Grain-free grapefruit olive oil pound cake


Grapefruit olive oil cake

Do you like your co-workers? If you are like me then you spend the majority of time with them (more than with your boyfriend, your cat, etc) and that can be wonderful or horrible, depending on the people chosen by fate (boss) to be included in your work family. Working in science can be even more challenging in this department because of the transient nature of our jobs. Typically, as a graduate student  you join a lab for 4-5 years and then move on. As a post-doc you join a new lab for 3-4 more years and then move on. And for many technicians, you join a lab prior to applying to med or grad school, work for 2 years and then move on. The main point here is that the group dynamic can change multiple times throughout the duration of your stay in any given lab. I’m not even factoring in here the immense competition that some labs may feel with multiple people working on very similar projects.

My lab however, is pretty special. We actually ALL get along really well and the inspiration for making this cake is because of friendships started at work. For the past few months, several people in the lab decided to pass around Deb Perelman’s, “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” and test out various recipes to make and share with everyone at lunch. Perelman hosts the amazing blog Smitten Kitchen, which publishes tasty recipes and the most beautiful food images.

This cookbook = perfect coffee table book for the foodie in your life.

This cookbook = the perfect coffee table book for the foodie in your life.

This past weekend was my turn to take a crack at the cookbook and I tried two recipes. The first, was her vinegar slaw with cabbage and dill, which turned out AMAZING. This salad was very easy to make and tasted very fresh and summery, making it a great side dish to serve with pulled pork or other fatty meat.  The second recipe is the inspiration for today’s post. Since most of what Deb cooks is definitely not grain- or sugar-free, I decided to use her grapefruit olive oil cake recipe as a starting point and try to recreate something that would be reminiscent of the cool flavor combo she invented.

As with any baking adventure, there will always be some tweaks that need to be made when altering a recipe. My cake fell in the middle a bit, which tends to happen when using only almond flour because it is a little heavier. Next time, I would like to try incorporating a bit of coconut flour, especially since the end product was super MOIST and could have maybe used just a touch more sturdiness.

The best part of baking is sharing with friends. Trying out this recipe gives back two-fold since I was able to share the end product with the lovely people at work and now I’m sharing my version with all of you.

Enjoy and thanks to Deb Perelman for sharing her wonderful gifts!



  • coconut oil or cooking spray for greasing pans
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (I think coconut oil would be amazing here, but wanted to stick with original flavor profile initially)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt


  • 1/3 cup grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 tbsp honey


  • coconut manna


  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Zest grapefruit and into a mixing bowl mix the zest and coconut sugar, release the oils from the zest by rubbing it together with the sugar
Bruised grapefruit zest and sugar

“Bruised” grapefruit zest and sugar

  • To the bowl, add olive oil and eggs one at a time, blending until smooth
  • Into two small separate bowl add the dry ingredients to one and the yogurt, grapefruit juice and ripe bananas (mash well to incorporate everything) into the other
  • Alternatively add the wet and dry ingredient to the mixer and stir until well combined
  • Pour into greased pans
This recipe made 1 small loaf and 4 mini loafs

This recipe made 1 small loaf and 4 mini loafs

  • Cook for ~45 min- 1h, the small loaves took probably 30  min
  • Keep an eye out for when the loaves start to brown and make sure an inserted knife comes out clean to ensure done-ness
  • Allow cake to cook for 10 min
  • In the mean time, make syrup by heating grapefruit juice with honey (I actually just used the microwave)
  • After 10 minutes, poke holes into the top of the loaves and pour some of the syrup onto the cake (I probably only used like 1/2 of the syrup mixture and I think I probably could have used even less since the cake ended up almost too wet)
  • Cool cake completely
  • Melt coconut manna and drizzle on top for an extra touch
  • Enjoy with friends!

4 thoughts on “Grain-free grapefruit olive oil pound cake

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