So, you know how sometimes you’ll be talking to someone about cocktails or doing shots or some other similar nonsense, and you’ll mention tequila.

(Or rum/gin/whiskey/bourbon/red wine/Mike’s hard lemonade…

…but usually tequila.)

And all of a sudden their eyes glaze over, their skin turns pale, and their gag reflex becomes just a tad bit overactive as memories resurface from that one time in college they imbibed in five too many Long Island Ice Teas and then decided that just one more round of tequila shots couldn’t hurt. But oh, it could. It really could.

Especially coming back up again.


…that’s how I feel about grapefruit.


My once favorite citrus and I had a run-in on New Year’s Eve that involved absolutely zero alcohol and one really bad headache.  I suffered through the headache for most of the morning, through lunch, and then decided to take an Advil.  Which my body, apparently, wanted nothing to do with.

And so the poor innocent grapefruit that I had eaten mere moments before was really just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Try telling my taste buds that, though, because they are not having any of it.  Last time I checked, they (along with my boyfriend) are still convinced that the grapefruit is at fault.  Seriously, how annoying.


So what’s a girl to do when she has two grapefruits sitting on her kitchen table that her body won’t let her eat?

Well, she makes a cake out of them. Obviously.

An olive oil pound cake, to be precise.

One that you can feel totally good about eating for breakfast because, uh, it has fruit and OLIVE OIL in it.  I can’t really imagine a better way to start the day.  (And neither, apparently, could my coworkers because they demolished it during our 10AM lab meeting on Wednesday.  As did my boss who spent like five minutes screaming about how it was one of his favorite cakes and brought him back to a year that he spent in Venezuela in college.  Yeah, it’s that good.)


My one word of caution with this cake is that you do need to use an olive oil that actually tastes good.  Something full-bodied and fruity.

I, for one, used an Argentinean olive oil made by Colavita which they sent to me, along with a few other varieties that I’ll also be posting about, to incorporate in my new year of health.  This specific olive oil was a fan favorite at this fall’s New York Food and Wine Festival and has an intense fruity aroma and flavor.  They suggest pairing it with soups, roasted fish, grilled veggies and red meat…but I thought it was just perfect in this cake.  It’s currently on sale right now in the Colavita online store and they have been kind enough to offer up a 25% discount to all Eats Well With Others readers!  Just enter in the code EWWO25 upon checkout.

And no matter what your feelings are on grapefruit (or tequila), you should make this cake this weekend.  It’s the perfect way to get a little citrus sunshine in your life and methinks we could all use a little bit more of that.

Before I leave you for the weekend, I also just want to let all my NYC-area readers know about a cool event going on at the Whole Foods Market Midtown East location this coming Wednesday, January 16th from 5-6:30pm..  The co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, will be doing a book signing for his new book – Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business – which focuses on answering the question of how a company can do good while still doing good business and whether it’s possible to be an ethically conscious capitalist.  Perhaps I’ll see some of you there!


Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake
Yields one 9×5-inch loaf, adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

For the cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated grapefruit zest (from 1-2 large grapefruits)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup raw or turbinado sugar (or use more granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp grapefruit juice
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk

For the syrup

  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup grapefruit juice

For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp grapefruit juice
  • pinch of salt


  1. Heat the oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, rub the grapefruit zest into the sugars with your fingertips. This will help release as much grapefruit essence as possible. Whisk in the oil until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a second bowl. In a liquid measuring cup combine 2 tbsp grapefruit juice and buttermilk. Add the flour and the buttermilk mixtures, alternating between them, to the oil-and-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  4. Spread the batter in the pan and rap the pan on the counter a few times to make sure there are no air bubbles. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a tester inserted comes out clean.
  5. For the syrup, combine 2 tbsp sugar with 1/3 cup grapefruit juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  6. When the cake is finished, let it cool for 10 minutes in its pan before inverting it onto a rack. Poke holes in the cake with a toothpick or fork. Spoon or brush the grapefruit syrup over the cake. Let cool completely.
  7. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, grapefruit juice and pinch of salt in a bowl, whisking until smooth. Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled cake and allow to drizzle decoratively down the sides.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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86 Responses to Grapefruit Olive Oil Pound Cake

  1. I’ve been wanting to try an olive oil cake recipe…this one looks awesome! I can imagine the grapefruit and olive oil flavors go so well together. Glad your colleagues enjoyed it!!

  2. Pam says:

    It took me forever before I could fritos after one bad experience. No problems with grapefruit and I know I would love this cake!

  3. I have that relationship with eggplant parm. I once ate a meal that was ‘bad’ and didn’t realize it was–until I was about to go on stage within a half hour and barely made it through the entire production with stomach cramps and wanting (but not being able) to hurl. I hate to say this, but I’ve never felt the same way about the dish since.

