Grapefruit Pudding Cake

Mariel here. This past weekend I spent some time down in Florida celebrating a close friend’s impending nuptials, and let me tell you, I was more than excited to escape the refrigerator that is NYC. This past winter has been a doozy – for so many reasons – and it felt damn good to head south and soak up some much needed sunshine. Or as much sunshine as I’ll allow given my pathological fear of crow’s-feet…which brings me to my second topic of conversation: my looming 30th birthday.

This year, the first day of spring also marks the first day of my thirties and while I know I’ll look back one day and laugh at how much this has been bothering me, today is not that day. I’m not psyched, in fact, I’m dreading the changeover from a bossy, world-is-my-oyster twenty-something to an overburdened, “remember-when” thirty-something. Sometimes I worry that I’m not where I should be at 30, I’m not making as much money as I’d hoped, I don’t have any kids, etc etc. On the other hand, I have friends, family and a husband that love me, two crazy dogs, a career I’ve always wanted, and I’m pretty healthy. I know I have plenty to be grateful for, but there are also a few kinks that need to be worked out.

Twenty-nine wasn’t my best year, so I’ll hold out hope for 30, but in the meantime, I decided to import a little Florida sunshine and whip up a citrusy treat that might help sweeten the bittersweet arrival of my birthday. This recipe is an adaptation of my Great Aunt Sheila’s Lemon Pudding Cake, which I had for the very first time about a month ago. It knocked my socks off, but it was a touch too sugary for my tastes so I reworked the recipe a bit and subbed in grapefruit for lemon to change up the flavor. The result was a lively little confection that will hopefully put a smile on your face.

Other citrus-infused favorites include Lemon Olive Oil Cake with a Zesty Lemon Rosemary Glaze, Key Lime Blackberry Bites, Lemon Cupcakes with a Raspberry Mint Glaze, Lemon Meringue Pie and Lemon Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberries

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Grapefruit Pudding Cake
Serves 6

Note: You will need a 2-quart baking dish for this. It will need to fit into a pan large enough to accommodate a ½” water bath when baking.

¾ cup + 1/3 cup sugar, divided – stock
½ cup flour – stock
½ teaspoon baking powder – stock
¼ teaspoon salt – stock
3 eggs, separated – stock
Zest from one large grapefruit – $1.29
1/3 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice – included above
2 Tablespoons melted butter – stock
1¼ cups low-fat milk – stock
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $1.29
Per Serving: $0.22

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter (or spray with “Pam”) a 2-quart, rectangular baking dish.

2. Sift together the flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Beat in the additional 1/3 cup of sugar, one spoonful at a time. Set aside in a clean bowl.

4. Without washing the beaters, beat the egg yolks until light. Add the zest and grapefruit juice, the butter and the milk, stirring well to combine.

5. Gradually stir in the flour/sugar mixture using a wooden spoon.

6. Add the beaten egg whites and fold gently until no white flecks show. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Set in a pan of HOT water, about ½” deep.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The top will be golden, the bottom layer will be soft and pudding-y (hence the name).

8. Remove from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, then chill in the fridge for at least one hour before serving (this allows the pudding to set). Serve chilled and store in the refrigerator.


  1. says

    Happy upcoming 30th birthday! I know what you mean about your expectations as you approach 30, but take it from someone who crossed that threshold not too long ago: the thirties rock! As much as I had fun during my 20’s, 30’s are so much better :) Here’s to a good birthday, and I will absolutely try this cake!

  2. says

    You’re right, you’re going to look back one day and laugh about how much turning thirty bothered you. I’m in my late thirties and I still feel like a twenty-something-year-old.

    I can’t wait to try this recipe today. I don’t have grapefruit, but I have oranges, so I’ll put my own twist on it. I’ll also have to try that lemon pudding cake one day.

    Happy birthday!


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