This perfectly tender and incredibly flavorful Vegan Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake is about to be your new favorite vegan cake! It doesn't get much better than a soft, fluffy, & eggless grapefruit cake with grapefruit glaze & dried grapefruit slices on top.
*Recipe shared October 2018 and updated February 2022*
The best vegan grapefruit cake recipe
The inspiration for this vegan grapefruit cake recipe came from two places.
First, way back when I went to a cooking-based study abroad program in Italy and we made the most incredible Olive Oil Cake. This recipe was one of my favorites because it was so simple, yet the flavors were so distinct and the cake was so moist and fluffy.
Second, I had been really looking for a way to incorporate Grapefruit into my baking. Given that most olive oil cakes are paired with lemon or orange, grapefruit felt like the perfect way to spruce up a traditional Italian olive oil cake. Even if you aren't Grapefruit's biggest fan, I promise you will love the way it pairs with the olive oil in this delicious cake!
- Grapefruit: There are different varieities of grapefruit, but I prefer to use pink grapefruit so this cake has a slight pink color
- Pastry flour: Is very important to use high-quality pastry flour to get a light and fluffy texture! If you only have all-purpose flour, you can replace 2 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch for every cup of flour called for. It's not the exact same but gives similar results!
How to make a grapefruit olive oil cake
Make the grapefruit cake batter
This step is fairly simple- first whisk together the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, grapefruit zest, oat/almond milk, olive oil, sugar, and vanilla.
Once mixed, add in the pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then mix into a cake batter. The batter will be pretty bubbly at first, so give it a few minutes to rest before adding to a cake pan.
Add batter to pan & bake
I chose to bake this cake in my 8-inch springform pan- which is the same pan I used to bake my Blood Orange Chocolate Cake too. It's just the best!
Once the batter is in the pan, tap it on the counter to remove any air bubbles and add to the oven to bake for 45-55 minutes.
P.S- If you want to make these as grapefruit cupcakes, follow my Vegan Lemon Cupcake recipe for the correct baking time!
Top with grapefruit glaze
While the cake is cooling, make the grapefruit glaze. It requires just three ingredients and is the perfect topping for this vegan grapefruit cake!
PS. If you are hoping to decorate your cake with some beautiful dried grapefruit, then follow my guide on how to make dried citrus.
All you need is an extra grapefruit, an oven, and about 4-5 hours of time to get the beautiful dried grapefruit topping for this vegan olive oil cake.
Baking Science 101
When it comes to making a vegan olive oil cake you have to rely on chemical agents like baking powder and baking soda for rising and enough flour for structure. Now, that may sound easy, but finding the right combination of these ingredients together takes some experimenting.
When I first tested this cake, I tried using baking powder without any baking soda, but my cakes hardly rose and were dense and gummy.
Next, I tried a mix of both agents, but there wasn't enough acidity in the cake batter, so the baking soda left behind an undesirable metallic taste.
If you're a baking science geek like me, baking soda needs liquid AND an acid to produce gas to help your cake rise. Baking powder already has a powdered acid called cream of tartar in it already, so it only needs a liquid to activate.
It was only when I tripled the amount of baking soda, reduced the baking powder, and doubled the amount of grapefruit juice in the recipe that I achieved the perfect grapefruit cake!
FAQ & Tips:
I'm not sure. While I usually recommend using a gluten-free 1:1 flour, because this cake has a lot of grapefruit juice in it, that may affect the end result as it's very acidic.
You can definitely try using a 1:1 Gluten-free flour mix, but please note that flour alternatives like coconut flour or almond flour would not work in this recipe.
This grapefruit cake can be stored in a closed container at room temperature for 1-2 days or pre-sliced and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. I recommend storing each slice of cake between layers of parchment paper for the best results.
Also, while you can store the cake in the fridge, I really don't recommend it as it tends to dry it out.
This eggless, dairy-free, & Vegan Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake is an SGTO favorite! Enjoy making this delicious olive oil cake.
More Vegan Citrus Desserts you will love:
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Vegan Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake
- ¾ cup almond milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice strained (about 1 grapefruit, freshly squeezed and strained to exclude flesh/seeds)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
- 2 cups+ 2 Tablespoons pastry flour or cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon grapefruit juice
- 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 or 9 inch springform pan and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together your almond milk, sugar, grapefruit juice, olive oil, vanilla bean paste/extract and grapefruit zest.
- Next, sift together your pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Once evenly mixed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl until a smooth cake batter is formed.
- Add the batter to the greased springform pan. Before putting the pan into the oven, tap the cake pan on the counter to release any large bubbles. Bake for 48 minutes-60 minutes until the cake is browning on top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
- While the cake is cooling, make the glaze by adding the powdered sugar, grapefruit juice, and grapefruit zest to a small bowl and whisking until a thick but smooth glaze forms. If you want a thinner glaze, you can add additional grapefruit juice.
- Apply the glaze once the cake has reached room temperature so that it does not melt. Slice into 8 even pieces and enjoy!
- Leftover cake can be stored in a closed container at room temperature for 2-3 days, in the fridge for 4-5 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. The cake does tend to dry out in the fridge, so the freezer is my recommended method of storing.
- Grapefruit can be subbed 1:1 with any other citrus like lemon, lime, or orange in this recipe.
Patricia Matzke says
Yummy! I didn’t have a springform pan, so just used an 8 inch square pan. I could have used more glaze, but it was delicious! The smell is divine and flavors blend so well. Definitely a keeper!
That's great it worked just as well in a square pan! Next time you can definitely double the glaze as well 🙂
I made this for a party, and everyone asked for a second slice. One of the best cakes I’ve eaten. Texture and flavors were amazing.
So so happy to hear that!! 🙂
Fantastic recipe! We have a giant grapefruit tree in our little community, and this has become my go-to thing to do with the grapefruit. My family and my neighbors love it, vegan and non-vegan alike :)!
So happy to hear that- having a grapefruit tree to cook from sounds so magical!
Julie Pursell says
Cake came out great! Made it for non vegan friends who totally enjoyed it. Nice departure from a lemon cake!
Thanks for sharing so glad you liked this grapefruit version 🙂
Would it be possible to use self-raising flour in this recipe instead of the white pastry flour? If so, what changes would I need to make with regards to adding the baking soda and baking powder?
I wouldn't recommend using self-raising flour as I don't know how much leavening is in those flours and using the correct amount of baking powder and baking soda is incredibly important.
Thanks for your quick reply, made it this afternoon using white plain flour and it's turned out great. My boyfriend and I sometimes get grapefruit delivered in fruit boxes and neither of us like them, however we have made this cake several times now and love it!
Yay! It really is such a good way to use grapefruit and you're welcome 🙂
Do you have any suggestions on how to substitute a gluten free flour (such as Bob's Red Mill)?
I haven't personally tried it, but others have tried this recipe with that flour subbed 1:1 and had success. If you try it, definitely let me know how it goes!