  4. Mmmmm…that sounds like sunshine! I can’t think of an experience that put me off one type of food…only a vodka experience. But…

  5. Jenn says:

    50 proof rum is my tequila.

    And this looks amazing, pinned to try later! Have a great weekend,

    ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
    (¸.·´ (¸.·`¤… Jennifer

  6. Karis says:

    I love grapefruit, my husband loves pound cake, definitely pinning this recipe! I haven’t been able to eat at Applebee’s since having food poisoning 11 years ago…no loss there 🙂

  7. 1) this looks wonderful and 2) why do I keep missing all of these fun events?!

  8. Danielle says:

    i have never made an olive oil cake but I want to. This one looks great I love grapefruit.

  9. Patsy K says:

    I’m not a fan of grapefruit, and I can’t even blame it on a bad experience like yours! This cake on the other hand… has the potential to turn my tastebuds around though!

  10. Corina says:

    I love grapefruit but have never had a cake made with it – I don’t know why as I’ve eaten plenty of lemon and orange cakes.

  11. A friend of ours just gave us a big bag of grapefruit and I’ve been wondering how we were going to eat them all. Now I know! Great idea!

  12. And now, another book to add to my list …

  13. Great use for the grapefruit! It sounds amazing! Need to book mark this recipe too!!

  14. This looks like a much better recipe than the one I have been using with butter. I look forward to trying it topped with fresh, wild berries from the northy Indian plains. Do you have any suggestions for fresh-fruit toppings or side-dressings for this delicious cake too. Blackberries are coming into season now, and blueberries are ripe.
    Thank you for the cake Joanne!

  15. Natalie says:

    I have never heard of grapefruit pound cake but my goodness do I want to try it! Sounds like a light and delicious cake, I’m saving this one!

  16. Bookmarked! I’ve never cooked with grapefruit but I’ve seen similar cakes to this one on various blogs and am so intrigued, as I – unlike you – do actually love raw grapefruit, so can only assume it’s even better in cake form!

  17. Bookmarked! You should add social media Sharing buttons I wanted to pin it but I’m on my phone 🙁

  18. I love pound cakes… They are so simple yet so good. I got the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for a friend who lives out of town. We haven’t gotten the chance to see her yet, so my good boyfriend has been keeping it in a secret place so I don’t change my mind about keeping it. Hey, congratulations on passing the test. You rock!

  19. Dining Alone says:

    My husband can’t eat anything gummy stemming from a childhood incident of over indulgence 🙂 This cake looks absolutely delicious and in AZ we have an abundance of citrus right now!

  20. Beth says:

    I love grapefruit, and I love the idea of putting it into a cake. This is such a winner!

  21. you know, I am not a huge grapefruit fan either. Our bad run in was when I was trying to do a cleanse back in college. I had to eat a TON of grapefruit. I’ve despised it ever since. But who the heck needs to cleanse when there is olive oil grapefruit pound cake that needs to be eaten! this actually sounds pretty darn good. Nice work winning the coworkers over!

  22. Amy says:

    The alcoholic beverage from college, that just the mention of makes me gag, is Everclear. No. Just no.

    I’m not a huge citrus fan, grapefruit being at the bottom of that list. BUT come on…in pound cake? SURE!

  23. Oh man, I have that problem with whiskey. 19 and a bottle of whiskey to yourself is a BAD idea…and now I can’t touch the stuff (which is probably a good thing). But grapefruit?! Giiiiirl, that stinks! Thank goodness you can still eat grapefruit flavoured things though. I bookmarked this cake and can’t wait to try!

  24. Lynn says:

    Yum – it looks better than it sounds! 🙂

  25. You are talking about alcohol – must be Friday. Didn’t you get accepted into PhD? Lots of alcohol required to digest this news:)

  26. Yesterday I was sent a dozen grapefruit and earlier in the week I bought 6! I was reading Deb’s recipe last night in her cookbook and love your photos of it. Another perspective and it’s beautiful! Ive never cooked/baked a sweet item with olive oil. I always wonder if it will taste like…well, olives. Good to know you like it!

  27. You know you are good when you can make something that doesn’t work well into a cake to make it work REALLY well. I love this idea!

  28. This recipe calls to me on so many levels! I love the olive oil sub. I didn’t believe that it would be possible to sub olive oil (due to the strong taste) but I had to sub it in a chocolate cake (ran out of butter) and the recipient raved about the cake and said it was the best chocolate cake that he had ever eaten. I was hooked! Combine olive oil and grapefruit? Genius! This is a winner and I can see it translating into all different kinds of citrus for me…lime, orange, mandarin, blood orange the sky is the limit! You have done it again… I LOVE this blog 🙂

  29. Guru Uru says:

    I keep ignoring olive oil in cooking but obviously it’s effects are incredible 😀
    Loving this recipe!

