Grapefruit Cake

So I’m sure every time you come onto this blog, you’re thinking “This is not a food blog.” Yup, I said it. But guess what? You no longer have to think that. Because I’m making the all-important fusion between food and travel blogs! Today’s recipe, my first recipe, is actually one that has been on my radar for several years now. While only a few of you know of my passionate love for grapefruits, I will defend that they are the grape-est and great-est of fruits. And so I made Pastry Affair’s Grapefruit Cake with Grapefruit Buttercream.

First, I halved the recipe (even though I was recently told to NEVER do that? What? When have you ever baked before, I ask this person?!) Because it’s supposed to be a two-layer cake, but my host family has only 1 circular cake pan. So be it. I also changed the recipe into the METRIC system, because of cultural immersion or something like that. If you want it in “American” just go to my link to A Pastry Affair. If you want to convert your recipes to the metric system (so then I can make them and won’t have to convert them myself) I have come to use the conversions at because they recognize that a cup of butter does not weigh the same as a cup of flour and they have a great selection of conversions. Very user friendly (No, they did not pay me to say that)


Grapefruit Cake HALF RECIPE
Adapted from Joy the Baker, and Pastry Affair

50 g granulated sugar
Zest of .5 grapefruit*
1 large eggs
123 g plain non-fat Greek yogurt (I used buttermilk, because Greek yogurt doesn’t exist here, despite its relative proximity to Greece. I also just used 123 g anyway, even though that wouldn’t be an even conversion. We didn’t have yogurt, which is what this conversion is for)
40 ml light olive oil (I eye-balled half of a third of a cup?)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (They don’t use vanilla extract here, but vanilla powder. So I tasted it, then eyeballed)
40 ml + 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice*
125 g  cake flour (I didn’t have cake flour, so I used flour + 1 spoon cornstarch)
1/2 tablespoon baking powder (eyeballed)
pinch salt


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. My oven here preheats really quickly so I didn’t do this until I put the cake into the pan. Grease cake pan. I used a springform that I didn’t measure. I also papered the bottom, which is where you trace the bottom of the pan onto wax paper and cut it out. Then grease the pan as usual, put in the paper, and grease the paper. Extra insurance that it will come out of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together sugar and grapefruit zest with your fingers until the sugar pretty much turns orange (or the color of the zest). Beat in egg, mixing well. Mix in yogurt, olive oil, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoon grapefruit juice (reserve the rest). Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.


So at this point, I poured the batter into my pan and it BARELY covered the bottom. No thanks to me for not measuring it. So I raced to make another half-batch. It seriously took me a quarter of the time as the first half-batch somehow.

Pour batter into cake pan(s) and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Clean up your mess. You can see mine in the background of this picture. That WAS on purpose. I feel like recipes written on blogs often leave out this step which ALWAYS exists, even in no-bake situations.

*It is hard to juice a citrus fruit that has already been grated. The juice tends to come out the pores on top that are not covered anymore by peel. It is also hard to grate a citrus fruit that has already been juiced. Holding a half, flat peel is really awkward, and it brings your finger uncomfortably close to the grater. So, pick your poison.*


Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/3 cup grapefruit juice on top on the cake layers, allowing the juice to soak into the cake. I just eyeballed it, again, until the cake was moist and sticky to touch. Allow to cool to room temperature. For real though. Don’t even make the buttercream until it’s cool. I always do, then I regret it because I get anxious to frost it, then the frosting just melts off. While I was making this (between 4 and 6pm) my host dad asked what the time frame was, because, if you’ve read me before, this is usually cake time at my house. I said to him “No, no no. This is a dessert dessert.” He was disappointed. But wasn’t when he ate it at dessert time.


Grapefruit Buttercream Halved
82 grams freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (I used the 160 g I had left over from juicing two grapefruits already, figuring I’ll just get a stronger grapefruity flavor than was intended. Also, 82 grams is a pretty small amount to boil without watching the WHOLE TIME. I ended up boiling it down to about 2.5 tbsp)
60 grams (quarter of a European stick, half of an American stick) butter, room temperature (!!!Muy importante!!)
Zest of 1 grapefruit (I did not have or halve this)
250 grams powdered sugar (EYEBALL)
Heavy cream (EYEBALL)

In a small saucepan, bring grapefruit juice to a boil and simmer until it reduces and thickens to about a third of what is was (originally from ¾ cup to ¼ ) cup. Cool to room temperature. Like I said, mine ended up reducing to about 2 and a half tablespoons. I’m an American and will never stop thinking in tablespoons.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and grapefruit zest until smooth (I didn’t have any zest left, so I skipped this step). Mix in thickened grapefruit juice. Gradually add powdered sugar until incorporated and smooth. Because the thickened grapefruit juice will vary in amount, add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved. I ended up adding quite a lot of sugar to make it enough to cover the whole cake.


End result: A moist, butter free (didn’tcha notice?) cake, with a soft but not particularly sweet grapefruit flavor. That added with the very tangy and sweet frosting was a good choice, but I could imagine it frosting-free with maybe a drizzled plain icing in a more breakfasty setting. The frosting was what made it really strong grapefruit flavor. I could imagine duplicating this recipe with any citrus fruit. And the family liked it (I really liked this picture across the dinner table of the cake and Ole eating his). The color was more orangey than I expected, not quite as yellow as you see in this picture, definitely more of a soft pink-y orange. I really liked that the reduced grapefruit juice did that, no food coloring necessary. Hooray!

Best of luck to you, bakers and travelers. May your eyeballing always take you further than your measurements.


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