Hello friends and Happy Friday!
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I made a version of this cake for Jorge on Valentine’s Day as a fresh finish to a heavy Italian meal. We loved it so much, that I just had to share the recipe with all of you. Infused with grapefruit, lime, orange and vanilla, this simple cake is packed with pure citrus sunshine. The zest and juice of the fresh fruit go directly into the batter. I would recommend stealing a taste of the raw batter before baking. It’s so good! When the cake comes out of the oven, you poke it with a skewer and douse it with more fresh citrus juice to really infuse the flavor. Greek yogurt in the cake and the glaze provides moisture and tang while tiny poppy seeds add flavor and crunch. This cake is impressive enough for a special occasion, but also easy enough to enjoy at something more casual like brunch or afternoon tea. Continue reading for the recipe.
The original recipe calls for just using grapefruit in the cake. Given that it’s citrus season, and we’ve got plenty of incredible citrus fruit here in San Diego, I decided to do a mix of grapefruit, orange and lime. In particular, I am using Oro Blanco grapefruits here. Available winter through early spring, Oro Blancos are pale yellow with a good amount of sweetness and nuanced flavor. I’ve thrown some lime in the mix to add more acidity and orange to compliment the sweetness. The resulting citrus flavor is fresh and balanced. You’re not going to get hit with a big punch of acidity.
If you can’t find Oro Blancos, then you can certainly use any grapefruit (pink or white) that’s available at your local market. I’m sure this cake would be delicious with just lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits or any combination of the 4. Vanilla, poppy seeds and yogurt, the other base flavors, all work well with any type of citrus.
Citrus Poppy Seed Cake Recipe
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange grapefruit zest
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lime grapefruit zest
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 4 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, divided
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling
For the glaze:
- ½ cup packed powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line an 8.5 x 4.5" metal loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang (see photo above), and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
- Add sugar and citrus zest to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Using your fingers, work the zest evenly into the sugar. Add eggs, oil and vanilla, and beat on high until light and thick (3 - 4 minutes). Reduce speed to low, and mix in half of the dry ingredients followed by 3/4 yogurt. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, then 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice, 1 tablespoon orange juice, 1 tablespoon lime juice and poppy seeds. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth out the top if needed.
- Bake cake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean (50 - 60 minutes). Transfer pan to a wire rack, then poke holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer. Brush remaining grapefruit, orange and lime juice (will be 3 tablespoons) over the top of the cake. Let sit for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides to release the cake. Using the parchment handles, lift the cake out of the pan and onto the rack. Remove parchment and let cool completely.
- To make the glaze, add powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon yogurt, 1 teaspoon water and a small pinch of salt to a medium bowl, whisking until smooth. Drizzle glaze evenly over the cake, then sprinkle with poppy seeds. Let glaze set for 30 minutes before serving.
Here are some other simple cake recipes on Kitchen Konfidence:
Hi Brandon. Looks like you’ve been busy here with this entry. As usual, when I need something new, you publish just what I need. You’re amazing that way! Including grapefruit in your Citrus Poppy Cake intrigued me. I’ve always used lemon and/or lime juice/zest in my recipes–and sometimes orange. I have a citrus tree whose fruit is a cross between a grapefruit and a lemon. I’ve been hesitant to use them in my recipes. You’ve given me incentive to try it now. Wish me luck! And thanks for all you do.
averie @ averie cooks says
I love all the different citrus you incorporated AND it’s a poke cake so it’s probably so soft and moist! Love it!
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says
I was planning to do a poppy seed cake recipe in honor of my sweet sister-in-law who died of cancer. It was her favorite cake – she would request it for her birthday. I think this would be so much more apropos. She spent half a year in Florida in her back yard she had oranges and grapefruit. Thank you, Brandon. I know this would have been her favorite.
Kim S says
Made this cake this weekend exactly as printed. It is perfectly moist and flavorful! Lovely cake for breakfast or dessert.
Looks amazing. I love your photography. Is it all natural light? I think where I live it’s just so dark! Hard to get so much light in my shots unless I go for long exposure. Anyway, beautiful work.
I am loving your site! Can’t wait to try yourrecipes. I have a natural sourdough starter. Can I incorporate it in this recipe?
What !? It looks so delicious ! Thanks for the recipe
Brian @ A Thought for Food says
When it comes to desserts, I’m all about the citrus. What a beautiful, refreshing combination here. And a lovely end to a celebratory meal. Thanks for sharing!