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Grapefruit Mini Cakes with Hibiscus Frosting

By Chef Megan Joy / February 17, 2012


I have a grand baking idea for this mini cake recipe in the future. But we’ll touch on that later.

Right now, the focus is on how adorable and fresh these grapefruit mini cakes are, adorned in a pastel hibiscus frosting. After working at a seasonal cuisine restaurant for almost two years, I am quite keen to what’s in season and what’s good right now.

As we approach March, there are several varieties of magnificent citrus fruits available in their peak. Grapefruit is one of them. I don’t make cupcakes very often, but I had a little party yesterday and I wanted to make something bright and fun.

The cake batter is flecked with shreds of grapefruit zest, infused with some vanilla bean seeds, and moistened with some freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice and cream.

Portioned into little bouchon (“corks”) molds, they bake up pale and springy, the perfect base for a bright and creamy frosting. Hibiscus flowers are used most commonly to make teas and other beverages. When infused into a liquid, they have a tart, puckery flavor similar to a cranberry.

The freshly brewed hibiscus tea was drizzled into a basic cream cheese frosting, creating a beautiful compliment to the delicate citrus cake.

High Altitude How To Recipe:

Grapefruit Mini Cakes (adapted from Taste of Home)

  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 extra-large egg
  • zest of one grapefruit
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup half and half

How to make the cake: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Follow with the grapefruit zest and vanilla bean seeds. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the dry mixture to the batter and stir in until just incorporated. Drizzle in the grapefruit juice and follow with the remaining flour. Beat until just mixed. Add the half and half on low speed and stop when the batter is smooth. Do not overmix.

Portion the batter into greased bouchon molds, or mini cupcake pans and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until the mini cake spring back lightly when touched and are beginning to turn golden brown along the edge. Let cool for a few minutes before removing them from their pans. Cool completely before frosting.


Hibiscus Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt

How to make the frosting: In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the dried hibiscus flowers and steep for 10 minutes, then strain out the hibiscus. Take care not to get the hibiscus-infused water on your clothes, because it will stain! Whip the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in 3 cups of the powdered sugar and the pinch of salt. Drizzle in the hibiscus tea. Add more powdered sugar if necessary, to achieve a consistency for spreading or piping.




About the author

Chef Megan Joy

mike - February 18, 2012

I would love to try this, but where would one get hibiscus flowers?

Chef Megan Joy - February 18, 2012

Hi Mike, you can buy hibiscus flowers at the Natural Grocer’s store in Silverthorne for a pretty cheap price. Otherwise check the local stores for hibiscus tea bags.

Michelle at Hummingbird on High - March 14, 2012

Oooh, these look so pretty and delicious! Will try it this weekend, I just bought a bag of hibiscus flowers from one of Denver’s many Asian supermarkets.

Michelle at Hummingbird on High - March 18, 2012

I made these yesterday! They turned out so yummy! http://hummingbirdhigh.blogspot.com/2012/03/hummingbird-bakery-lemon-cupcakes-with.html

Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

Ken - August 20, 2013

Mike: You can find dried hibiscus flowers (sometimes called Jamaica, pronounced huh-MIKE-uh) in Mexican grocery stores or the Mexican sections of a lot of grocery stores. I’ve even seen them in the Mexican section of Wal-Mart’s grocery department. They come in cellophane bags and can be found in the area where they sell dried chilis and so forth. They’re cheap, too, about $1.80 a bag.

Amanda - May 19, 2014

you have renewed my passion to bake. I used to be a sticky chef, until I met altitude. Thank you so much

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