Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Pomegranate Cupcakes

After my first attempt at a pomegranate cupcake, ( these ones here), that I thought didn't taste like pomegranate at all, I wanted to try again with a different approach. That and the fact that I still had 5 bottles of the Pom Wonderful juice that the lovely people at Pom Wonderful had sent me and I needed to use them up and not just drink them. ha ha

My friend Steph had made cupcakes with chocolate and pomegranate from a bundt cake recipe she had found on Baking Bites, one of my favorite baking sites, and I almost used that recipe but I really wanted something with more PUNCH to it. So I searched around some more and came across a recipe on one of my absolute favorite blogs, How to Eat A Cupcake ( love her recipes and she is so funny the way she writes) and decided this one was it. I read her comments on the recipe and decided to alter mine a little bit to see if I could get rid of the "gumminess" she said it had from all the water in the recipe. I am not one for using a lot of water in a cake. Water has NO FLAVOR and really doesn't add much to a cake. And the cake had no eggs in it and well I am not a vegan an I think that eggs play an important roll in cake baking for all kinds of reasons. So I added in 2 large eggs and since they measured out to a scant half a cup I reduced the water to a little over half cup so the whole cup of liquid ( well sort of liquid) would still be there and I wouldn't have to change the recipe anywhere else. I hate math.  I also wanted a little something else in case the cake part wasn't very strong with the pomegranate flavor.

So then I thought of what a good filling would be. MOUSSE! I found a recipe for pomegranate mousse online and it totally worked and tasted AMAZING. And now for the frosting..hmmm what to do. I thought since these were a little more elegant I didn't want to do a swirl of frosting but a ganache. Not too sweet either and I love the way the bundt cake looks on How to Eat A Cupcake's blog so I too did a little pom juice glaze drizzled over the top. I should have made it thicker than I did because it sort of disappeared into the ganache not long after I took pics.

Mousse time first. I made this the day before I made the cupcakes so it would set up nicely. I have had troubles in the past with gelatin and some mousse recipes call for raw eggs whites. I am leery of using them and I didn't feel like pasteurizing them  myself. So I subbed meringue powder mixed with water
This works for not only making royal icing but it works to stiffen frostings when added in dry or when mixed with water works like a charm to stiffen mousse

pom juice and gelatin cooling, whipping cream ready to be whipped, I whipped the "egg whites last"

Perfect. Light pink and tasty. Off to the fridge you go

Cupcake time. The recipe calls for vinegar and I JUST SO HAPPENED TO HAVE pomegranate vinegar from Trader Joes. I love that store. Its great for salad dressings and was PERFECT in these cupcakes. 

Mmmm cocoa-ey

Pom juice with the other ingredients. This is a GIANT 8 cup measuring cup so that's why it looks like its not very full

All mixed together. I liked this recipe for the fact that I didn't have to use my stand mixer. Not that I don't love my kitchen aid  ( believe me its my FAVE appliance) but I get lazy and hate cleaning the mixing blades some times. ha ha

Ready for the oven

They smelled chocolaty and pomegranatey when cooling. It was already a lot more promising than my other pomegranate cupcakes. 

I always use my apple corer or a pastry bag to fill the cupcakes but I had seen someone using circle cutters recently for making filling holes in cupcakes and I liked that I had a depth gauge on them. I have been known to push my apple corer a weeeeeee bit too far and blow out bottom of cupcakes. oops. So I got my Ateco circle cutter set out and used the two that were the next two sizes up from the smallest one in the set. I wasn't sure which one I wanted to use. So I experiemented on a couple first

They pushed in great but with such a small lip on the rim I had to be careful twisting and pulling them back out to get a good core. 

the bigger one was too big. That's a lot of cake missing!!

Yummy pomegranate mousse. Yes I tasted it. With a spoon.

 Filled em up

Pu the tops of the cores back on and put them on a plate in the fridge to set up.

I cored out the rest with the smaller of the two cutters. Not all cored that well so I did have to clean out a little with a knife since that fit better than a spoon. Less cake damage that way too

Collected the cupcake "guts" in a bowl. A spoonful of the mousse with some "guts" was soo yummy. Even the hubby agreed.

I piped the mousse in instead of spooning. I didn't feel like being up til midnight. The mousse got a little runny when piped but then after being chilled again they set back up nicely.

My ganache frosting. A mix of bittersweet and semi sweet chocolate. Not because I meant to but because I needed 8 ounces and only had 4 of each. ha

The scary part. Dipping the cupcakes. I was so afraid the tops would fall off in the ganache but luckily none did. Phew.