    Choc Chip Uru

  30. Pam says:

    What a bummer… I hate it when that happens. At least you put the grapefruit to good use instead of letting them rot on your counter uneaten. The cake looks lovely and super delicious.

  31. Debbie says:

    My kind of cake and I WILL be making it. I’ve used olive oil in a blueberry citrus cake I make and I love it in cakes….

  32. I do know that look. It’s whiskey for me! This cake – I love it…love baking with olive oil!

  33. Hotly Spiced says:

    I can imagine this going down really well in anyone’s workplace. It would brighten any dreary day for sure xx

  34. Jessie says:

    Isn’t it so annoying how that happens with certain foods? For me, it’s cooked spinach (also non-alcohol-related, ugh). Raw or blended in smoothies, fine. But, cooked? Gag.

    I’ve been wanting to try olive oil in cake, and this recipe looks AMAZING! Have a great weekend, Joanne!

  35. Not a bad way for grapefruits to redeem themselves in your life. Sounds good!

  36. Christine says:

    I have that problem with orange frosting. My mom made it for party cupcakes when I was little. Don’t know what happened but to this day, can’t look at anything with orange frosting.
    The cake sounds wonderful. This morning I was just thinking I felt like baking something. It’s supposed to hit 30F tonight…bbbrrrrrr…so anything to keep the oven on. I wonder how throwing in some blueberries would work?

  37. Eileen says:

    This is why I will never again drink peach schnapps, particularly when combined with orange juice. (Okay, I might eventually make my own homemade peach schnapps, just to try…but never the corn syrup de kuyper version, ever again.) HOWEVER. That cake looks fantastic! I can’t imagine a better way to overcome a taste aversion than to put it in a cake. 🙂

  38. To. die. for. My friend just gave me a whole bag of fresh grapefruits from her parents tree so you know I’ll be making these!

    Glad grapefruits have resurfaced in your life again 🙂

  39. Candace says:

    Mmmmm! My favorite citrus and cake…. A wonderful combination! I completely understand about foods being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I spent over 20 years unable to stand black olives. Thankfully we have made our peace. Have a great weekend!

  40. Mary Younkin says:

    This looks delicious and I love the color in that last grapefruit photo. I’d be willing to bet that I would have raved about this one too.

  41. That Girl says:

    I like arbequina for fruity olive oils. And I’ve made both olive oil cake and pound cake, but never together!

  42. Mary says:

    I love the cake and the color of the grapefruit in your photos is terrific. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

  43. Kari says:

    I don’t have quite the same reaction as you to grapefruit, but I am still quite certain I’d like them better in this form than plain 🙂

  44. Cathleen says:

    Wow, I love grapefruit, too bad you had a bad experience with it 🙁
    But wow. This looks too good. I would eat this up in 5 minutes flat

  45. bellini says:

    Olive oil cakes are my specialty and legendary (in my own mind). Have never made a grapefruit one since they do not pass these lips, but, I am and always will be a firm believer that everyone will love everything if made in a way that they will like it. Grapefruit and I are now be besties.

  46. Abby says:

    I love that you had this for breakfast, that’s something I’d definitely do too haha. Looks delicious!

  47. Chris says:


    You just brought back memories of a harsh time when I was 19 or 20 and had a bad experience with Salty Dogs. HATED grapefruit for that for years.

  48. Martha says:

    The pound cake sounds yummy 🙂
    Please don’t even say the word tequila ever again, lol.

  49. Kerstin says:

    What a fabulous twist on traditional poundcake – it looks sooo addicting!

  50. Karen says:

    I bet this is super moist. I think it’s perfect for breakfast, too!

  51. Grapefruit is one thing I cannot tolerate on an empty stomach. Even though I eat a grapefruit almost every day during the winter I now know I need some cereal, toast or a bagel inside my stomach first. Although I’ve made lemon and orange pound cakes I’ve never thought of using grapefruit before. Great idea!

  52. Lora says:

    A perfect bright solution for the winter blues. I love the pretty pink grapefruit pictures almost as much as the ones of the cake.

  53. Elizabeth says:

    Looks delicious – I’d totally put it in cupcake form and convince myself it was breakfast. 😉

  54. These kinds of citrus cakes just cheer me up at this time of year—love pink grapefruit!

  55. Reeni Pisano says:

    The combination is enticing! I can’t think of a better way to eat grapefruit. Olive oil makes cake so tender and moist. I’m in love.

  56. Trust YOU to come up with a cake – a cake! – that is actually good and good for you. I may keep my resolutions after all. 🙂

  57. Johanna GGG says:

    wow I have never had your sort of experience but I could never eat a grapefruit – just too much citrus – but I have occasionally had it in baking or juices and quite enjoyed it – so I think this cake is for me

  58. yes i need this in my life. i was just thinking earlier about how i need to do more with citrus this year 🙂 hopefully this will be the gateway for getting you back to eating grapefruit!

