Jun 24

The Hollywood Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake

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It’s been a while since I have had The Hollywood Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake at Disney’s Hollywood Studios but it ran through my mind today when I was rummaging through my kitchen for something sweet.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t make this cake.  I don’t bake – it’s not my thing.  I cook…and I cook rather well but baking just seems like such a chore  Okay, I will occasionally make a batch of brownies or chocolate chip cookies but a full blown cake – no thanks.  They never turn out right for me.  Maybe it has a little something to do with the fact that I am too impatient to wait for them to cool completely before I spread the sugary goodness on top.

Truth be told, I am an icing girl.  The sweeter the better.  And cream cheese icing just happens to be my weakness.  I was thinking of something with cream cheese icing would be perfect today and then my mind wandered to cupcakes.  I turned around and there it was, a lonely pink grapefruit in my fruit bowl (boo…not exciting), which triggered my memory of this wonderful signature cake at The Hollywood Brown Derby.

If you haven’t had it yet, I highly recommend it.  It is delicious – so delicious that it is a huge fan favorite and arguably one of the best cakes on the Walt Disney World property.  If you have had it and are craving it when you are not at Walt Disney World, here is the recipe to recreate it at home.

I wonder if I share it with my baking husband if he will make it for me….hmmm.

Here’s what you will need:


  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grapefruit zest
  • 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 eggs whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 (1-pound) can grapefruit sections, well drained OR fresh grapefruits, peeled, sectioned, and drained, reserving 2 tablespoons of juice.

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting**:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 6 to 8 drops yellow food coloring

**The Hollywood Studios version calls for lemon zest and juice in their frosting but the original recipe from Los Angeles calls for grapefruit zest and juice.


  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with waxed paper and lightly grease the wax paper or spray with nonstick oil.
  2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center for dry ingredients. Add water, oil, zest, grapefruit juice and egg yolks. Beat until smooth. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar separately until whites are stiff but not dry. Gradually fold egg whites into flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just blended. Do not stir the mixture.
  3. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until cake springs back when gently touched with a finger. Invert pan on cake rack to cool. Run spatula around edge of cake. Carefully remove from pan. With a serrated knife, gently cut layer in half.

Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Let cream cheese soften to room temperature. Beat cheese until fluffy. Add grapefruit juice and zest. Gradually blend in sugar. Mix until well blended. Add food coloring. Crush several grapefruit sections to measure 2 teaspoons.
  2. Blend into frosting. Spread frosting on bottom half of cake. Top with several grapefruit sections. Cover with second layer of cake. Frost top and sides. Garnish with remaining grapefruit sections.



Holly Wiencek
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Holly Wiencek

Holly Wiencek is the author of Capturing the Magic: A Photographic Journey Through the Walt Disney World Parks. A Florida native and lifelong Disney enthusiast, Holly has been visiting Disney Parks since she was a toddler. With countless visits to both Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort, she has spent a lifetime exploring and learning about the history and legacy Walt Disney left behind and the details created by Disney Imagineering. She spends her spare time making Disney magic in her everyday life and enjoys sharing that magic with her husband and her daughter, Abby.

Visit www.capturing-the-magic.com for a preview of the stunning coffee table book, Capturing the Magic and purchase your copy today.
Holly Wiencek
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