Grapefruit and poppy seed cake

Grapefruit bread with poppy seeds. Photography: Photography by Harry Weir

  • Serves: 8
  • Cooking time: 40 mins
  • Dish: dessert
  • Type of cuisine: Irish


  • For the bread :
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 180g caster sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 large pink or red grapefruit
  • 125g self-rising flour
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • For the drizzle:
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grapefruit juice


1 Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or 180 degrees if using a convection oven. Grease a 23×10 cm cake tin with a little butter or oil and line with parchment paper.

2 Put the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat for a minute or two, or until just melted. Otherwise, melt it in the microwave. Let cool slightly.

3 Separate the eggs into two bowls, making sure to put the egg whites in a large, perfectly clean bowl. Add half the sugar (90 g) to the egg yolks and whisk for about three to five minutes until the mixture whitens and thickens slightly. Put aside.

4 Whisk the egg whites until frothy (use a stand mixer or electric mixer if desired), and gradually add the remaining sugar (90g), one tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition.

5 When all the sugar has been added, continue beating until the egg whites have soft peaks. Put aside.

6 Pour the cooled melted butter into the egg yolks and sugar and whisk well to combine. Add the grated zest and juice of the grapefruit, then gently fold in the egg whites, one third at a time, taking care not to beat the air.

7 When you no longer see any lumps of egg white remaining, sift the flour and add the poppy seeds, then gently fold the mixture in until just combined.

8 Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top. Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until well puffed and golden. There will be a few cracks in the cake and it will run a little when cooled.

9 Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes in pan before removing from pan and placing on wire rack to cool completely.

ten For the topping, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the grapefruit juice, starting with one tablespoon and whisk well, adding a little more juice if needed, until you have the perfect topping consistency. Pour the fillet over the cooled cake and serve.

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