I love pomegranate seeds. They're like little bursts of tart-crunch goodness in your mouth. They appear just before Thanksgiving and then disappear some time around Valentines Day. They are equally at home in sweet applications as they are in savory. Don't believe me? Try sprinkling some on a nice spring mix with some candied nuts and perhaps a goat cheese and some apple slices with a pomegranate vinaigrette, and you'll know I'm right.
Pomegranate-Chocolate Cupcake (makes 32 cupcakes)
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
½ cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
3 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I substituted 1 Tbsp of pomegranate liqueur and 2 tsp of vanilla)
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 32 paper liners.
2. Whisk the pomegranate juice and pomegranate molasses into the cocoa powder until dissolved.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4. Melt the butter with sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring to combine. Remove from heat, and pour into a mixing bowl.
5. With an electric mixer or stand mixer/bowl on medium-low speed, beat until the mixture is cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition to make sure they are well incorporated.
7. Add the vanilla and the cocoa/pomegranate mixture, and beat until combined. Reduce speed to low.
8. Add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, and beating until just combined after each.
9. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.
10. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let the pans cool 15 minutes, then turn out the cupcakes onto wire cooling racks and let cool completely. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
Pomegranate Buttercream (makes enough to frost 32 cupcakes)
(go here for the basic Swiss buttercream recipe, with excellent step by step photos and instructions)
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 pound soft unsalted butter
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses, or more to taste
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
2-4 drops red/pink gel food coloring, to reach desired pink color
pomegranate seeds, for topping the frosted cupcakes
Follow the above link for instructions on how to make a Swiss buttercream, and then to make it Pomegranate flavored:
Add the pomegranate molasses, pomegranate juice, and then the drops of food coloring to reach desired tartness and color.
Using your favorite piping tip, frost each cupcake, then sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds on top of each cupcake.