Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

This easy Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake is bright and fresh with fresh squeeze grapefruit juice and comes together in a snap with no mixer needed!

Sometimes a dessert can just give you a vibe—and I love the vibe of this grapefruit olive oil cake. It makes me think of being at a beach in Italy in Springtime, based on nothing really, other than the vibe it gives. It’s a similar vibe to these Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes but I’m really just a sucker for all things citrus.

Bringing olive oil into a cake not only is delicious, but also it adds an extra depth that can’t be beaten. Pairing that rich olive oil with a bright citrus like grapefruit and a savory herb like rosemary is a beautiful balance.

Olive Oil in Cakes

Using olive oil in cakes may seem like an odd choice at first if you’ve never tried it before, however these cakes are hardly new. They are a traditional staple in Italian, Spanish and Arabic cultures. Olive oil is, or was it seems, the cheaper choice over butter in cakes.

As a bonus, oil cakes create a moi—sorry soft—texture, a fine but light crumb, and a wonderful ability to stay this way days longer than a butter cake. Olive oil has the additional benefit of adding a richer, deeper flavor than using a vegetable oil.

Sliced loaf cake overhead with spring of rosemary and candied grapefruit.

I have used a lighter olive oil here because I wanted the grapefruit to still shine through, but if you want to go all in and use a darker extra-virgin olive oil that is completely up to you. It is important to use a decent quality oil, no matter the variety. Top shelf isn’t necessary, but the cheapest option will not have the flavor depth. Decent is your sweet spot.

Olive oil loaf cake from the side with drizzle and candied grapefruit slices on top.

Tips for Success

The great thing about this cake is how easy it comes together. Two bowls, 1 whisk and a loaf pan is all you need.

  • Make sure your ingredients are all room temperature
  • Sifting your flour first will make it easier to incorporate into your wet ingredients without needing to over-mix the batter. It will keep your cake tender and ensure no dry patches remain.
  • Massaging the sugar with the grapefruit zest and rosemary isn’t *technically* required, but it does strengthen the flavor of the ingredients.
  • Feel free to adjust the ratio of powdered sugar to juice in your glaze for your preferences. More sugar will be a stiffer glaze, more juice will be thinner.
  • A quality Loaf Pan will help bake evenly. If your pan is too thin, the exterior will become crusty before the interior is baked through
Slice of Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake
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Grapefruit Olive Oil Cake

  • Author: Theresa | Quiet Baking Day
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooling Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: American


Grapefruit olive oil cake is a combination of bright citrus and deep rich olive oil and a touch of savory rosemary herbs.



Olive Oil Cake

  • 297g granulated sugar
  • 1/21 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (to taste)
  • Zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups olive oil
  • 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cups grapefruit juice (about 1 grapefruit)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 300g all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Grapefruit Glaze

  • 57g powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice

Candied Grapefruit Slices (Optional)

  • 41/4grapefruit slices
  • 198g granulated sugar, plus 50g for dusting
  • 1 1/2 cup water


  1. Olive Oil Cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour 9″x5″ loaf pan.
  2. Place sugar, zest, and rosemary in a large bowl. Using your hands, massage the zest and rosemary in the sugar to release the oils and aromatics.
  3. Whisk in eggs and olive oil until combined. Add milk, grapefruit juice and vanilla and whisk thoroughly.
  4. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.
  5. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet until just combined.
  6. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes until toothpick comes out dry.
  7. Cool for 30 minutes in pan, then let cool completely on wire rack.
  8. Grapefruit Glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar and grapefruit juice. Spoon over cake after completely cool.
  9. Candied Grapefruit Slices: Boil a small pot of water. Allow slices to boil for 30 seconds. Drain pot, refill and repeat.
  10. Fill deep saucepan again with 1c. Sugar and 1 1/2c. Water. Bring to a simmer and add slices in even layer once sugar is dissolved.
  11. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove from heat and place slices on wire rack to dry.
  13. After about 1 hour, dust slices with remaining sugar.
  14. Allow to dry completely, about 6 hours.
  15. Slices can be made of time and stored in fridge.


  • Rosemary can be removed completely if desired
  • Candied Grapefruit can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container
  • Store cake at room temperature in airtight container

Keywords: citrus, grapefruit, cake, loaf

Recipe Disclaimer: 

I test all my recipes using the Metric gram weights as shown. I recommend investing in a small kitchen scale for the most accurate results. I cannot guarantee exact outcomes using the US system. 


  1. omg can’t wait to try this – think it’d be good with other variations, like pistachios or other herbs & citrus?

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About Theresa
Oh, hello, and welcome to my kitchen! My kitchen is the place I go to escape the hustle of the world and find some peace and serenity. These are the recipes I go to when I truly need a quiet baking day.

Hi, I'm Theresa

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