Home » Recipes » Cakes and Cupcakes » Grapefruit cake

Grapefruit cake

We are full on into winter, and that means we are full on into citrus season. I am huge fan of grapefruit and finding new ways of using them. And this grapefruit cake recipe, baked in a loaf pan, is basically a grapefruit pound cake, but also basically a grapefruit buttermilk cake. And if that isn’t enough for you to take in, it’s made extra rich and moist with sour cream, so it is also kind of a grapefruit yogurt cake. Since it takes in all of that, I am just calling it a grapefruit cake.A lovely sweet glaze completes this grapefruit cake.

Is grapefruit in a baked good actually good?

It really really is. While it didn’t take much convincing for me to want to try grapefruit cake, I am not gonna lie, I had to do a sh-t ton of convincing of others. I mean, we are talking about baking something bitter and sour into something light and sweet.

This grapefruit cake has all the elements of a traditional citrus cake. Think a cross between lemon and orange. Not quite as strong as lemon, and not quite as sweet as orange.Light and bright, this grapefruit cake recipe comes together quick and tastes amazing!

What you need to make this grapefruit cake recipe…

  • a grapefruit – a big ole ripe one, that is soft(ish) to the touch. You are going to use both juice and the zest of the entire grapefruit
  • oil – cause I am an oil-based-cakes only kinda girl
  • buttermilk – its makes cakes oh so tender
  • sugar – duhhhh
  • vanilla extract – to compliment the citrus
  • sour cream – for extra richness and moistness (I truly hate that word)
  • and the usual’s – eggs, flour, baking powder saltThe addition of sour cream makes this grapefruit cake exceptionally rich and moist.

A few last things.

If you think you don’t love grapefruit in dessert, I truly hope you will consider trying this. It has such a light and bright flavor and the crumb on this grapefruit cake is absolutely perfect thanks to the buttermilk and sour cream. And if you’re super interested and already a super fan of grapefruit in desserts, here are some of my faves you should def look into…

But if you already are SO SO sure you don’t like or won’t like grapefruit, then DO NOT WORRY – cause you can totally use lemon or even better blood oranges.

Oh yeah and the glaze…the glaze! I damn near forgot about the glaze. So simple, so quick and so what you are gonna want to pour all over this grapefruit cake.Pretty much a grapefruit buttermilk cake, this cake has a perfect crumb


Grapefruit cake

Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes


  • Zest of one large red grapefruit
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • good pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil I use canola
  • 1/2 cup sour cream you could most definitely use greek yogurt in it's place
  • 2 large eggs slightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a regular 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl add sugar and grapefruit zest smash the zest into the sugar to release all the oils. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and stir.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, grapefruit juice, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until fully combined. Add the sour cream and gently stir in. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.

  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minutes. Loosen a little bit from the sides and remove loaf from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.

For the glaze

  1. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and grapefruit juice, and whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.

Recipe Notes

Note: Keep this wrapped or covered at room temperature for no more than 3 days. Also can be frozen for a few months, though recommend freezing unglazed. 


  1. I never thought of making grapefruit cake before but it looks incredible! Will definitely be giving it a go 🙂

  2. Looks great!!! And it looks like it is not too sweet – which I think is great for this sort of thing 🙂 Can’t wait to make this!

  3. Lisa | Garlic & Zest

    This cake looks like it will be my latest obsession! I live in Florida, so I’m a big grapefruit fan — and I happen to have a bag on the counter! Trying this over the weekend!

  4. Love the flavor and zing that the grapefruit adds to this gorgeous cake. Perfect with my cup of tea!

  5. Jacque Hastert

    I LOVE grapefruit and I love that you have found a new way to incorporate it into a delicious cake. I also love that glaze it really makes for a powerful flavor punch.

  6. I too am a huge fan of grapefruit. And this cake looks amazing. I can’t wait to give this one a try as soon as I stock up on grapefruit.

  7. This was absolutely delish!! So versatile, you can use any citrus or combinations.

  8. There’s no mention of when to add the sour cream, I’m assuming it’s with the other wet ingredients?

    • Katie Beck

      Hi! Yes, sorry, sour cream goes in at the end after the wet ingredients. I have updated now. Thank you 🙂

Let me know whatcha think!