Pink Grapefruit & Basil Cupcakes


So I have a friend named Chloe.

She’s pretty awesome.

And she and her mom have this crazy cool lifestyle blog called PopCosmo.

Chloe texted me a few weeks ago asking if I could make a pink cupcake or cake that would look good with these really amazing cake toppers she was making.

I, of course, said YES! And we ended up creating this gorgeous basil infused pink grapefruit cupcake with a vegan buttercream frosting and candied grapefruit on top.

Booshk. (Vivian’s official word for anything that is over-the-top spectacular!)

Chloe posted how to make the toppers on her blog, and I have the cupcake recipe.

So please say hello to a party in a cupcake…


As you can probably tell, I’m coming back to the real world after my serious health epidemic of the last two weeks. I still have a cough that makes me sound like an old man, but besides that, I’m feelin’ good.

I’m ready to hit the town, take me out to the ball game if you know what I mean.

And I celebrated my newfound freedom by going to see Divergent last night. Um can you say, awesome. GO SEE IT!

Shailene Woodley (the actress who plays Tris) wins at life: herbologist/live-off-the-land/every-girl-wants-to-be-her. Major girl crush ova here. And I can say that because I’ve been watching her since the Secret Life days.

I am a well established Shai fan. I am not creepy at all.


But these cupcakes I am creeping on… to die for. I love them. They have a soft hint of basil in the cake from the simple syrup and a delightful punch of grapefruit from the, um, pink grapefruits.

They are like a little cloud of sweet and savory goodness wrapped up into one small cupcake. And don’t they look purdy?

Chloe did a great job on the toppers. They make me want to make some for my next get together with friends, or just because.

They are literally the cutest things. And glitter and sparkles. What could be better?


If you’re a visual learner, like my mom and sister, then above is what the grapefruit skin should look like prior to you cutting them into pieces and candying them. DO NOT LEAVE ANY WHITE ON THE SKIN! Or you will have a bitter, nasty taste in your mouth for hours after the candied grapefruit skin is consumed.

But if you get it right, you will have the most delicious little piece of candy you’ve ever eaten. At least in my opinion.

So good!


Let’s celebrate the official second day of spring with these pink grapefruit & basil cupcakes…

I hope you love them as much as we do!

Pink Grapefruit & Basil Cupcakes
Serves: 24
  • 1 box Duncan Hines angel food cake mix (or any other mix if you’re gluten-free, egg-free)
  • 2 pink grapefruits
  • 9 ¾ cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • 2 cups corn syrup
  • ½ cup vegan shortening
  • ½ cup earth balance butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Blend the cake mix and 1¼ cups water in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Pour into ungreased muffin trays and bake for 15-20 minutes on the lowest rack, until the top of the cake just barely starts turning brown.
  4. Remove from oven, flip the cupcakes upside down on a glass plate, and let cool.
For the simple syrup:
  1. While cupcakes are baking, place 1 cup sugar, ½ cup water, and basil into a small pot and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add 1 cup grapefruit juice (1 grapefruit) and let simmer about five to ten more minutes, until the mixture has thickened slightly, then remove from heat and let cool.
For the candied grapefruit:
  1. Cut a quarter of the skin off of the grapefruit that you just juiced, and peel the white part of the skin off using a knife until there is no white left at all. Cut the skin into thin slices.
  2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a small pot, place the grapefruit skin into the pot, and let boil for one minute. Remove the grapefruit and drain the water until the pot is empty.
  3. Bring another 4 cups of water to a boil in the same pot, place the grapefruit skin in the pot, and boil for another minute. Remove the grapefruit and drain the water until the pot is empty.
  4. Bring 2 cups of corn syrup to a boil in the same pot, add the grapefruit, and let boil for 4 minutes. Remove the grapefruit from the syrup and coat each piece with 1 cup of sugar on a small plate.
  5. Let cool.
For the frosting:
  1. Cream the shortening and butter together in a large bowl until well combined.
  2. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until well combined.
  3. Mix in the vanilla and ¼ cup grapefruit juice from the other grapefruit.
Put it all together:
  1. When the cupcakes are cooled, make a large hole in the center and fill with 2 teaspoons of the simple syrup. It might take a while to absorb.
  2. Then, using a piping bag and a large round tip, frost the cupcakes with the vegan buttercream.
  3. Top with slices of the last half of the grapefruit, candied grapefruit skin, and homemade gold toppers.


And Vivian loved them as well!



  1. says

    Ah!!! Love it!! And I’m totally jealous that you’ve already seen Divergent, I can’t wait to see it ;)
    I also can’t wait to make these incredible cupcakes!
    That picture of Vivian is too darn cute.

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