Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake

Recipe Pin
1 hour 25 minutes
12 servings

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Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake is quintessentially summer’s breath on a fancy plate. No two ways, this is a straightforward cream cheese pound cake. It is a vintage recipe that has been kicking around for decades or longer. My advice; consume slowly; savor!

grapefruit sugar cake center

Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake is a straightforward cream cheese pound cake, elevated by the addition of grapefruit. It’s summertime after all. And every time I bake it, I am thrust back to my earliest memories of childhood, and of running away. Nice, right??

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No, I did not have a bad childhood. I was acting out after being told ‘no’ by my Grandmother. Rules at Grandma’s were way different than rules at home. I guess I had just had enough in my four short years and figured I would rather strike out on my own, haha. What a brat!

But I still retain this vivid memory of ‘packing’ all my Grandmother’s crochet squares (…unclear why I was packing crochet squares to make my getaway, but there we are) into my new kiddy suitcase which had pictures of colorful mushrooms all over it (very 1974 chic).

Once packed, I headed for the back door. I remember pulling my snazzy new suitcase through the kitchen and grabbing a HUGE moist hunk of Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake with my bare hand and heading out.

Follow these tips and take your time. Who ever knows! Your pound cake may just win first place at the county fair!

How do you bake a pound cake?

The most extraordinary thing about baking pound cakes is how easy they are to prepare. I am of the opinion that rather than instructing a person on how to bake a pound cake, it is better to instruct a person on the little details that make any cake recipe a success.

Use name brand ingredients. Why? Decades ago, I lost a baking contest at our local 4-H Fair due to my cake being what the judges dubbed as “overly sweet, and a bit too heavy.” My 4-H leader helped me to bake another cake, all the while consoling me. I was 8 years old so it was a big deal in my life at that time. She taught me that generic sugars are oftentimes more finely ground than name brands, yielding more sugar per cup. This caused my cake to be “too sweet.” And generic butter may contain more liquid fat or flours than a brand name, quality butter. This made my cake “too heavy.”

No matter what, ALWAYS have ingredients at room temperature. Why? For maximum height and volume.

Both grease AND flour your cake pan(s) BEFORE you begin. I like vegetable shortening or butter for greasing and I go LITE. Dust with flour by tapping the pan and eliminating any excess.

Measure your ingredients CAREFULLY. Always read through the entire recipe. Prepare and pre-measure your ingredients. Assemble them in the order they are called for in the method so that if distracted or called away, you are less likely to make a mistake when you return to the process.

DO NOT OVERBEAT. You’ve read this before, but what does it mean? Overbeating the eggs causes cake batter to overflow the sides of the pan during the bake. Overbeating may also create a flakey, this crust that crumbles and separates from the cake as it cools.

grapefruit sugar pound cake

If you read through this cake method you will recognize it, more or less. I have taken this process a step further by elevating it with the addition of grapefruit sugar. It’s summertime after all…

Seriously, I suppose I thought the amount of cake I nabbed would sustain me for a week. The hunk was as big as my head. Little did I know that pilfered cake would be what gave me away. After somebody saw the mess I’d made destroying Gram’s beautiful grapefruit masterpiece, they immediately began looking for me, presumably to scold me. I made it as far as the cow barn before my plan was foiled…

Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake is subtle, with hints and nods to the grapefruit. A lovely grapefruit cream cheese glaze livens the notes in this cake.  Oh, and then there is the grapefruit sugar…

Something I am always on the lookout for at flea markets and yard sales are ‘in good condition’ kitchen tools. Among a growing collection of Bundt pans is this rather generic Bundt form relatively known to everybody. For this recipe, I love this form. The grapefruit sugar has a place to land and to rest on the bold roundedness of this Bundt. I have more intricate Bundts but they would not showcase that grapefruit sugar in the light in the same way, so if you have the “generic Bundt,” use it.

grapefruit sugar

How did you not know you were missing grapefruit sugar in your life? It’s a serious question!

In addition to a gorgeously moist crumb, this cake boasts a cream cheese frosting. Well, a grapefruit cream cheese glaze, really. If you like grapefruit, I implore you to give this recipe a go. It is subtle, but it’s in there.

The crumb is not overly sweet, something the glaze more than makes up for. I specify 1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar, but you could easily add an additional ounce of cream cheese, or lessen the amount of Confectioners to 3/4 cup. For reference, I am not a sugar-lover. The amount I specify is for somebody who enjoys this cake with ONLY that amount of sugar.

What’s considered a classic pound cake?

My friend Paula is a pound cake queen. Seriously. She is the only food blogger I know who has produced and posted more pound cake posts than I can count. The majority of her basic pound cake batters begin with butter, sour cream, or cream cheese. These are the three wet ingredients primarily used as the basis for all pound cakes. Additional flavorings and dry ingredients often vary.

What is a good recipe for pound cake?

