The Caker's pink grapefruit birthday cake recipe, as made for Miley Cyrus


One day last year I got a call at 2pm asking if I could make a birthday cake for none other than Miley Cyrus - for that evening. The catch was it had to be a gluten- and nut-free olive oil cake.

If you’re familiar with my recipes you know that they almost always contain almond flour especially if they are gluten-free. In a fluster, I remembered I had once adapted a New York Times’ recipe that would work.

It had been a while since I’d baked my version but it turned out great. So I’m sharing it here for all of you who have requested nut-free recipes.

In regards to the flour in this recipe, if you’re making it gluten-free you can use a packaged blend. I love the one by Healtheries, but make sure it’s the non-self raising one, or you can use plain all-purpose flour in the same quantity if you don’t want it to be GF.

For the pink grapefruit curd:

Zest of 1 pink grapefruit

Juice of 2 pink grapefruit

3 free-range egg yolks

50g caster sugar

For the candied pink grapefruit slices:

220g caster sugar

1 cup / 250ml water

1 pink grapefruit

For the cake:

300g caster sugar

3 free-range eggs

240ml extra-virgin olive oil

300ml whole milk

Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

250g gluten-free flour

1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

Generous pinch sea salt

For the mascarpone whip:

200g mascarpone

200ml heavy whipping cream (cold)

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the decorations:

½ cup grapefruit curd

6 candied pink grapefruit slices

Edible flowers/petals and/or sprigs of fresh herbs (optional)

  1. Make the curd. In a saucepan, combine the zest and juice along with the sugar and egg yolks. Over medium heat, whisk continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat down a little and keep whisking until the mixture starts to boil. Continue to cook, now whisking occasionally until the curd has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, this should take about 15 minutes. Strain using a fine mesh sieve and place in the fridge to set.
  2. Make the candied pink grapefruit slices. Using a mandolin, carefully slice the grapefruit into very thin rounds and then cut the rounds in half to achieve semi-circles. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium heat and add the grapefruit slices in a single layer. Simmer for 15 minutes, gently flipping once or twice during the cooking process. Transfer the slices to a sheet of baking paper and allow to cool.
  3. Now make the cake. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line 2 x 22cm cake tin with baking paper.In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the sugar and eggs until very thick and fluffy, for about 5 minutes. With the mixer still going, slowly drizzle in the oil and beat until incorporated, for another 2 minutes. Finally, slowly add the milk, zest and juice.
  4. By hand, gradually fold in the flour, followed by baking powder, soda and salt. Mix until just incorporated, being careful not to knock too much air out.
  5. Evenly divide the batter between the 2 tins and spread out to the sides.Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden in colour, springy to the touch and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cakes to sit for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Make the mascarpone whip. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, or using a hand held electric whisk, whip all the ingredients together until thick, smooth and soft peaks have formed. Be careful not to over whip it though!
  8. Once the cakes are completely cooled, spread some mascarpone onto one layer and place the second layer on top. Neatly ice the top of the cake and then decorate with a pool of the curd, pink grapefruit slices and edible flowers/herbs if using.
  9. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.