vanilla grapefruit cupcakes with grapefruit poppyseed buttercream.


i’m loving all the winter citruses lately.


pete and i just visited my grandpa in palm springs, where the lemon and grapefruit trees were exploding with huge amounts of citrus. they smell so amazing right off the’s the best. we love waking up there and having the most fresh and juicy grapefruit for breakfast.

i always smuggle back several lemons and grapefruits in my backpack and giggle as i watch the blobs pass by on the x-ray security machine.


these wHintery wHite cupcakes…

these cuppycakes are inspired by two of my favorite go-to food bloggers in the land, how sweet eats and a cozy kitchen. the mojito cupcakes are actually from jessica of how sweet eats’ cookbook, the pretty dish, but adrianna from a cozy kitchen blogged the recipe for jessica’s mojito cupcakes here.

after doing some funky riffing and experimenting with both the cake and frosting portion of this recipe - i decided i need to forever leave it to these two pros and stick to the scripts.

in an attempt to be all timely for valentine’s day, i experimented using juice from raspberries to make the cupcakes pink. it sort of worked, but they turned out to be even more dense than they already are, and more lavender purple than pink. so i scrapped that idea for this valentine’s purpose and left them white. i can stick that naturally-dyed raspberry juice idea in my back pocket for another day when i need a light purple cupcake - the flavor was actually surprisingly good and juicy, but heavy.


and then, much like my attempt at the end of last year to make a pumpkin cream cheese frosting, i found myself in curdled grainy frosting hell and had to throw my first attempt out - which makes me SO sad.

i thought using the whisk attachment on my kitchenaid would be smart in really whisking up the frosting to make it extra fluffy….. no. it’s not really smart. it was dumb, and a waste of food and i shall never make that mistake again.

the best and most fluffy frosting i’ve ever had was from a cozy kitchen, so i went exactly by her methods for my 2nd attempt at this frosting. i will forever leave all frosting wisdom up to her.

use the paddle attachment, people. paddle. no whisky whisk!

also, sifting the powdered sugar is a very key component. sift it, people!


and it worked! fluffy and thick buttercream, with just enough fresh grapefruit juice and zest to give it flavor, but not curdle the whole damn thing and make you want to cry.


these are super refreshing, and quite indulgent! they are made with cake flour which makes the cupcakes pretty dense and rich, like an angel food cake. and then there’s sugary buttercream on top…which explains itself in the indulgence department.


peter and i both think they turned out great. i love poppy seeds in things for that teeny tiny crunch factor. i wanted to see how it would work in the frosting instead of the cake part, and i quite like it up there!

if you don’t like grapefruit, but like the idea of a fresh citrus & vanilla cupcake, you could totally make these with lemon, orange (blood orange?!?), or lime - just don’t overdo it with too much juice in the cake or frosting, or you’ll be sawwwwryy (sogging, ew! curdling, ew!).

i dunno, i’ve always LOVED grapefruit. just plain, without sugar. but if you’re someone who only takes their grapefruit with sugar, then these cupcakes are for you!


Vanilla Grapefruit Cupcakes with Grapefruit Poppyseed Buttercream

Makes 12 Cupcakes

Total Time: 1 hour


For the cupcakes- (Recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats’ Mojito Cupcakes from The Pretty Dish)

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

  • 1/2 cup. unsalted butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup white sugar

  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg white (discard yolk)

  • 2 TB. vegetable oil

  • 1 TB fresh grapefruit zest

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

  • 1/2 cup milk

For the frosting- (Recipe adapted from A Cozy Kitchen's Brown Butter Frosting)

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 TB fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (no more than 2 TB)

  • 1 TB grapefruit zest, + a bit extra for garnish

  • pinch of fine sea salt

  • 1 TB poppy seeds

  • 2 TB heavy cream


To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

Combine the cake flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a small bowl and set aside.

In a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat the butter and white sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the whole egg and egg white, beating well after each addition. Add the oil, vanilla, grapefruit zest and grapefruit juice and beat well for 2 minutes. With the mixer on slow, pour in the milk and mix to combine. Finally, slowly add the bowl of other dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until well combined.

Fill the prepared cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Place the muffin pan on top of a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 17-20 minutes, until set in the center of the cupcakes. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment or electric hand mixer with regular flat whisk attachments (not the thin wire whisk attachments), cream the softened butter. Slowly add the sifted powdered sugar and beat at medium speed between additions until the combination is fluffy. Add the vanilla, grapefruit zest, and grapefruit juice (no more than 2 TB of grapefruit juice or frosting will begin to curdle or get grainy!) and mix well. Add the 2 TB of heavy cream and beat on medium/high speed for at least 3-5 minutes, until the frosting is super light and fluffy. Lastly, add the poppy seeds and mix to combine.

Use a cookie scoop or spoon to plop even scoops of frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread the frosting. Garnish with thin sections of fresh grapefruit and extra grapefruit zest, if desired.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Best enjoyed within 2 days!



german chocolate cupcakes.

some things i just have to eat at least once a year.

my mother has always requested a german chocolate cake on her birthday, so when april comes and goes and i haven't eaten a piece of german chocolate cake...a german choco cake alarm goes off in my cravings control center.

i would have made a full-blown cake, but since it's generally just peter & i consuming all these baked goods, i decided cupcakes were a better way to go!

and the yearly craving was satisfied. 

i made both the cupcakes & frosting using coconut sugar instead of white sugar. and coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. because there is already coconut in the frosting and because i wanted to!

i'm a fan of adding extra chopped chocolate to baked chocolate desserts like brownies or cupcakes because it adds an extra bit of melty chocolate goodness once they're fresh out of the oven.

the chocolate cupcake part is rich in chocolatey flavor, yet light & airy. which is good since you'll be plopping a thick & heavy frosting right on top of that.

by the wayyy, pecans are expensiiiiive. insane. nuts, if you will.  i recommend buying just the amount you need from the bulk section.

these turned out to be sooooo delicious and moist and rich and delightful! i think the cupcake version is perfecto for german chocolate.

german chocolate cupcakes-quinnsplace_15.jpg

thanks mom, for that german choco craving! right on schedule.

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

Total Time: 45 minutes


Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 2 oz. of a dark chocolate bar, chopped (I used Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate)

Coconut Pecan Frosting

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 TB. unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus a handful of extra for cupcake toppings
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the cupcakes. In a smaller bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients for the cupcakes, except the hot water.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Pour the boiling water into the mixture and stir. Lastly, fold in the chopped dark chocolate.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Fill the cups about 2/3 full with cupcake batter. Place the muffin tin on top of a baking sheet to prevent burnt bottoms.

Bake for 18 minutes, testing the center of the cupcakes with a toothpick to see if it comes clean.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting.  In a sauce pan, combine the coconut sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and beaten eggs on medium-high heat. Whisk continuously until it begins to bubble. Once bubbling and thickened, remove from heat and add the chopped pecans, shredded coconuts, vanilla & salt. Mix well and let cool completely.

Remove cupcakes from oven. Once slightly cooled, transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool all the way through. When both the cupcakes and frosting are completely cooled, frost the cupcakes using a piping bag, freezer bag with corner cut off, or just a spoon. Since this is a chunky frosting, you can use whichever method. I then use the back of the spoon to pack the frosting onto the cupcake. Spray the spoon with a little cooking spray if the frosting is sticking.

Top the cupcakes with a little pinch of sweetened coconut flakes and a pecan, if desired!


Chocolate Cupcake recipe slightly adapted from Molly Yeh!