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You don’t see that many recipes using grapefruits in baking.
I guess they don’t have quite the same pizzazz as lemons and limes, and they are not as sweet as most oranges. If you juice them, the flavor isn’t really bold enough to hold up much grapefruit flavor – unless you reduce it, and then it loses a lot of it’s pop because you lose the fresh uncooked flavor. The trick is to use the fruit itself.
I love fresh grapefruits, and don’t mind the trouble involved to section them, but Larry can’t be bothered. So when I bought a big bag of them at a great end of season price, I had to figure out a way to use them up before they go bad. I’ve seen recipes for upside down lemon cakes before, so why not try it with some grapefruits?
My first attempt was just ok, but over the weekend, I worked at improving things, and this final recipe is pretty amazing.
I used red grapefruit which accounts for the almost florescent color – it’s pretty, don’t you think? Any color will work though. And the additions of fresh ginger and ground cardamom really help showcase the grapefruit.
The grapefruits do need to be peeled before slicing, but it’s not hard to do. A sharp knife is essential though. Cut off each end, until you can see the fruit, not pith. Set the grapefruit on end where you made one of your cuts. Working from top to bottom, remove the skin and pith, following the curve of the fruit. Go back and trim off any pith left behind if necessary. Then, lay them on their sides and you can cut each grapefruit into 1/4 inch slices, removing any seeds as you go. I also like to take out the white center part – kitchen shears work well for that. That all sounds more fiddly than it actually is – I think it takes longer to read about it than to actually do it.
Make sure you don’t miss the step sprinkling a bit of salt over the grapefruit layer – salt really brings out the flavor in grapefruit!
Upside Down Grapefruit Cake
- 2 large or 3 medium grapefruit - any kind
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar well packed
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 6 tablespoons soft butter
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar well packed
- 2 large room temperature eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger [ or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger]
- 1 tablespoon grapefruit zest from second step
- 3/4 cups cold buttermilk well shaken
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Zest one of the grapefruits and set the zest aside - you want a good heaping tablespoonful.
- Peel and slice the grapefruits as described in the post.
- Place the first amount of butter [2 tablespoons] in a 9 inch round cake pan, and place in the oven until the butter melts.
- Once the butter is melted, swirl to get an even layer in the pan, and the sprinkle the 1/3 cup of brown sugar over the butter.
- Lay the slices of grapefruit over the butter and sugar - the slices will overlap, which is fine.
- Sprinkle the 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt evenly over the grapefruit slices. Set aside while you make the batter.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom, set aside
- Cream together the 6 tablespoons of butter and the 3/4 cup brown sugar.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Beat in the vanilla, ginger and grapefruit zest.
- Beat in the flour, in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk: flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour. You don't want to overmix, so kind of overlap the additions a little - they don't have to be completely incorporated each time, until the last addition, which I usually finish up with a rubber spatula.
- Spread the batter evenly over the grapefruit slices, taking care not to disturb them.
- Bake for 50 to 55 mins, turning halfway through. The cake should test done in the center with no crumbs sticking to a toothpick, and edges pulled away from the pan slightly.
- Cool for about 5 minutes on a wire rack, and then loosen the edges with a butter knife or offset spatula and invert carefully on a serving plate. Cut into wedges to serve warm with lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Refrigerate leftovers.