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.
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.
First came the pomegranate chocolate cake, adapted from this Joy of Baking recipe which I doubled.
POM Wonderful Chocolate Cupcakes
- 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
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.
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
- 16 oz bottle POM Wonderful juice
- 12 oz. white sugar
- 3 oz. water
- 8 large egg yolks
- 4 sticks butter, cubed
- candy thermometer
- mixer fitted with a wire whip
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).
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.
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.