Grapefruit Cake

You know how word psychoanalysis works don't you? You must have seen it in the movies. The person/patient says the first word that comes to mind on hearing a given word - for example, cat - dog, aeroplane - sky. I know you know what I'm talking about! So if I said grapefruit, what would you say? I would say "Seema" - the name of my eldest sister. When we were growing up, the only juice that we would have in the house was grapefruit juice which my sister would diligently drink before every meal as my mum said it assisted weight loss! To date, whenever I see a grapefruit I always think of her. Last week, it was my sister's birthday and I was wondering what would be the perfect cake to bake for her. And then it came to me, a grapefruit cake!

For those of you already having misgivings about this cake, the combination of sour grapefruit is balanced out by the sweetness of the sugar - not too much sugar though as your tastebuds will be left zinging and refreshed from the grapefruit. For me the cake was perfectly balanced with sweet and sour but you can reduce the sugar quantities or add more grapefruit to get the balance of flavour that suits you.

Before giving you the recipe, I also wanted to take the opportunity again to wish the best sister anyone could ever have the happiest of birthdays.

                  "An older sister is a friend and a defender - a listener, conspirator and a sharer

                   of delights. And sorrows too." Helen Exley

Over these past few years, my sister has become a life line for me. She has held my hand through some very dark times. I would be completely lost without her.

Okay, now for the recipe! (Adapted from and inspired by (Grapefruit Sandwich Cake) and


For the cake:

200g caster sugar

200g unsalted butter

210g self raising flour

4 large eggs

25g ground almonds

1 tspn vanilla extract

The zest and juice of 1 grapefruit - about 100ml

For the grapefruit icing:

500g icing sugar, sifted

120g unsalted butter

50ml grapefruit juice

Preheat your oven to 160C and grease and line two 8 inch tins with parchment.

Zest the grapefruit and rub this into the caster sugar. The sugar will take on a lovely peachy hue.

Sift the self raising flour and place to one side.

In a free standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes.

Slowly add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next and then add the vanilla extract.

Pour in half of the grapefruit juice - about 50ml.

Stop the mixer, add the flour and almonds and then with the mixer on the lowest setting, mix until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Remember, you can weigh your tins to ensure  equality.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

After 15 minutes, release the cakes from their tins on to wire racks. Using a pastry brush, brush the warm cakes with the remaining 50ml of grapefruit juice.

Whilst the cakes are cooling, prepare the icing by beating together the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a free standing mixer. Slowly add in the grapefruit juice, tablespoon by tablespoon until you get the desired consistency.

Sandwich the two cakes together with icing and then ice the top and all around the cake.

Baking Notes:

For an extra grapefruit tang, you can add the zest of a grapefruit to the icing. As I have said above, the balance of sweet and sour was perfect for me. I omitted the zest from my icing as I was worried the taste of grapefruit would be too over powering for me and bring back unhappy childhood memories!

Also, if you are still unsure about having the taste of grapefruit in a cake, you could omit the step of brushing the cake with the grapefruit juice.

I know the recipe will leave you with half a grapefruit. My only suggestion as to what to do with this half is to try my mum's old diet trick and eat it before your next meal!