Honestly, any recipe which follows the above rule of thumb for any of the three wet ingredients being a chief player in the method; butter, sour cream, or cream cheese. You will note that if in my recipe herein for Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake, if the glaze and sugar were omitted it’d be a standard cream cheese pound cake. Rich, but with little sweetness.

close up of grapefruit sugar pound cake

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

grapefruit cake and grapefruit slices

Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake

Jenny DeRemer
Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake is a straightforward cream cheese pound cake, elevated by the addition of grapefruit.
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 12 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 340 kcal


  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups Confectioner's sugar
  • cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and any pulp
  • ¼ teaspoon quality vanilla extract

Ingredients for Grapefruit Sugar Pound Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large grapefruit pink grapefruit has the mildest and sweeter taste
  • 1 ⅔ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon quality vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup fresh buttermilk, at room temperature


Prepare the Grapefruit Cream Cheese Glaze

  • Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar for several minutes until light and creamy. Add the grapefruit juice and any pulp and the vanilla and beat until combined. Refrigerate while the cake bakes.

Prepare the Cake

  • Preheat oven to 325°
  • Using a silicone pastry brush, dot and spread one tablespoon of the softened butter to every fold and crease in the Bundt pan. Be sure to butter the entire pan. Flour liberally tapping out any excess. Set aside.
    Cake pan
  • In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
    Sugar in a blue bowl
  • Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest of the grapefruit. Put the zest and 2/3 of the sugar in a spice grinder or mini chef prep and pulse until the zest is combined with the sugar. Reserve 1 heaping tablespoon of the grapefruit sugar.
    A close up of food, with Grapefruit and Sugar
  • Place the softened butter, cream cheese and both the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the remaining grapefruit sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; beat together until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Be sure to scrape the bowl using a spatula to make sure all ingredients are sufficiently incorporated. Beat in oil and vanilla.
  • Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to the batter, starting and ending with the flour. Again be sure to scrape the bowl using a spatula to make sure all ingredients are sufficiently incorporated.
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake at 325° for one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes then invert on to your desired cake plate or stand.
    cake on a cooling rack, with Cake and Grapefruit


  • Once the cake has cooled completely (at least 1 hour), transfer from cooling rack to a cake platter or stand. Drizzle or pour the icing over the top of the cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides and into the center. Sprinkle the top with the tablespoon of grapefruit sugar you reserved. Slice the remaining zested grapefruit and use wedges to garnish and also serve alongside. Serve and enjoy. Refrigerate any uneaten portions as the glaze is dairy.

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.


Serving: 1servingsCalories: 340kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 8gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 313mgPotassium: 157mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 517IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 153mgIron: 1mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

Cake inspiration, and some fabulous recipes to consider!

Southern Cream Cheese Pound Cake – Old Fashioned Recipe!

Cast Iron Cranberry Brown Sugar Cake

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Raspberry & Rhubarb Swiss Roll

Semi-Homemade Orange Marmalade Cream Cake

Pistachio Cake

Pistachio-Cardamom Bundt with Rosewater Glaze

Semi-Homemade Cranberry Orange Christmas Cake

Huguenot Church Blueberry Brunch Cake

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Recipe Rating


  1. Your cake looks stunning! My kids would clean this beauty in no time, thanks for sharing…

    1. @treatntrick thank you so much! Do you know what? This cake might appear like it took a bit of effort, but it really does not, and I am NOT a baker. I have thrown this together countless times for when company comes because its “season” never goes out. That, and I can be sloppy and still have it (and me) looking magnificent!

    2. Hey Jenny ~ Thanks for sharing! I’m a fan of lemon cakes, and the grapefruit cream cheese is pleasing. Nice & moist with unique flavor! My icing was runnier than I would have liked… Turned out like a glazed donut sheen rather than the thick white lusciousness in your pix. And it didn’t thicken up much upon refrigeration nor with the addition of 1 Tbsp cornstarch. When I make the recipe next time, I will add fresh squeezed grapefruit juice to the cream cheese & confectioner’s sugar *tablespoon by tablespoon* until it reaches my desired consistency.5 stars

      1. Heather, first allow me to thank you – you have baked my favorite pound cake on this site. I tend to garner twitchy looks when I say ‘grapefruit pound cake.’ But…I cannot help that I love the subtlety of the grapefruit. All that aside, and barring the consistency of your glaze, I still feel like you baked an amazing cake, am I correct? Tablespoon by tablespoon is the only way to do it, and I hope once you master the technique that works for you and your personal preferences, you will add this cake to your arsenal if you haven’t already 🙂 x – Jenny

  2. This sounds amazing! I’m on a no dairy or egg diet right now due to my baby’s food allergies, but am totally bookmarking this beauty for when I am done nursing! My husband has a funny running away story too — he packed underwear and a toothbrush and that is all! Ha ha!

    1. Meg, thanks for swinging by Not Entirely Average! It’s a special time for you – congratulations on the birth of your baby! Do give this recipe a go when it’s safe to do so. The Grapefruit Pound Cake is entirely incredible and certainly not what I was expecting – it was moist, sweet, dense, and extremely satisfying. Before I baked it, I just kept asking myself ‘why must you do grapefruit???’ Let me know how it turns out and by all means send pics of your new little one!!