Grapefruit Cake

Grapefruit Cake

Are you ready for  a citrusy adventure in your kitchen? Today, I’m thrilled to share with you a tangy grapefruit cake recipe that is one of my absolute favorites! Whether you’re an experienced baker or new to the world of baking, this cake recipe is easy to follow and so delicious and impressive.

​A simple cake batter is poured into a prepared pan and while being baked, you’ll prepare a grapefruit syrup when you combine grapefruit juice and sugar. While that cooks prepare a simple grapefruit glaze (some freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and powdered sugar.) Brushing the freshly baked cake with the syrup locks in the moisture and then you drizzle the sweet and tart glaze on the whole thing. The texture of the cake is really wonderful and the tart grapefruit flavor this is the perfect thing to brighten up a gray winter day. 

Ingredients needed for Grapefruit Cake: 

For the Cake:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Grapefruit zest (divided)
  • Large eggs, at room temperature
  • Whole milk, at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil
  •  Pure vanilla extract

For the Syrup:

  • Fresh grapefruit juice
  • Granulated sugar

For the Glaze:

  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Fresh grapefruit juice

Supplies needed:

  • Bundt Pan, or a 8×8 baking pan could work too, just adjust baking time.
  • Hand mixer
  • Large bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • Cooling Rack
  • Small bowl for glaze

Grapefruit Cake

How to make Grapefruit Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven. For best results, prepare your bundt cake pan by greasing it with nonstick cooking spray and dusting with flour for easy release later on.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Set this dry mixture aside.
  3. In another bowl combine the sugar and grapefruit zest, rubbing the zest to release all the oils. Add the eggs to the bowl with the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and creamy. 
  4. With the mixer running, stream in the milk, then the oil and finally the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  6. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup by combining the fresh grapefruit juice and granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar has dissolved, then set aside to cool.
  7. Once the cake is done, let the cake cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes. Then, invert the pan onto a wire rack and poke deep holes into the surface with a fork or wooden skewer. Brush the warm cake with the grapefruit syrup, allowing it to soak in.
  8. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners’ sugar and fresh grapefruit juice until smooth. Adjust the consistency by adding more sugar or juice as needed.
  9. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake and let it set for a few minutes. Garnish with zest or grapefruit slices. Then slice, serve, and enjoy the tangy goodness of your homemade grapefruit cake!

Grapefruit Cake

Store leftovers wrapped in plastic wrap or another airtight container for 3-5 days at room temp or a week in the fridge. 

Want to use lemon juice instead? This cake can be fully subbed for lemons/lemon juice and it’s delicious!

Glazed Grapefruit Bundt Cake

Glazed Grapefruit Bundt Cake


For the Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


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


  • 3/4-1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon of grapefruit zest for sprinkling, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously butter and flour a 9-inch bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, use your hands to rub the sugar and zest together for a minute or two. Add the eggs to the bowl with the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and creamy. With the mixer running, stream in the milk, then the oil and finally the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Let cake cool completely on a wire rack before inverting onto a cake stand or platter. (You can speed the cooling process up a bit in the freezer.)
  6. While the cake is baking, make the syrup: Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then continue to simmer for 1 minute.
  7. When the cake has been cooled and inverted, prick the top with a fork all over and brush it generously with the syrup.

To make the glaze:

  1. Stir the powdered sugar and grapefruit juice together adding a tablespoon of the juice first, and then a bit more if needed until the glaze is a thick but pourable consistency.
  2. Drizzle glaze generously over the cake, and sprinkle with zest if desired. Allow cake to set before serving.


Recipe adapted slightly from: Tracey's Culinary Adventures via Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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


  1. Oh man, this looks incredible! I think you are right that the grapefruit gets over-looked. I haven’t seen it in many baked goods, but I am loving your creative bundt cake! And, my hubby is kind of a grapefruit freak so this looks like something that is a must try! Pinned!

  2. This cake looks delicious! Grapefruit is so good this time of year, what a fun way to use it! I remember when my mom was pregnant with my sister (ages ago!), she was craving citrus all the time too! We used to have oranges for snack every day

  3. I am definitely a fan of grapefruit in baked goods and feel like it’s definitely not used enough! Totally making this this winter. Maybe when the next polar vortex comes through? :P

  4. This is my kind of cake, Audra.
    It’s been a while since I baked w grapefruit.
    Must get crackin’!

    Don’t forget to enter my foodie giveaway. There’s still time! xoxo

  5. What a yummy looking bundt cake and a grapefruit one to boot!
    I don’t think I ever had any kind of grapefruit cake……where have I been?!
    Going to make this soon, thanks for the recipe!
    Pinned! :-)

  6. May I substitute a mild olive oil for the vegetable oil and suffer no ill consequences?

    P.S. I eat half a grapefruit daily, I love this fruit!

    This will be my dessert at my dinner party on Saturday. Our friend loves bundt cakes.

  7. I made this and LOVED it! It didn’t an overly strong grapefruit flavour and could have easily passed for lemon but that could have been my fault too. I loved the texture, it was light, moist and delicious. I bake all the time but completely messed up the mixing process and it still turned out great. I mixed the egg straight into the dry ingredients and then added the rest of the wet ingredients. I’m going to make this again this week and can’t wait to see how much better it is when mixed correctly! Loved, loved, loved it!

    1. Thanks Cindy- I’m glad it worked out for you- Next time feel free to amp up the syrup for more grapefruit flavor :)

  8. Hi Audra,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made this recipe for the 2nd time and it was a huge success each time. When it comes to cakes, I am very picky of the texture and the sweetness. This recipe was perfect. However, I did only use 1 cup plus one tablespoon of sugar instead of 1 and 2/3 cup of sugar.

    Also, I used a loaf pan instead and added 1 tablespoon of vanilla bean into the batter and it was amazing! Perfect moist texture and sweetness. I love Starbucks loaf cakes and this one definitely can replace my cravings! xo

  9. Hi. From time to time I see kosher salt being used in cake recipes. What is the purpose of using kosher salt instead of table salt in a cake? It is my understanding that coarse salt generally should not be yak in cakes. Thanks.

  10. Im dying to try this tomorrow but I just have a hand held electric mixer. Do you think it will still turn out good? Any tips? TIA:)

  11. Love this recipe! I would like to try i just replace grapefruit ingredients in this recipe with lemon? Thank you

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