The Passion Fruits

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Winter time, citrus cake time


With Christmas came many new cookbooks for my collection. Chief among them? This tiny little jewel, Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. A book about seasonal fruit desserts broken down by season? Bring it!

The following cake capped off a dinner party I hosted for some very dear friends visiting  from South Africa. I made it with Meyer lemons (I hoard these during the winter months), blood oranges (another winter favorite) and Indian River grapefruits.

With olive oil being the dominant ingredient here, it’s important to select one that’s of high quality with a deep fruity taste. You want to avoid grassy, strong-biting olive oils. Take a little bit of the citrus and mix it into a small amount of oil and taste. Both flavors should compliment. One should not announce itself over the other.

Perfect for dessert or as a nice breakfast which I enjoyed for the next few mornings.

Olive Oil Citrus Cake

1 1/4 cups unsifted (5 oz) cake flour (you will sift later)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon plus 3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) granulated sugar

Zest of 1 grapefruit

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 tsp lemon oil (optional)

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a paper towel, coat a 9-inch by 2-inch round baking pan with olive oil, then sprinkle it with about 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.

To make the cake, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together twice. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and zests on high speed for 5 minutes, until the eggs are thickened and lighter in color. Add the vanilla and lemon oil. Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed and drizzle the olive oil into the batter, pouring slowly along the edge of the bowl. Add the flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and has domed slightly in the center. Cool to room temperature.


3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

To make the glaze, sift the confectioners’ sugar into a small bowl. Add the grapefruit juice and whisk to combine. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake.

Storage: Wrapped in plastic wrap, this cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

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