Grapefruit Yogurt Cake

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.

grapefruit yogurt cake

Yield: 1 bundt cake

Lightly adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

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
  1. Make the cake. Heat the over to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a small bundt or loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, rub the grapefruit zest into the sugars with your fingertips. Whisk in the oil until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, and whisk until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the flour and yogurt mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-and-sugar mixture.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. When the cake is finished, let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then invert it onto a rack.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


sugars + zest


grapefruit yogurt cake

cake slice

9 responses to “Grapefruit Yogurt Cake”

  1. What a spectacular looking cake, and such beautiful pictures too! I love grapefruit but it took me a long time to come round to enjoying them. I’ve never used them in a cake though – it sounds wonderful 🙂

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