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Fresh Grapefruit Cake – a simple recipe for citrus season

image of grapefruit cake on small white plate with fork

Every winter we have an abundance of citrus. It’s so wonderful, but it can be overwhelming at times. At the beginning of citrus season we’re excited and eating tons of it. But towards then end of the season you’ll find me juicing and freezing citrus juice almost daily as we make sure to not waste any because we’ll be wishing for it come mid summer. And I finally give in and make grapefruit cake.

The cake is always the same, although sometimes I use freshly ground whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour. But the icing can be an grapefruit cream cheese frosting, a grapefruit glaze, or a simple powered sugar dust. Regardless of the topping, grapefruit cake is sure to please the grapefruit lover in your life.

Grapefruit cake tastes a bit like lemon cake…but grapefruit. This is a moist but dense cake. My family doesn’t care for “fluffy” cakes so dense, old fashion cakes are what I make.

image of girl mixing grapefruit cake batter

Let’s chat about grapefruit for just a moment….there are many varieties of grapefruit. In my opinion, red grapefruit are the best because they are sweeter than the lighter white fleshed grapefruit.

Many people say they don’t like grapefruit, but I think they’ve just never had a good grapefruit.

Also, unless you just really like bitter tasting things, you should remove the pulp from the casing of each section and just eat the pulp. The casing and pith (the white part under the peel) is very bitter.

Of course, some people enjoy eating it just like an orange but most don’t. Here’s a super quick way to peel and section grapefruit.

image of zesting grapefruit

To zest the grapefruit, I like to use a stainless steel zester. I like the long handled kind and not the short ones. If you don’t have a zester, you can use a cheese grater that has small holes, just be careful not to grate it too deep or you’ll get the bitter pith in your zest.

If you don’t happen to have grapefruit, you can substitute the grapefruit with lemons, Meyer lemons are especially good in this recipe.

This grapefruit cake recipe makes a single layer 9 inch round cake, which is perfect for most families. If you need a bigger cake you can double the recipe and make it a double layer cake or make it in a 9 x 13 pan.

image of grapefruit cake decorated with grapefruit sections

Grapefruit Cake

Grapefruit Cake

Grapefruit cake is a tasty twist on the traditional lemon cake. This cake is not fussy and comes together quickly. It has a moist dense crumb and a tangy flavor.


  • 1 1/2 cups flour - (I use freshly ground soft white wheat)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon grapefruit zest
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 eggs whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.
  2. Oil and flour a 9" cake pan.
  3. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  5. Add water, butter, zest, grapefruit juice and egg yolks. Mix until smooth.
  6. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar separately until whites are stiff but not dry.
  7. Gradually fold egg whites into flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just blended. Do not stir the mixture.
  8. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until cake springs back when gently touched with a finger.
  10. Let cake cool on baking rack and then remove from pan and frost.

Did you make this recipe?

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Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting

This cream cheese frosting with just a hint of grapefuit is just what is needed to top a grapefruit cake or any white cake that you want to add a little zing to.


  • 1 4 oz package of cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
  • 1-1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned (for decorating)


  1. In stand mixer or in bowl with hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, grapefruit juice and grapefruit zest.
  2. Mix in powdered sugar and beat well.
  3. After cake has cooled, frost cake and garnish with grapefruit sections.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest


Do you like grapefruit? What is your favorite way to eat it?

Thanks for sharing with your friends!


Monday 19th of August 2019

This is such a unique cake!. Glad I found your recipe here. I love grapefruit so I will have to make this. I'm sure it could become the Florida state cake!


Sunday 13th of January 2019

I have never heard of grapefruit cake! I can’t wait to give it a try.

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