A Wonderful Thank You

I've been hassling the heck out of the staff at my school.

For nearly two months, there was a weekly Monday morning email that I'd write to my staff saying something to the effect of "Blah blah blah Project Food Blog blah blah visit my post blah blah vote please!" And week after week, they, like so many of you, clicked the little red heart on top of my entry on FoodBuzz. Week after week, I was greeted with a little trophy by my name on Friday afternoon telling me that I'd moved on to the next round.

That is, until last week. After my video post, it was decided by the FoodBuzz powers that be that I would not be moving on to round 8. Weeks of hard work, cooking, sweating, swearing, and enormous grocery bills... making it to round 7 is a HUGE accomplishment, but I can't help being a little disappointed.

As a thank you for putting up with my "vote for me" emails, posts, tweets, and Facebook messages, I created something beautiful.

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In a surprising shipment a couple weeks ago, I received two cases of POM Wonderful pomegranates as well as other swag with which to host a POM Party. Due to extenuating circumstances, I couldn't host the party... but I still wanted to use the Wonderful pomegranates to create something decadent and delicious for my coworkers (well, the first 40 that I see!) and a beautiful recipe for you all as a THANK YOU.

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First came the pomegranate chocolate cake, adapted from this Joy of Baking recipe which I doubled.

POM Wonderful Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling hot water
  • 1/2 cup POM Wonderful juice
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Cream the butter and sugar together until it's light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the hot water, POM juice, and cocoa powder, and whisk until smooth. Bring to room temperature. Add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and vanilla to the sugar and butter and mix until combined. When the cocoa and POM mixture is cool, add it to the batter and mix well. The batter will be light brown and fairly thin as far as cake batter is concerned.

Line 36 cupcake tins with liners (I used the adorable ones from Sutton Gourmet) and bake at 375* for 17-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

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A special frosting was in order for these beauties... My favorite frosting ever is a French buttercream which is extremely rich, extremely smooth, and perfect if you ask me. I was perplexed as to how to make a POM-flavored buttercream without diluting the texture too much, and after many questions and answers on twitter, my trusty pastry helpers came to the rescue.

Pomegranate French Buttercream Frosting

Easily frosts 50 cupcakes or 1 VERY large cake

Ingredients

  • 16 oz bottle POM Wonderful juice
  • 12 oz. white sugar
  • 3 oz. water
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 4 sticks butter, cubed

Special equipment

  • candy thermometer
  • mixer fitted with a wire whip

Directions

Heat the bottle of pomegranate juice over low heat until it comes to a simmer. Cook slowly until it reduces by about 3/4 and creates a thick syrup. Take off the heat and set aside. Put the egg yolks in your mixer and whip until light yellow and thickened. Meanwhile, heat the water and sugar in a small pot until it comes to a boil. Put your thermometer in the mixture and cook until it registers 240*. When it hits 240*, turn the mixer on a medium speed and slowly drizzle the sugar into the egg yolks. when all the sugar has been added, turn the mixer all the way up to the highest speed and whip until the bowl is cool, about 20 minutes. Then, slowly add in the cubes of butter. When all the butter has been added, drizzle in the POM reduction. Add a few drops of red food color if desired.

I frosted the cupcakes, then decorated them with some fresh POM arils (the technical term for the pomegranate seeds).

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So there you have it... my Wonderful thank you. You really should make these soon before Pomegranates are out of season. And because they're delicious. So thank you all for your support through Project Food Blog...and now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.


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P.S. The Sutton Gourmet cupcake liners were purchased with my own money, and are truly fantastic! Notice that they have adorable prints even after having a chocolate cupcake baked in it. The POM Wonderful company sent me the pomegranates and coupons for free juice. I'm not being compensated for my opinions or recipe.




This entry was posted in Baking, dessert, vegetarian and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to A Wonderful Thank You

  1. Great recipe, Mara! I love the combo of chocolate and pomegranate…last year I made a vegan chocolate truffled pomegranate brownie….mmm, this is making me crave those flavors all over again! So proud of you for getting through 7 rounds of PFB, you really did an outstanding job!
    Lindsey @ SoundEats´s last blog post ..Recipe Sharing- Part II

  2. Leah @ L4L says:

    Gawd I wish I could bake. But I suck.

    I was major sadz when I saw you didn’t make it. You were the only one of my favs that didn’t continue on. Don’t worry, you’ll always be a winner in my book! (And I feel ya on the enormous grocery bill! I only made it 3 rounds and was about ready to give up for my checkbook’s sake!)
    Leah @ L4L´s last blog post ..Dining Out- Taprock Northwest Grill

  3. um, i am DROOLING! please send cupcakes STAT 🙂

  4. Mmm these look beyond scrumptious! Sorry you didn’t make it to the next round but you should be SO proud of yourself for how far you did go!
    Natalia – a side of simple´s last blog post ..ten random confessions

  5. Those cupcakes are absolutely gorgeous, Mara. I really need to come teach with you. The cupcakes alone are making me want to move!