All ganached up. I chilled these again before drizzilng with the pom juice glaze

For the pom juice I used powdered sugar and a few cap fulls of the pom juice. I should have used less juice. This wasn't as thick as I wanted it to be but didn't realize it until too late

I was hoping the pink would really pop in color on the ganache frosting

Drizzled on using a disposable piping bag with  the very end snipped off so not too much would come out at once

Perfect. Just how I wanted them to look. But then the glaze melted into the cupcakes and got washed out. At least I got a couple good pics first

I can't not take a pic of one cut in half!!

The one that was cored with the bigger cutter. The hubby ate this one. So far all my feedback on these cupcakes have been that they are the best I have made yet. I will gladly take it!! I, myself, LOVED these. They weren't overly sweet, the mousse had a nice tang to it, you could taste the pomegranate in the cake and the ganache was the perfect frosting. The cake was moist and dense and not at all gummy.

Pomegranate Chocolate Cupcakes 

Adapted from How To Eat A Cupcake

Makes 24 cupcakes
1 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup plus 1 tbsps water, heated to boiling
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs room temp, beaten lightly ( just give em a little spanking!)
2 tablespoons vinegar (not wine vinegar – apple cider or even pomegranate if you can find it
1 tablespoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in the center.
2. Place a paper baking cup in each of 24 regular sized muffin cups, spray edges around 
     cups lightly with cooking spray
3. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
4. In a large measuring cup, combine pomegranate juice and boiling water.
5. Add oil, beaten eggs, vinegar and vanilla to the pomegranate juice mixture.
6. Pour pomegranat juice mixture in well in center of the flour mixture all at once and whisk just to combine (batter will be lumpy).
7. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups
8. Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and free of crumbs
9. Let cool completely before frosting

Pomegranate Mousse Recipe

Pomegranate mousse
  • 3/4 cup POM Wonderful juice
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Clear Gelatin (1 package)
  • 2 egg whites OR 4 tbsp meringue powder mixed with 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
In a pot bring to boil POM Wonderful and sugar. Remove from heat.
Dissolve the gelatin according to it’s package and add it to the pomegranate mixture. Add the pomegranate liqueur and stir well. Cool it down till it’s starts to thicken.
In a large bowl whip the cream until firm. Stir little bit of the whipped cream into the cold pomegranate mixture till well combined. Gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Whip the egg whites or mernigue powder substitute and fold in. Cover and chill in the fridge.

Ganache Recipe
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces of chocolate ( baking bar or pistoles chopped up NOT chocolate chips)
I prefer using bittersweet or semisweet

Chop up the chocolate and place in to a non reactive bowl like a stainless steel bowl. Heat the cream til it just boils then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 5 min then whisk until the chocolate is all melted and smooth. Let sit out until thickened before dipping. If you chill in fridge it may set up too hard so usually an hour or so at room temp works just fine.


  1. Great idea for coring the cupcakes :) I love it! I will use this technique the next time I fill cupcakes Thanks! :)

  2. They look great! Your cupcakes look like they taste 1000x better than mine! :D Nice thinking with the mousse... yummy!

  3. Thanks!
    The mousse totally made them that much better I think. The cake by itself was awesome. I am thinking of trying this with milk instead of the juice to see how it is just as a chocolate cake recipe. Because even with the pom juice it had the perfect density, texture and moistness. If it works with the milk it is my GO TO chocolate cupcake recipe!!

  4. I have to say they sound and look delicious. The ganache gives a lovely classy-looking finish. I never would have thought of using a mousse to fill cupcakes, but it's a brilliant idea that I may have to start experimenting with myself. I've made a beautiful choc mousse cake before, but never thought of trying it in cupcake form...

  5. Viv
    I have made chocolate cupcakes and filled with chocolate mousse and they came out super good. I have those on my blog here somewhere! Ha ha. I think filling cupcakes is fun - surprises people since usually cupcakes aren't filled.

  6. These are absolutely gorgeous, I would love to try these out! They've also been featured on Cupcakes Take the Cake, that's how I found the recipe:


    I'll make a batch and tell you how it goes!

  7. Fatty - Thanks!
    I saw that they featured me again. Always an honor!
    Good luck let me know!!

  8. I am going to make these ASAP! One question...on the mousse directions, you say to add the pomegranate liqueur. But I don't see pomegranate liqueur listed as one of the mousse ingredients. Am I missing something??

  9. ha ha i just noticed that I left it out because I didn't use any or have any and I adapted the recipe from 2 I found online so I have no idea how much to use

  10. Thanks so much for not only sharing the recipe, but pictures of the steps. Can't wait to try these!!