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2. 7. 11 / rosemarried

Recipe Swap: Grapefruit Cupcakes

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and I think its rather true. Somehow, I blinked and magically it was February. The holidays have long since come and gone, the NBA playoffs are looming in the distance (come on, Blazers. you got this!), and I am beginning to let my myself dream of all that I will be planting this year in my little garden.

Last but certainly not least, the third installment of The Recipe Swap is upon us! Just a few months ago, CM at Burwell General Store approached me with the idea of doing a recipe swap. She picked up an old cookbook at a swap meet, and asked if I wanted to join her in re-interpreting recipes from the book. We started by reinterpreting Autumn Spiced Persimmon Pudding and had such a good time that we decided to keep up with the swap. Soon after, the lovely Boulder Locavore joined our ranks and the 3 of us did our interpretations of Fern’s Apple Fritters.

And now for our 3rd swap, our little group as exploded. We now consist of seven bloggers! How incredible is that? For this swap, CM picked a recipe that we all agreed would be in line with the upcoming Valentine’s holiday: Company Time Lemon Cake. For starters, I absolutely love the name of the cake. Its so self-explanatory: This is the cake you make when you’re having company over. Its as simple as that!

So, here’s the thing. It took me all of two minutes to decide on my concept for this swap. We were asked to re-interpret a lemon cake for Valentines day, which seemed altogether too fitting. You see, I served lemon cupcakes at my wedding (with coconut cream cheese frosting!). And while cupcakes may be the hip new thing for contemporary weddings, my reasons for choosing to serve cupcakes were simple. For one, I love cupcakes with my whole heart. Back in the days when Nich an I were dating, he would surprise me with a cupcake (from my favorite little bakery, Saint Cupcake) whenever I was having a bad day. And secondly, Nich proposed to me with a cupcake. He got down on one knee, held out a cupcake, and there was a ring on top (in the frosting!). I said yes, of course, and the rest is history! (Engagement cupcake photo below:)

Since cupcakes are such an integral part of Nich and I’s story, I thought it would only be fitting to make cupcakes for this Valentine-themed Lemon cake recipe swap. I didn’t want to exactly replicate the recipe – or my wedding cupcakes, for that matter – so I came up with something that I felt paid homage to both recipes. After some brainstorming and scouring of the internet, I decided upon Grapefruit cupcakes. Grapefruit is my absolute favorite of all the citrus fruits and I was excited about the possibility of turning this zingy citrus into a sweet little cupcake. I’d never had a grapefruit cupcake before, so I knew I was taking somewhat of a risk with this recipe: but I was so thrilled with how they turned out. They were sour, without being too sour (and sweet, without being too sweet!). So balanced, so light, and so lovely.

I’ll admit, if you make all four of the elements for this cupcake (cupcake, candied peel, curd, frosting): it is a lot of work. I made the cupcakes over the course of two days. First, I made the cupcakes and candied the grapefruit peel. The next day, I made the grapefruit curd and then the whipped cream and curd frosting. It was a lot of work…but it was so worth it!

And so, without further adieu, my grapefruit cupcake recipe:

Grapefruit Cupcakes with Whipped Grapefruit Curd Frosting and Candied Grapefruit Peel

Grapefruit Cupcakes
(Adapted from Whisk Kid)

1 1/2 cups white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
3 tsp grated grapefruit zest (approximately one large grapefruit)
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I used nonfat)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with liners and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. In another bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and zest, rubbing between your fingers until moistened and fragrant. Whisk in the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Grapefruit Curd
(Adapted from Honey and Jam)

8 large eggs yolks
1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 ruby red grapefruit
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
*For frosting: 1 cup whipping cream, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Combine egg yolks, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, half of the zest, and sugar in a saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over med-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes.

Turn heat down to low. Add salt. Begin adding the butter, piece by piece, stirring constantly. Once you have added in all the butter (and the mixture is thick and beautiful), remove from heat. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in the remaining zest. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set.

To make the frosting, start by whipping the cream, vanilla and confectioners sugar until you have stiff whipping cream (be careful not to overwhip!). Combine equal parts whipping cream with grapefruit curd, and gently fold together with a spatula. Spread atop cupcakes!

