Grapefruit Cake (Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant)

Grapefruit Cake (hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant)

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Vickie Parks


In the golden age of Hollywood, the iconic Brown Derby (Vine Street) was the "in" place for movie stars. Some celebrities even made some of its recipes famous, like the legendary Grapefruit Cake. How it came to be...gossip columnist Louella Parsons asked owner Robert Cobb to offer more grapefruit recipes since it was known to be "slimming". So he created many new dishes, including this cake. The je ne sais quoi...the glaze! When the Brown Derby closed, Disney acquired Derby's original recipes and now serves them at Disney's California theme park restaurants. And this cake remains a favorite.


☆☆☆☆☆ 0 votes

8 to 10 (prep includes chilling & cooling time)
1 Hr 15 Min
40 Min


  • ·
    baker's spray (or any nonstick spray followed with a light dusting of flour)

  • 1 1/2 cups
    cake flour
  • 3/4 cup
    white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup
    vegetable oil
  • 3 large
    eggs, separated
  • 3 Tbsp
    grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 tsp
    freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp
    cream of tartar

  • 2 (6-oz) pkg
    cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 tsp
    lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp
    freshly grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup
    confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6-8 drops
    yellow food coloring
  • 1 (1-lb) can(s)
    grapefruit sections, well drained

  • 1 cup
    pink grapefruit juice, thoroughly chilled
  • 2 Tbsp
    confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp

How to Make Grapefruit Cake (Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant)


  1. Grapefruit Glaze (prepared first, as it needs to chilll):
    Mix together the chilled grapefruit juice, confectioners' sugar and cornstarch until cornstarch is fully dissolved. Pour mixture into a small saucepan, and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it begins to heat, it will become transparent and thicken to a syrupy glaze. Remove from heat source, cover and store in refrigerator until thoroughly cooled.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of a 9x2-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, then very lightly spray parchment with nonstick baking spray; set pan aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center, and add water, oil, egg yolks, grapefruit juice and lemon zest. Beat until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff but not dry. Gradually pour egg yolk mixture over the whites, gently folding with a rubber spatula just until blended. Don't stir the mixture, just fold gently.
  5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip. Invert cake onto a cake rack to cool completely. Run a butter knife around edge of cake, and carefully remove cake to a platter to cool completely. With a serrated knife, gently slice cake in half to yield two layers.
    Beat softened cream cheese until fluffy. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Gently stir in sugar, then beat until well blended. Stir in food coloring. Crush several grapefruit sections to measure 2 teaspoons, and blend the crushed grapefruit into the frosting mixture.
  7. Spread the frosting over the surface of the bottom cake layer. Top with several grapefruit sections. Place the other cake layer on top of the frosted bottom layer. Using the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.
  8. To serve - Remove Grapefruit Glaze from refrigerator, and stir it several times for ease in pour. Pour the glaze over the frosted cake. Garnish with remaining grapefruit sections, if desired, and then cut the cake into 8 to 10 slices.
  9. NOTE:
    Disney chefs garnish individual slices of Grapefruit Cake with an ultra-thin slice of grapefruit that has been heated in a moderate oven until hydrated and lightly scorched. It's a nice modern touch, but it wasn't an original garnish when this dessert was originally created and served at the Hollywood Brown Derby.

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About Grapefruit Cake (Hollywood Brown Derby Restaurant)

Course/Dish: Cakes
Main Ingredient: Flour
Regional Style: American
Other Tag: Heirloom
Hashtag: #disney

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