Grapefruit Cake with Tangy Grapefruit Frosting

Now that summer is in full force, I am not as eager to do much heavy baking. It’s been pretty obvious I’ve been avoiding heavy cakes with frosting, and overly sweet desserts. I love the summer and all the fresh produce it has to offer, so I try to take advantage of what I can.

But because I love the tartness of curd, I was in the mood to try a new flavor. Grapefruit, to me, has a very bright and vibrant flavor. Perfect for a hot summer day.

grapefruits Grapefruit Cake with Tangy Grapefruit Frosting

When I was looking for grapefruits there were only big bags, no individuals. Of course I got the economy sized bag. I thought I could eat them for breakfast. A few days after making the curd I still had about 5 grapefruits and they were on their last days…

And I needed to do something with the curd. My boyfriend suggested cupcakes, and while that was a splendid idea, I went with something I had never tasted, grapefruit layer cake.

A layer cake was ideal for another reason, I could easily fill the layers with curd instead of frosting (I ended up using frosting as a filling along with the curd). And what is a cake with out frosting? So with the remaining grapefruits I made a tangy grapefruit buttercream. It was the perfect compliment to the cake.

1 slice of cake Grapefruit Cake with Tangy Grapefruit Frosting

One of the many great qualities of this cake is each component can be made ahead of time. If you have enough time one day to make the curd, then the next day the make the cake, and the third day make the frosting and assemble.

This is a large cake. Be prepared to share!

Grapefruit Curd

Recipe from Honey & Jam


  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice + 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To Make the Curd:

  1. Combine the egg yolks, juices, half the zest, and sugar in a saucepan. Whisk everything together.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and being cautious to not boil the mixture. It needs to be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Remove sauce pan from the heat, add salt and butter 1 cube at a time.
  4. Stir until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.

grapefruit curd Grapefruit Cake with Tangy Grapefruit Frosting

Grapefruit Cake

Recipe from


  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp grapefruit zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

To Make the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF – grease/flour cake pans (I used 3 small rounds for a 3 layer cake).
  2. For about 5 minutes, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in the zest and vanilla.
  4. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in alternately with the grapefruit juice, starting and ending with the flour mix. Stir in the milk.
  5. Bake 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your pans). The cake is done when an inserted cake tester is clean when removed. All the cakes to cool completely before frosting and filling.

1 layer Grapefruit Cake with Tangy Grapefruit Frosting

Tangy Grapefruit Frosting


  • 2 1/2 grapefruit’s worth of freshly squeezed juice (I had 1 – 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

To Make the Frosting:

  1. Reduce the grapefruit juice to about half. I did this in a saucepan over medium – medium low heat. You want it to be syrupy. Allow the syrup to come to room temperature.
  2. Using the whisk attachment in your stand mixer (hand mixer works well too) mix together the softened butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar.
  3. Slowly pour in the grapefruit syrup. Use as much/as little as you like. You can always use a little more powdered sugar to adjust to how sweet you like.

…keep refrigerated…

grapefruit syrup Grapefruit Cake with Tangy Grapefruit Frosting

To assemble the cake…

Place layer one on the plate.

Spread a thin layer of the curd on the cake, then spread a layer of frosting on top of the curd. (In hindsight, I should have layered the frosting and then curd, but it still turned out fine)

Repeat with layer 2, and place the final layer of cake on top. **If you only have 2 layers, you will only have 1 layer of curd/frosting.

Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes.

Remove the cake, and cover it with a thin layer of frosting. Refrigerate for 15 more minutes, then decorate with remaining frosting as desired.


About bigfatbaker

BigFatBaker is written by Erin Meyer. Erin is a college student looking to learn more about the kitchen through her various baking adventures. Check out the about page for more information!


  1. Lovely. I have this passion for grapefruit, and will certainly bake this cake to impress someone, sometime. I am already dreaming about it!

  2. I adore grapefruit. What a wise way to use up that economy bag. Now I’m going to have to go out and buy one. I love everything from curd to cake to frosting and will be making this soon. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Delicious! I love grapefruit, and I can only imagine how heavenly it is in a cake! Beautiful as well :)!

  4. Sounds wonderful! Yummy!

  5. I am not a fan of grapefruit – I blame my parents. But this looks so good. I would love to try this with Oranges instead!

  6. This definitely made my mouth water. Can’t wait to find some grapefruits in the market.

  7. Why have I never seen a grapefruit cake? This is fabulous! I love the tangy flavours and textures. And another fantastic curd recipe. Wow!

  8. Finally, a grapefruit curd, plus a cake to go with it! I’ve been tossing out hints for the longest! I’m a big chicken and wanted someone else to brave the waters first. Thank you, it sounds amazing, and i could swim in that curd.

    • bigfatbaker says:

      You should make the curd, you will love it! I froze mine overnight (it never gets hard, just slightly dense) and it was so delicious and refreshing the next day.

  9. This cake sounds so refreshing! Thanks for all three recipes, this is definitely one to try!

  10. Yum! I think the first recipe I saw here was some sort of curd :) this cake looks perfect and delicious, I love using citrus flavors in my baked goods :)

  11. Oh, boy, does this look yummy! Nice flavor for this sultry weather :)

  12. Perfect hot weather dessert. This looks delicious.

  13. Oh man this sounds seriously dreamy, and just perfect for summer. I’ve never thought to use grapefruits in baking…or in curd, but that’s all about to change now!

  14. I don’t like grapefruit. But I love cake. Maybe this combo will help me appreciate the former?

  15. Grapefruit curd sounds fresh and lovely. Really liking all the different elements in this beautiful cake. I would put less curd in, but only because I would have eaten half straight from the bowl :)

  16. I HAVE to try this!! I love curd, but I’ve never tried grapefruit curd… Thank you soooo much for sharing…can’t wait to get on this!

  17. I love this! So creative!!

  18. I have a grapefruit cake recipe that I have been using for more than 30 years. I didn’t think I would find one I liked more. However, this sounds enticing. I like the idea of the curd for a filling.

  19. That cake looks awesome. Great Clicks too! Really creative and nice.

  20. I’m weak in the knees for that cake. Seriously…I’m sitting here, shaking my head and I’m upset that I don’t have a slice.

    • bigfatbaker says:

      Haha. I wish I could have mail order shared the cake.. It was huge, and so addicting. I had to size the slices carefully!

  21. This cake looks so light and airy, great touch with the curd. Thanks for sharing such a delicious summer cake recipe!

  22. Oh I have to make this for my mom! She LOVES grapefruit!

  23. I love grapefruit, and what a great way to help use up a big bag of them!

  24. Oooo this sounds amazing. I love grapefruit. This cake seems perfect for a light summer dessert.


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