Vanilla Cardamom Grapefruit Cupcakes

Kimmy has a grapefruit tree at her beach house in Oceanside. She was recently down there, and brought back a bunch of grapefruits . There are two kinds of grapefruits, pink grapefruits and white grapefruits. The pink variety are much more popular and common at most grocery stores, while the white tend to grow wild in backyard trees. While pink grapefruits are more sweet in flavor, the white are more tart.

I don’t enjoy eating the white grapefruits plain, like I do the pink grapefruits. So, I decided I would bake something with them instead. Because they are so tart, I made a simple grapefruit syrup to sweeten the flavor. A simple syrup is made just using cane sugar and water. I then added grapefruit juice from one large grapefruit, and I reduced it down for a stronger flavor. Then, I used this syrup in the frosting. You could also use this grapefruit syrup to make cocktails or sparkling water!

vanilla cardamom grapefruit cupcake recipe

I tinted the frosting pink, just the slightest with a natural food dye. And, I added grapefruit zest on top which makes these pastel cupcakes the perfect recipe for Easter as well. Get the recipe below.

Why Organic

Why use organic ingredients in this recipe? You all know I’m a huge organic advocate, and I bet you may be thinking sometimes, Why would I even bother to use organic ingredients in something that is so sweet and indulgent? But, that is the exact reason why you should use organic ingredients! Sweet things need to have flavor in order to be good, otherwise they are just sweet and they don’t taste like much else. Organic ingredients are more pure than conventional ones, therefore they actually have more flavor than the non organic options. Say it with me, organic means more flavor! And not just more flavor but a more true and pure flavor. And organic ingredients are much healthier for you to eat in general as they do not contain GMOs or anything artificial. Plus, you are being environmentally friendly when you choose organic ingredients!

So, I highly recommend that you buy the best organic ingredients for this recipe! You can also shop my Amazon Storefront for all my favorite organic ingredients here. Tip – hover over each ingredient to see the name. And if you want to learn more about organic foods and the difference, read my post here on Food Labels and What They Mean.

vanilla cardamom grapefruit cupcake recipe
vanilla cardamom grapefruit cupcake recipe

Vanilla Cardamom Grapefruit Cupcakes

Recipe by MimiDifficulty: Intermediate



The cupcakes are lightly sweetened with cardamom, vanilla, and sour cream. The grapefruit syrup is used to create a delightful frosting that pairs perfectly with the cupcake!


  • Batter
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) organic salted butter, softened

  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) organic cane sugar

  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

  • 2 organic large eggs, room temperature

  • 1/2 cup organic milk, room temperature

  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) organic sour cream, room temperature

  • 170 grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) cake flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean

  • Grapefruit Syrup
  • 1 large grapefruit

  • 113 grams (1/2 cup) organic cane sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • Frosting
  • 454 grams (3 cups plus 3 tablespoons) organic powdered sugar, sifted

  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) organic salted butter, softened

  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) organic cream cheese

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons grapefruit syrup

  • a pinch of ColorKitchen Pink Dye

  • Topping
  • Grapefruit zest


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two cupcake pans with liners.
  • To make the batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, cane sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix on low until there are no butter chunks. Add the eggs, milk, and sour cream and mix on low until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • In a separate bowl, add the cake flour, baking power, sea salt, cardamom, and vanilla bean and whisk together. With the mixer on low, slowly add into the butter mixture until fully incorporated and you have a smooth cake batter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Fill cupcake liners three-quarters full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pans before removing.
  • To make the syrup: Juice the grapefruit, save the rind for later for zesting. Add the grapefruit juice, cane sugar, and water to a medium saucepan. Put over medium heat and allow the sugar to dissolve. Stir occasionally, and allow the mixture to reduce, until it’s reduced by at least half and the syrup looks thick. Remove from heat.
  • To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, grapefruit syrup, and pink dye. Mix on low until combined, then speed mixer up to high for 1 minute or until light and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag with decorating tip #808.
  • Frost each cupcake and top with grapefruit zest.
  • Store in a cake dome or in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


  • Gluten Free – Replace the cake flour with 170 grams (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) organic gluten free flour blend.
  • High Altitude – Bake at 350°F for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Did you make this recipe? 
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Make sure to check out my Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake recipe, which I’m sure you’ll love too! And, share it with someone who you think may also like it!

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