Winter Citrus Pound Cake

January 2014_melissa3

This is pretty much what our January is looking like!

Even after living in NYC after more than sixteen years, seeing trees shed all their leaves in autumn and snow fall in winter is still a novelty for me.  Hey, it beats mudslides, wildfires, and earthquakes.

One thing I miss about California, though, is the fresh produce year round.  Here, on the other hand, I usually only buy apples, pears, and grapefruit regularly during the winter, because they are plentiful and reasonably priced.  At our local green market, grapefruits are three for a dollar, which is a great price for the city.  And who doesn’t love a burst of fresh citrus in the morning?


Denis likes his with sugar, and I like mine with salt (I know–weird, but maybe it’s a Hawaiian thing passed down from my parents?)  Jamie doesn’t like grapefruit, which works out fine, because then I only have to cut up one.


I decided to experiment with grapefruit in my baking. It’s usually not the first fruit you think of it — it has some sour, bitter notes.  But I love lemon and orange poundcake, and I thought, maybe it would be a good candidate for it.  I made one  based on Ina Garten’s Orange Pound Cake, halving the recipe and substituting grapefruit juice and zest.  We brought the cake to Shelter Island and I iced it there.

Denis took these photos. Ahh, natural lighting!

Denis took these photos.
Ahh, natural lighting!

Denis’ mom wrinkled her nose when he told her it was a “Grapefruit Cake”, as she’s not a fan of grapefruit.  I told him I was going to tell her it was  “Winter Citrus Cake” but he beat me to it.  Luckily, she tried it anyway, and guess what– she loved it!  So did our non-eating grapefruit son.

loaf slice

The cake doesn’t actually taste anything close to fresh grapefruit.  It has a “lemony” “orangey” “citrusy” flavor.  I think if you gave someone a taste of this, they wouldn’t even guess it was made with grapefruit!  Just tell them it is a “Citrus Cake” — it sounds better.  Grapefruit lovers and non-grapefruit lovers alike can enjoy this is nice winter treat. 🙂

slice 2

Winter Citrus Pound Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed and strained grapefruit juice, divided

1/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 stick of butter

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons grapefruit zest (about two grapefruits)

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a loaf pan bottom with parchment and grease or spray sides with non-stick spray.

2.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.  In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice, the buttermilk, and the vanilla and set aside.

3.  Cream the butter with 1 cup of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and the grapefruit zest.

4.  Add the flour and the buttermilk/grapefruit juice mixture, alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour while mixer is on low.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

5.  Bake for 40-50 minutes , until a cake tester come out clean.  While the cake is baking, heat the remaining 1/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup grapefruit juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves completely.  Set aside.

6.  When cake is done, let sit in the pan to cool for 10 minutes.  Then remove, and put on a rack with a baking sheet underneath.  Pierce top of cake with a knife and pour the grapefruit juice sugar mixture on top.  I also make piercings while pouring slowly so that I can get as much of the syrup into the cake. Let cool completely.

7.  When cake is cooled, whisk sifted confectioner’s sugar with a bit of the remaining grapefruit juice until it can pour easily.  Pour over the top of the cake and let glaze set.  I did this step after traveling to our destination, as the icing would have gotten mashed if I had wrapped it tightly and carried it.


Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, Snack, Vegetarian

30 responses to “Winter Citrus Pound Cake

  1. That looks absolutely delicious. I love citrus flavored cakes and cookies. I wish I had a slice right now with a hot cup of coffee. Do you deliver?

  2. Yum this looks like a perfect winter dessert. I miss fresh berries desperately!

  3. That looks and sounds incredible! I’ll have to try that, but with oranges and lemons, since I don’t think there is grapefruit in egypt! Btw, your idea of salt on it reminds me of my favorite hawaiian citrus – pineapple saute’d in butter and splashed with soy sauce – sweet, salty and tangy! ;^)

  4. If I had fresh grapefruit, I would just eat it — not put it in a cake! That said, if I had a lot of fresh grapefruit (bushels?) I might make your pound cake. I do like candied grapefruit peel, which I made in December.

  5. I wouldn’t even have thought to use grapefruit–thanks for the idea! Adorable sketch–stay warm.

  6. Love your “bundled-up at the bus stop” picture and the cake sounds delicious – great recipe idea!

  7. Yum!!!
    On another note: Love your illustration. The puppy with the booties is adorable!

  8. That glaze takes it over the top, it looks delicious 😀


  9. Sounds so good!! I had a grapefruit creme brulee not long ago that was also amazing. Very subtle.

  10. Sounds incredible and I love the artwork.

  11. It looks gorgeous and delicious. I know I would love this cake. I think I would share your opinion of NYC if I lived there. Love inclement weather.

  12. I love your illustration! And the cake sounds delicious. I’m looking forward to trying it.

  13. Looks very yummy!! Check out a new yummo I found..

    • mmm…chocolate chip stuffed pretzel — mind blowing! Sweet and savory together!

      • Absolutely agree..there are a lot of newer premade goody items with that flavoring pair…Haagen-Daz has the Sea Salted Carmel ice cream..PinkBerry the same..and Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Potato Chips…etc. So when this recipe came my way, I thought it was too good not to keep/try. Yummo!

  14. Vee

    This cake sounds amazing! The description reminds me of a lemon pound cake my grandmother made. Citrus flavor in cake is my favorite, so this recipe is a must-try! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Question: I remember my mom having this pot metal gizmo with a rotating mesh at the bottom for sifting flour. What do you use?? And I thought lemon would be my next attempt at pound cake but grapefruit… Hmmm!

  16. it looks delicious and i can smell the hint of citrus. 🙂 am not much for baking but am one for eating, ahaha. love the pound cake’s simple look… 🙂

  17. Reblogged this on The Baker Man and commented:
    Reading this recipe makes me wish I had the cake in front of me right now to eat!

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