Candied Grapefruit Peels
(Adapted from White on Rice Couple)

1 Large Ruby Red Grapefruit

With a vegetable peeler, peel off thin strips of the grapefruit rind. Use a small pairing knife to cut strips into thin strips. Meanwhile, bring 1 part water to 1 part sugar to boil in a small saucepan (I used 1 cup of each).

Add grapefruit peels and boil over med heat for 30-45 minutes. Strain, reserving liquid (which is now a grapefruit infused simple syrup, which you can use for all sorts of delicious things.)

Pour about 1 cup white sugar in a bowl. Toss candied peels in sugar, then spread peels out on foil or wax paper to cool and air dry. These are best after a few hours of drying time. I made them the night before I used them for my cupcakes!

To assemble the cupcakes…simply frost cupcakes with the whipped grapefruit frosting. Top with a dollop of grapefruit curd and a couple pieces of candied grapefruit curd. And, of course – enjoy!

(Photos by Kari Ray)

***See below for all the other amazing creations my fellow bloggers made for this swap!

Chef Dennis @ More Than a Mountfull: Italian Lemon Pear Cake

Mari @ The Unexpected Harvest: GF Lemon Poppyseed Angel Food Cake with an Oregon Pinot Gris glaze.

Toni @ Boulder Locavore: Gluten Free Orange-Cardamom Three Layer Cake

Nay @ Spicy Living: Lemon Lavender Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Blog address:

Sabrina Modelle @ The Tomato Tart: Brown Sugar Lemon Rosemary Cake with Rosemary Caramel

Christianna @ Burwell General Store: Meyer Lemon Curd Shortcakes with Orange Flower Water Icing


Leave a Comment
  1. Chef Dennis / Feb 7 2011 6:49 am

    What a perfect little cupcake!! I have never had a grapefruit cupcake it must be soooo very good!! and yoru icing and presentation with the candied peel is perfect!

  2. C.M. Reinhardt / Feb 7 2011 7:16 am

    As always, it is so fun to work with you. These cupcakes look awesome, and I’m glad they have a special meaning for you. Can’t wait to see what we come up with next time!

  3. Sprinkled with flour / Feb 7 2011 7:23 am

    Hi, I came over from Chef Dennis blog:) These cupcakes sound so perfectly delicious! I love using grapefruit in dessert, it adds a wonderful tart sweetness:) I made an angel food cake with pink grapefruit cream cheese icing last year that made me a convert:) Great job!

  4. gena / Feb 7 2011 10:02 am

    photos look great lindsey! great job!

  5. Mari / Feb 7 2011 1:03 pm

    So glad I was there to bite into these tasty treats. Loved ’em Linds! Love you 🙂

  6. Amy / Feb 7 2011 1:41 pm

    WOW!!! Awesome. Grapefruit is my favorite citrus, too. I might really have to try these.

  7. Sabrina Modelle / Feb 7 2011 1:44 pm

    First of all, sweetest story ever to accompany a cupcake post. Secondly I am a grapefruit fiend too. I can just eat the peel without it being candied, so this looks like a major win! I love these cupcakes. Seriously, can’t wait to eat them. I have to make them before my vegan cleanse or… maybe I have to veganize them! Great job,

  8. Shari Wakefield / Feb 7 2011 8:41 pm

    I followed Chef Dennis’ post to your blog and am so happy to have found it. Your recipes look delicious and your photography is wonderful!

    Shari from

  9. Nay / Feb 7 2011 9:38 pm

    I love that you chose to go with grapefruit, such a great flavor. Looks beautiful.

  10. Jacqueline / Feb 8 2011 5:32 pm

    Thanks! I love your site as well and can’t wait to try this recipe with a gluten-free twist! Sounds deliciously refreshing and indulgent at once. And the pictures and stories to go along with the recipe are delightful!

  11. chero / Apr 4 2011 10:22 pm

    Hello! Thanks for the recipe! I’ve already made the cupcakes! I was wondering how the grapefruit curd is before mixing in the whipping cream. I was thinking of making the curd and filling the cupcakes with it. What do you think about that?



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