I love pomegranates! When I was in the first grade we used to eat them during recess (way back when children used to play outside at school) and our mouths and fingers stayed purple until pomegranate season was over. Eating pomegranates required a lot of work because I never ate the entire aril (the seed). I only ate the outer fleshy part.
P.S. I recently learned that Grenadine (a cocktail syrup) is thickened & sweetened pomegranate juice!
This week's recipe comes from Chef Ashley James via POM Recipes.
POM Velvet Cupcakes
2-1/2 cups POM pomegranate juice
16 oz. granulated sugar
14 oz. soft unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
15 oz. all-purpose flour
1-1/2 oz. cocoa powder
3/4 oz. baking soda
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Reduce the pomegranate juice over low heat, down to 1/2 cup. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed, until the mixture is pale yellow and fluffy. Turn the speed down to low and add the eggs in one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pomegranate juice reduction, white vinegar and vanilla extract, and then slowly add half of this to the butter/sugar mixture. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, and then sift at least two times. Add half of this to the mixture then add the remaining half of the liquids. Add the remaining dry ingredients, finishing off with the heavy cream. Beat just until combined. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 20 minutes (check frequently after 15 minutes). Cool completely. Frost with the pomegranate cream cheese frosting and top with fresh pomegranate arils.
POM Cream Cheese Frosting
1-1/2 cups POM pomegranate juice
4 oz. soft unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese - room temperature
14 oz. powdered sugar
Reduce the pomegranate juice over low heat, down to 3 fl. oz., Allow to cool, place butter into electric mixer bowl with paddle attachment and cream on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Add the cream cheese and continue to mix for 2 more minutes. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add in the powdered sugar and the pomegranate juice reduction. Mix until the sugar is fully combined.