Thomas Keller’s “Grapefruit” Cake


What does one do with 6 oranges, naked, just sitting there in bowl after I peeled them for candied orange rind??  Find a recipe that uses the flesh of an orange!  I wasn’t looking very long before I found a recipe for a citrus cake.  My mother gave me Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook a few weeks ago so I went to that book first.  What luck… he has a grapefruit cake recipe.  What uses grapefruit can use orange I’m sure.  Problem solved!IMG_3579

I made a cake similar to this one a while ago but this recipe is slightly different and it’s a Thomas Keller recipe so it pretty much has to be good right?

Grapefruit Cake”

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home


For the cake:

2 cups of all purpose flower

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 2/3 cup of granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cups of canola oil (I used equal amounts of apple sauce.  Apple sauce is healthier and keeps the cake just as moist. Upgrade!)

1tbls grapefruit zest (I actually used grapefruit and not orange here. I’m sure you could completely substitute all things grapefruit in this recipe with orange but I thought I would mix the two and call the cake “citrus”.)

1 tsp vanilla paste ( I just used vanilla extract.  Sorry TK I didn’t make your vanilla paste ahead of time) 


For the “grapefruit” aka orange syrup:

1 cup strained fresh pink grapefruit juice (or orange juice in my case)

2/3 cup granulated sugar

“Grapefruit” Icing:

I used clementines here.  Might as well through another citrus fruit into the mix!

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tbs plus 1tsp fresh pink grapefruit juice (or clementine juice in my case)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The recipe calls for one 10x4 inch loaf pan but I had regular, small, loaf pans so I used two of them.  Spray you pans with oil or butter them up!

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. 

In another bowl combine the sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer.  Mix for about 3 minutes or until the mixtures is thick enough to leave a trail behind the mixing “wisks”. 

Next, beat in the milk, the oil (or the applesauce in my case), grapefruit zest and the vanilla.  Once all wet ingredients are well incorporated slowly add the dry ingredients that you mixed together in the first bowl.

Pour the mixture into both loaf pans.  Keller says to score the top of the batter with a knife and make a 3/4 inch “slice” into the batter to give the cakes a nice little crack on the top once it has baked.  I did this and didn’t really see what he was talking about but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try!  Score away.

Bake the cakes for an hour or until your toothpick comes out clean.


While you cakes are baking make the citrus syrup to pour on top of the cake once it comes out of the oven.

Combine the citrus juice and sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat just until the sugar has dissolved.

IMG_3587As soon as you take the cakes out of the oven take a long skewer (or the candy thermometer like I did.. it was the only long, clean “stick” I could find – chopsticks would work well too) and poke the cakes with 3/4 inch deep holes.  These will help the syrup that you are gently pouring over the cakes seep in.  IMG_3589 Let the cakes cool for about 15 minutes then remove them from the pan.  Pour the icing over the cakes and you’re finished!


As a kid my mom would fix my sister and me pound cake with yogurt as a snack after we came home from school.  This is sort like pound cake, so why not try it with yogurt?!


Citrus/yogurt sandwich!  Amazing.


  1. Wow, this looks SO good! What did you do with two cakes??

  2. I ate the first one pretty quickly! Finished it up with Anne today watching the SuperBowl. The second one is still in my fridge!

  3. The cakes look delicious!