggests just stirring them together, not letting the sugar dissolve. I have always cooked them together making a syrup that will run through the cake. His way will create a crunchy top and mine gives a softer crust. Try both and see which way you prefer.
  • Poke the cake with lots of holes with a skewer all over the cake and all the way through. You want many holes, so the glaze will go through them to moisten the interior crumb. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the loaf with half the glaze.
  • Remove the cake from the pan and repeat the soaking on the sides and bottom until you’ve used all the glaze. Allow the grapefruit pound cake to cool and absorb the glaze.
  • It is wonderful all on its own or served with Greek style yogurt with a drop of rose water. I got this idea from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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17 thoughts to “Grapefruit Pound Cake”

  1. Love when I get your emails. I can always depend on something that I can’t wait to try. I decide I will have to make this for my hubby–he loves grapefruit–He once adapted a lemon meringue pie recipe to make a grapefruit one.

  2. Oh my gosh! I absolutely cannot wait to bake this! I love grapefruit and usually have one every day. I’m a bit crazy as I even like the white pithy part and the seeds! Thank you so much.

    1. Hi Vickie,

      I have been known to eat the pithy parts too, but the seeds I’ve not tried. You are a true fan! 🙂

      Thanks, Zoë

    2. i love the pithy parts too!!! me = standing tall now as not the only freak in town. the seeds? i am diving in and going for it now. oh, how you tease~

  3. i have tried and made over ten of your ridiculously perfect amazing shares. i look forward to making this my next bake. thank you thank you thank you for your genius 🙂

  4. Yes! We are in an annoying limbo between the winter and spring produce here in Minnesota. But your bread looks lovely! I think my husband would really enjoy it – he’s a big citrus fan. And I’m jealous that things are blooming where you live in Minnesota. We’re zone 3. 🙂

  5. Anything baked in a loaf pan is fine by me. Made this for an easy dessert since I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand ( just love it when that happens!). I used red grapefruit. Also, the rosewater scented yogurt is genius. Makes a great breakfast treat with my coffee too! I might try tangerine next time. Thank you Zoe and David.

    1. Hi Jenna, yes! You can use the same amount of butter to swap for the olive oil. Enjoy!

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