Chilli Chocolate Grapefruit Cake

Chilli Chocolate Grapefruit Cake

Grapefruit Chilli Chocolate

A whole month and a day ago, it was my sister in laws 21st Birthday. Why is her birthday cake being made a whole month and a day late I hear you ask? Because she has been in Saudi Arabia! jealous.
What a way to spend your 21st birthday! Her partner Saad’s family are from Saudi Arabia, and so this trip was both her first time overseas and her first time meeting Saad’s family. The photos she bought back with her were spectacular, as were the camel milk chocolates and the hand-carved camel teaspoon set that she gifted hubby and I! (Keep an eye out in future posts, those carved teaspoons will definitely be making regular appearances in shoots!) And so after her return, when we finally organised a time that the whole family could gather for her birthday dinner, I knew her birthday cake had to be just as epic and unique as her 21st abroad was. So, Chilli Chocolate Grapefruit Cake, obviously!

Grapefruit is one of my favourite citrus flavours, I always remember that scene in the Simpsons where Homer is supposed to be on a diet and so he cuts a grapefruit in half, rolls it in sugar, licks the sugar off and then throws the grapefruit in the bin before going for a second one 😂

And I get it! They can be bitter! But with a bit of sugar, they have the most divine flavour! So I made the cakes grapefruit, I mean, I packed so much grapefruit into these grapefruit cakes that even the pulp got blended up in there. But then inevitably it had a slightly bitter aftertaste, even with all the sugar in the batter! So I thought, chocolate, chocolate combats bitter perfectly. But the only cocoa powder I had in my arsenal was cayenne chilli cocoa powder, and so I went with it. I figured the cayenne wasn’t a really strong taste and I only wanted a tiny amount, so you probably wouldn’t even be able to detect the chilli… and so I shrugged my shoulders and went with it. Oh my god did the batter taste divine! Just 1tsp was all it needed. You could taste the chilli, but only a tiny bit, and just like that, no more bitter grapefruit, it was perfect!

I later hit up google seeking information as to what flavours paired well with grapefruit for the sake of my buttercream frosting.. and what do you know!

”A surprisingly pleasant marriage comes with chile peppers, both hot and mild”.

Fluked that one! so I rolled with it, and the buttercream because chilli chocolate too! And I am SOO IN LOVE WITH THIS COMBO! Seriously, you have to try it! I’ve made mine a little on the mild side because it’s a birthday cake and everyone has to enjoy it, but I’m dying to try one with a bit of a kick!

#1 When creaming butter, it helps to have your butter at room temperature, cut into small cubes, and adding the small amount of liquid (in this case, grapefruit juice) into the bowl with it before you hit it with the beaters will allow it break down and come together quicker and easier. But even still, this process should take around 10 minutes, so don’t rush it, and don’t stop beating the mixture until it’s light and fluffy.

#2 If you can’t find a ready made chilli chocolate powder to use for this recipe, (unfortunately the company I purchased mine from has since closed down, so I’m unsure how easy chilli chocolate powder will be to find) you can make it yourself, and this way you can control how much chilli you’d like too!
3tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder
pinch of chilli powder (to taste)

#3 Once your flour has been added to your mixing bowl, ensure you keep the beaters on a low speed and only mix the batter until just combined. Mixing flour activates the gluten within it, and so over mixing (which is much easier to do accidentally when using electric beaters) can make your cake very tough and dense.

#4 When dividing a batter between two separate cake tins it’s always advisable to use a set of scales to ensure you have the same amount of batter in each tin. This ensures that each cake has the exact same cooking time, and visually appealing, even layers in the finished product.

#5 It’s crucial that your cakes be completely cooled before you start applying your buttercream. If your grapefruit cakes are even a little warm, the buttercream will soften due to the heat and be squashed out from the between the layers and slide straight off the sides.

chilli chocolate, grapefruit cake, chilli chocolate grapefruit
Yield: 9

Chilli Chocolate Grapefruit Cake

prep time: 45 Mcook time: 25 Mtotal time: 70 M
I knew her birthday cake had to be just as epic and unique as her 21st abroad was. So, Chilli Chocolate Grapefruit Cake, obviously!


  • 1 ruby red grapefruit (zest and juice) 
  • 2 1/2 cups self-raising flour 
  • 1 cup caster sugar 
  • 4 eggs 
  • 200g unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 1tsp chilli/cayenne cocoa powder 
  • 250g unsalted butter (room temperature )
  • 3 cups icing sugar 
  • 4tsp  chilli/cayenne cocoa powder 
  • 2tbsp milk


How to cook Chilli Chocolate Grapefruit Cake

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius. 
  2. Grease and line the base of two 8 inch cake tins and set aside. 
  3. Using electric beaters on high speed, cream together grapefruit zest, 200g unsalted butter, 1tbsp grapefruit juice. and caster sugar until light and fluffy.  
  4. Turn the beaters down to a medium speed and add your eggs one at a time. Mix until well incorporated. 
  5. Turn your beaters down to low. Add remaining grapefruit juice and sift in your self-raising flour and 1tsp of chilli cocoa powder.  Mix until well incorporated. 
  6. Retrieve your pre-prepared cake tins and evenly divide your batter between the two.
  7. Spread and level the cake batter in both tins, and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center is removed clean. 
  8. Set cakes aside to cool completely. 
  9. Using electric beaters on a high speed, cream together 250g unsalted butter, 1 cup of icing sugar, 2tbsp milk and 4tsp chilli cocoa powder until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. 
  10. Retrieve your cake board or stand and place 1 tsp of buttercream in the center.(this will hold your cake in place and prevent it from slipping around on the stand/board) 
  11. Using a serrated knife cut the top of each of your cakes level so as there is no 'dome' effect which will make your cake difficult to stack neatly.  Set any cake cut-offs aside. 
  12. Place your first cake layer down on top of the small dot of buttercream and using an icing spatula, apply an even layer of buttercream atop it. 
  13. Place your second cake layer on top, ensuring that it is in line with the bottom tier and not leaning/overhanging anywhere.  Apply another layer of icing atop your second tier, and any remaining icing slather around the sides of your cakes. 
  14. Hold the edge of your icing spatula firmly up against the side of your cake and slowly turn it (the cake not the spatula) so as the spatula simultaneously pushes buttercream into any gaps, and scrapes away any excess. 
  15. Repeat icing and 'scraping' the sides of your cake until you're happy with the appearance. 
  16. Dust the top of your cake with a small amount of chilli cocoa powder. Then retrieve any cake offcuts and crumble them on top. 


EQUIPMENT electric beaters large mixing bowl medium mixing bowl icing spatula (or you can use the back of a knife) cake board or stand sieve grater 2 cake tins (8-inch diameter) parchment or baking paper
Created using The Recipes Generator
Carboni's Italian Kitchen

Carboni's Italian Kitchen

Lemon and Blueberry Mochi Donuts (Pon de Rings)

Lemon and Blueberry Mochi Donuts (Pon de Rings)