Poppy Seed Grapefruit Torte

Photo: Dana Gallagher

Fresh flavors and an appealing look enliven this dessert. Dense Campari-infused cake is punctuated with golden raisins and jewel-like grapefruit segments; ribbons of white chocolate mousse topped with a confetti of poppy seeds add a celebratory note.


  • Vegetable oil, cooking spray

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 ½ cups sifted confectioners' sugar

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated Ruby Red grapefruit zest plus segments from 2 to 3 Ruby Red grapefruits (wider segments halved lengthwise).

  • 1 tablespoon Campari

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 6 eggs, room temperature, separated

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • cups poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling

  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped golden raisins

  • White Chocolate Mousse for Grapefruit Torte


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, and coat parchment. Set aside.

  2. Put butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and the zest into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and smooth, about 3 minutes. Mix in Campari and salt. Mix in egg yolks, 1 at a time, until creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.

  3. Stir flour, poppy seeds, and raisins in a medium bowl. Stir into butter mixture.

  4. Put egg whites and remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar into the clean bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until stiff but not dry peaks form. Fold into flour mixture. Spread batter into prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula.

  5. Bake until cake is deep golden brown and is pulling away from sides of pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan; invert to remove bottom of pan and parchment. Reinvert onto rack; let cool completely (cake will sink slightly in the middle).

  6. Using a long, sharp knife, cut cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Place bottom layer on a serving platter. Top with half of the zest-flavored mousse. Arrange half of the grapefruit segments in a single layer on top. Top with another cake layer, and repeat layering with remaining zest-flavored mousse and grapefruit segments. Top with final cake layer. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

  7. Spread a thin coat of plain mousse on top and sides of cake. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Spread another coat of mousse on sides until smooth and opaque. Transfer remaining mousse to a pastry bag fitted with a large petal tip (such as Ateco #180); pipe waves in concentric circles on top of cake. If mousse becomes too soft, refrigerate about 30 minutes, then stir until smooth. Sprinkle cake top with poppy seeds. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 2 hours.

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