  59. grace says:

    i’d be upset if the mention of grapefruit had that effect on me–i currently love the stuff! very clever and unique use for it. step aside, lemon and orange, there’s a new citrus in town!

  60. I haven’t been able to look at Hawaiian Punch nor vodka since college. (and that was a long time ago!) Enough said. This pound cake looks and sounds amazing however. I need to investigate these different olive oils…sounds delish!

  61. Julie says:

    I have had olive oil pound cake on my “to make” list for such a long time. You’ve reminded me to try it SOON! Happy Sunday!!!

  62. london bakes says:

    I made a similar cake this weekend – such a great way to use those sunshiny citrus fruits.

    PS It’s sambuca for me…urgh.

  63. I know this is besides the point, but I really love your squeezed grapefruit wedge pics…I know, I’m strange. Great looking loaf and what a unique approach to pound cake. Great combo of two different but similar fruity flavors, YUM!

  64. That’s one heck of a strange flavor combo but I bet it works really well!

  65. daphne says:

    Oh this certainly appeals to me- the pound cake looks moist with the olive oil! Bookmarking this!

  66. teresa says:

    i had an experience similar to this that made it hard to eat lasagna for almost a year. what a shame! i’m glad you were able to turn lemons into…delicious citrus cake!

  67. I love Thomas Keller’s grapefruit cake. It sounds like I need to try this one as well!

  68. Gahhh!
    I’ve had a grapefruit pound cake on my “to bake” list forever.
    You beat me to it.
    I hate grapefruit but love it in drinks and baked goods

  69. Tandy says:

    You could be describing Dave when you talk about tequila! I agree, the olive oil you use must taste good 🙂

  70. I love the sound of this. I hope it restored your faith in grapefruit!

  71. That is just sad. I’ve had that happen with things I didn’t need to really eat anyway, like Oreos and Hershey’s Kisses (I can finally eat Oreos again, 28 years after I got sick on them, but I still can not tolerate ANY Hershey’s milk chocolate–it makes me want to puke just to smell it. Cuz I kinda ate a whole bag of kisses when I was 10 and puked them up in the front row of church and had to walk out of church naked wrapped in a blanket from the lost and found so maybe my reaction is a combination of that sick feeling and the PTSD I got from it all-lol), but I’ve never had it happen with actually good-for-you food. I hope this cake helped cure you of that feeling. I so need this cake. How long is the discount on the oil offered? I hope I can order some on friday!

  72. grapefruit pound cake…amazing! i had that happen with strawberries once in high school. i can never ever eat strawberries and grilled cheese in the same meal again…not even 10+ years later. sigh.

  73. A similar thing happened to me with a carrot and curry soup last year when I got sick. I couldn’t eat anything with curry in it for several months — crazy! But this pound cake looks phenomenal. I’d eat it morning, noon, and night!

  74. I just love grapefruit and I think pound cake and grapefruit must have been made in heaven. I missed the weekend but I’ll save it for next weekend since the flu is still plaguing me a bit.

  75. Jackie says:

    Hi Joanne

    Did you use the Colavita Virgin Olive Oil or the Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil in this recipe.

  76. Jeanette says:

    I love the idea of grapefruit in a pound cake, and olive oil in baking is my favorite thing these days.

  77. Funny, I just made an orange almond olive oil cake w/ Colavita……it was the bomb!!!!
    You know olive oil cakes are my fave. xo

  78. Nina says:

    I’ve never tried grapefruit this sounds great. Grape fruit in a pound cake sounds amazing:)

  79. Dana says:

    I tell this story about the food that I could not eat because it was the last thing I ate before a bad stomach flu. I was 7 years old and the food was baklava that my mom had packed in my lunch. Now, is it any wonder that I am a food blogger if I was eating baklava in my school lunch in 2nd grade? Ahem. Grapefruits and I do not get along well (too bitter, too sour) but I would certainly eat them in cake form!

  80. Ashley says:

    OK…this makes me want to eat cake. And drink a Paloma. Mmmm…

  81. Laura says:

    I have been seeing grapefruit pound cake everywhere, and it is killing me because it is SO my cup of tea but I cannot have grapefruit (meds). Sigh. Yum.

  82. Anita @Slickpoodle says:

    I just baked this delicious cake after getting Deb’s cookbook from the library. It is delicious. Using grapefruits instead of lemons is so creative. I used my best olive oil!! An expensive cake. Loved it. ~Anita

  83. Jessie says:


    I came across this post (via while I was searching for inspiration for bittersweet cake flavours for the Depressed Cake Shop coming up this weekend – . I wanted to find a flavour that reflected a bittersweet sentiment and this fits perfectly! I’ve referenced you in my latest blog post – I hope you don’t mind! (

  84. […] Here is the recipe, I took it from this blog (you can find the recipe here). […]

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