Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cake…can’t you just taste it now? It’s packed to the gills with the essence of fresh grapefruit and positively loaded with poppy seeds.
That’s white grapefruit, by the way, the most under appreciated citrus fruit. Those sugary red and pink varieties are fine, but my heart belongs to the ever so slightly bitter, puckeringly sour white fruit.
Especially when you bake it up in a cake — the flavor is subtle and sophisticated. I’ve used white grapefruit in lots of recipes on the blog, from my unusual GRAPEFRUIT BLOSSOM POT DE CREME, to my HOMEMADE WHITE GRAPEFRUIT VINEGAR. One of the simplest is my GRAPEFRUIT BRÛLÉE which takes the world’s healthiest breakfast ~ a half grapefruit ~ and gives it just a touch of decadence!
It’s hard to keep track of all the layers of grapefruit in this poppy seed cake…it starts with fresh juice and zest blended into the batter, then, after baking, the still warm cake gets drenched with yet more juice, and finally the whole thing is topped off with a grapefruit glaze… just in case there were any doubts!
That extra soaking with fresh grapefruit juice after it comes out of the oven gives this cake more citrus flavor than you could ever pack into it otherwise.
It seems to me that this technique has fallen out of popularity in recent years, we used to do it all the time with lemon and orange pound cakes…stabbing them with chopsticks and filling them to their limit with a thick syrup made by boiling down the fruit juice mixed with sugar. If you love citrus like I do, it’s one of the few ways to really infuse citrus flavor into anything baked. You could make a grapefruit syrup for this cake, but I think it’s easier, and fresher tasting, to use the plain juice. You can poke holes all over the top to encourage the juice to sink in, or just pour it right down that lovely crack that opens up along the equator of the cake as it bakes.
I know 3/4 of a cup sounds like an awful lot of poppy seeds, (and it is!) but they give flavor and crunch to the cake, and they create a unique texture as well. You can find inexpensive poppy seeds in bulk containers online at Amazon. But don’t try to do this with the teeny bottles the big name spice companies sell, it’ll put you in the poorhouse! Can you make this with fewer poppy seeds? Sure, it just won’t be as special.
And yes, in case you were wondering, poppy seeds can trigger a false-positive result on a drug test…but no, you can’t get ‘high’ by eating them…so just plan accordingly, and enjoy!
You are going to need about 2 grapefruits for this cake.
- 3/4 cup (yes, you read that right) poppy seeds
- 1 cup buttermilk
- zest of 2 grapefruits
- 5 Tbsp fresh grapefruit juice
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- several Tbsp of fresh grapefruit juice
- Set oven to 350F
- Grease a standard bundt pan.
- Put the buttermilk in a small bowl and add the poppy seeds, grapefruit juice, and zest. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Add about 1/3 of the flour, then 1/3 of the buttermilk, and continue until everything is well combined.
- Spread the batter in the bundt pan. Smooth the top slightly to make sure it is even.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is risen and golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
- Let the cake cool for about 10 to 15 minutes and then loosen the cake all the way around the pan and invert it onto a plate. If you have trouble removing it, rap the bottom of the pan sharply on a firm surface and try again.
- Flip the cake back over so the risen side is up. Make little holes with a skewer all over the top and then spoon the fresh juice all over the top, letting the juice seep into the cake. Do this slowly so the juice has a chance to soak in.
- When the cake is completely cool. pour the glaze over it, and enjoy.
more grapefruit poppy seed love …
Glazed Grapefruit Poppy Seed Muffins from Girl Versus Dough
Grapefruit Poppy Seed Vinaigrette from Cooking Light
Grapefruit Poppy Seed Bread from The Year in Food
Grapefruit Poppy Seed Doughnuts from Baker by Nature
Grapefruit Poppy Seed Bars from Epicurious
Don’t forget to pin this Grapefruit Poppy Seed Cake!