    The color of the pom juice is so pretty.

    I am bummed for you as well regarding Project Food Blog. I am slightly in shock. But I know you’ll pull it off next year!
    Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat)´s last blog post ..Happy Birthday to Andy!

  6. Biz says:

    I was so happy to see you make it so far in the competition – great meeting up with you yesterday – we need to get together more often!
    Biz´s last blog post ..Blogger Lunch!

  7. That’s so awesome that you made it that far! I voted for you every time! 🙂
    Melissa (MelissaLikesToEat)´s last blog post ..American Music Awards Recap

  8. Roz says:

    Hi Mara, I’m a frequent reader and an infrequent commenter….but HAD to comment on this post. DAMN, these look amazing!!! I’ll likely make them over the holidays. LOVE your blog by the way!!! Thanks!!!
    Roz´s last blog post ..Sunday at Home

  9. Ericka says:

    These look fantastic! Doesn’t adding boiling water make chocolate cake and cupcakes unbelievably moist and delicious?

  10. sippitysup says:

    These pom cakes look fantastic. But more importantly I want to say you’ll be missed at #PFB2010, but I am so glad you competed and that I got to know your blog better and then actually meet you at the festival. That’s the real prize anyway. Don’t groan… I meant every word of it! GREG

  11. Marianne says:

    Let’s say you were lazy and had pomegranate molasses kicking around – do you think you could just use that instead of making your own syrup?
    Marianne´s last blog post ..This Bread Is Pretty Killer

  12. Liz @ Blog is the New Black says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t advance, but this recipe looks AWESOME!

  13. Kellie says:

    Mara, those look so GOOD!! Can’t wait to try this recipe!
    Did you receive “yours” yet??
    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving – can’t wait to see what you create!
    ~Kellie

  14. Nicole, RD says:

    Round 7 is soooo impressive! Congrats!!!! I can understand the disappointment, of course…but you should be very proud! And those POM cupcakes look phenom!!
    Nicole, RD´s last blog post ..Buckeyes

  15. Christina says:

    These are really so pretty and special Mara!
    Christina´s last blog post ..Hickory Farms

  16. Lauren says:

    This is nonsense!!!! BIG mistake! Foodbuzz just lost out on the next star! Don’t worry love, you will always be a star in my eyes. 🙂
    Lauren´s last blog post ..Whats Been Going On

  17. Sorry about Foodbuzz, you deserved to move to the next round! And this recipe looks amazing, awesome flavor combo I’ve gotta try. Thanks!

  18. Rhonda says:

    You are welcome. I was plugging for you all the way. And thank you for the beautiful cupcakes, I love pomegranite. Now if you just overnight them to me so I can taste them for real?
    Rhonda´s last blog post ..The Holy Trinity Pumpple Pie

  19. Lori Lynn says:

    Congratulations Mara. I know how you feel. Best wishes for continued success with your awesome blog.
    Great looking cupcakes too.
    LL

  20. so glad it worked out! those look divine (and you should have moved on. pfffft).

  21. Jenny says:

    First of all, I am SO PROUD of how far you made it in this contest. You were AMAZING.

    Second, you used my fave photo- yay!!! And pretty please make me cupcakes when I come to visit? 😉
    Jenny´s last blog post ..BIG NEWSTotal lunacy

  22. Holly says:

    making it as far as you did IS a huge accomplishment! i wish you would have moved on, but c’est la vie – if you had not, maybe you would not have graced us with such AMAZING looking cupcakes. seriously, if i leave from Madison now, i could be in Chicago in two hours…are there any left?!?

    love ya 🙂

  23. Beth says:

    Those really are wonderful cupcakes. So beautiful!
    Beth´s last blog post ..The Renovation

  24. omg those cupcakes look amazing!!!! The cake part looks so moist 🙂
    Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle´s last blog post ..“I just like to smile- smiling’s my favorite”

  25. Heather says:

    Dear Mara,

    Please come over and teach me how to make really pretty cupcakes. When you cut your cupcake in half and it doesn’t look like an earthquake took place – that is a BIG accomplishment in my cook.

    I’m waiting.

    xo
    Heather

    p.s. I’m at Julie’s house, so you can either go hang out at my apartment (which, by the way, looks like the craft monster got drunk and vomited all over the place thanks to handmade christmas 2010] or come to Ithaca. Thanksgiving cupcake lessons? YES, PLEASE.
    Heather´s last blog post ..Second Easiest Ornament- Painted Star

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