An Old-Fashioned Fruit makes a Sweet Comeback

Grapefruit Cornmeal Cake

Citrus season has long passed, but it’s never too late for a Grapefruit Coconut Cake. After all, with limes being expensive (Read or listen about this year’s lime shortages in both NPR’s Tell Me More‘s Michel Martin and Carrie Khan’s articles), grapefruit is proving to be a juicy alternative. That’s not too bad of a comeback, considering The New York Times published a story about the decline of grapefruit’s popularity, which cites similar production and growth problems to limes. The article also discusses grapefruit’s competition with seedless and easy to peel citrus varieties. It’s sour taste doesn’t help its popularity. Despite both lime and grapefruit’s production problems, paying more than a dollar for one lime isn’t realistic.

Grapefruit is rarely enjoyed in my apartment, and I’m the only one who eats it. Those occasions are rare. When I do buy one, they’re embarrassingly thrown away after sitting on the kitchen counter for too long. As the The New York Times article mentioned, I tend to think of the grapefruit as a tedious morning fruit, similar to making a pot of loose-leaf tea on weekday mornings. It’s not like it’s a banana to grab on the way out the door. Most people half their grapefruit, separate and scoop out each section with a grapefruit spoon. For the unsweetened variety, a little sugar or honey is added on top of each half. Perhaps, the idea of grapefruit being a difficult fruit is in our minds. Like an orange, they’re easily peeled and separated without the use of utensils or cutting boards.

Not too long ago, I saw a grapefruit in my fruit basket beginning to shrivel. Feeling bad about the possibility of wasting food, the skin and pith was removed and the slices were blitzed into a Blueberry smoothie with coconut water. It’s now my refreshing after-workout drink. With a love for grapefruit being rediscovered, my creative taste buds wondered how to savor grapefruit in other recipes.


The recipe, Grapefruit Coconut Cake, is a moist, not too sweet taste that’s best paired with a chai or rooibos tea. A drizzle of grapefruit glaze announces a citrus flavor as toasted, shredded coconut garnishes the cake. Coconut sugar — my favorite white sugar alternative — adds its characteristic subtle caramel taste. The cake is also specked with a bit of cornmeal for a wholesome texture as coconut oil adds moisture. Any type of Greek thick yogurt can be used for this recipe, and So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt is a delicious dairy-free option.

The pr representative generously delivered a few containers when So Delicious launched its dairy-free cultured yogurts a few months ago. It now has a permanent spot on my grocery list, because its addition to a yogurt-based smoothie number doesn’t add a strong yogurt flavor.

With berry season around the corner, citrus fruits seems like a flavor most people want to forget, like this year’s bad winter. Like lemons, grapefruit is available year round, but it’s cheaper and taste better in the winter. While limes are currently too expensive (the prices are expected to come back down in a few weeks), grapefruit is a trendy flavor for the summer. Enjoy a slice of Grapefruit Coconut Cake  during one of summer’s hottest days with a glass of ice tea. The flavor will encourage most people to organize a ‘rediscover grapefruit’ campaign.

Grapefruit Coconut Cake


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil; plus more for greasing baking dish
  • 1 cup ap, unbleached white flour, plus more for the baking dish
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup finely shredded and unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 cup + 3 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • The finely grated zest of one grapefruit
  • The juice of one grapefruit
  • 3/4 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Cultured Coconut Yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Garnish: 2 tbsp. finely shredded, toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease and flour a baking loaf pan.
  3. Lightly toss flour, cornmeal, baking powder, coconut and sea salt in a large bowl.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk coconut sugar, grapefruit zest, yogurt, eggs and vanilla.
  5. To create the batter, gently fold the wet into the large bowl of the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
  6. Scraping the sides of the bowl, pour the batter into the greased and floured baking pan. Place baking dish in the oven.
  7. For about 50 to 55 minutes, bake until the cake is a caramel rich golden brown (from the coconut sugar and cornmeal), or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (a scant crumb is okay).
  8. Meanwhile, make the grapefruit glaze: Place grapefruit juice and 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to simmer until slightly thick and reduced, for about 10 minutes.
  9. When the cake is ready, let cool on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. After ten minutes, remove the cake from the pan. Using a toothpick, puncture deep holes into the top of the cake.
  10. Drizzle grapefruit glaze over the cake. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes.
  11. Let cool before serving.

Grapefruit Cornmeal Cake


One thought on “An Old-Fashioned Fruit makes a Sweet Comeback

  • June 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Very excited by this recipe!! I’ve been toying with the idea of making a remixed version of an old school southern coconut cake – without all of the sugars and artificial coconut flavors. Your cake looks SUPERmoist!

    I like your usage of the So Delicious Coconut Yogurt. With success, I used it recently in a savory vegan East Indian recipe that called for a bit of lusciousness. To bake with it will be an adventure!

    Yesss! Personally, from palomas, marinades, and salads, Grapefruits are definitely my new lime for Summer 2014!

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