Sunday, November 12, 2006

Pomegranate Cupcakes with Tangerine Mascarpone Frosting (aka Penelopes)

I have been planning these for some time as many of you know, but something always got in the way and blocked me from producing them. It started to drive me crazy, but all the wait was worth it in the end. This is a bright, dense, seasonal cupcake full of pop! I decided to call this particular cupcake combo a Penelope, after a friend of mine. Penelope is bright, bubbly, full of spark and always has a smile. Biting into this cupcake an image of her popped into my head and thought that she would truly adore this tasty treat. Its flavors seemed to mimic her personality. Hence, the naming of the Penelope.

I had Rob help me make this one, as my gimp foot kinda prevented me from really hopping all over the kitchen and since I aggravated it during the farmer's market run. Yep, the boy bakes too. You should taste his chocolate bread pudding made with (gasp!) croissants.

Pomegranate molasses gives a bit of squat and density to this cupcake, but it's worth that subtle acidy bite in the back. It's also an ingredient I plan to keep on hand from now on. The acidy cake is amazingly tasty! The cakes were each brushed with a bit of pom juice as well, so each bite brings a lush surprise of flavor.

The frosting was really killing me in the development of this cupcake. At first I went with the idea of lemon, but it seemed to sour and tart. I also knew cream cheese was the way to go, but wanted to avoid that tang, so we moved into a mascarpone cheese instead (Rob's idea), giving this frosting a velvety texture. However, if cream cheese is what you have on hand, I have realized that would work amazing too. It's a matter of taste on that one. As for the tangerine? Sadly I have to thank Starbucks on that, I saw tangerine tea and pom tea drinks and realized that tangerine would really be the bright counterpart I needed.

It's rich, flavorful, and has a sharp bite to it! Hope that you all enjoy this cupcake as much as I do.

Update: I just had another of these with a glass of honey wine (mead), and some dried apricots. Perfection. Pomegranate wine, or a dry red wine would go great with these as well.

Pomegranate Cupcakes
Makes about 12 cupcakes / Preheat oven to 350 F

What You'll Need...
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 large egg yolk at room temperature
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3-1/2 cup pomegranate molasses (taste, then add more as you see fit, this stuff is potent!)
pomegranate juice

What You'll Do...
1) Beat butter until soft for about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes on medium-high.

2) Add the eggs until combined

3) Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Alternate mixing the dry ingredients and the milk into the butter mixture, ending with the dry ingredients. Stop when just combined.

4) Fold in the pomegranate molasses. Scoop into cupcake papers, about 3/4 full.

5) Bake undisturbed for 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Move to a wire rack and let cool.

6) Brush lightly with pomegranate juice and let sit.

Tangerine Mascarpone Frosting
What You'll Need...
4 ounces mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese, whatever you fancy)
1/4 cup of butter
1 tablespoon of tangerine juice, fresh squeezed
2 cups of powdered sugar

What You'll Do...
1) Let the butter and cream cheese come to room temperature. Beat them together until well combined.

2) Add the poweder sugar and then the zest. Add more powdered sugar if you want for desired thickness. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes; you may need to let this chill first before piping.

Note: As with all cupcakes, I highly suggest you let these sit overnight to let the flavors meld. It makes for a much tastier cupcake.


  1. To Rob,
    Happy I stuck around to meet you the other day, and good to hear you are taking good care of Garrett... Keep keeping him off that foot! ;)
    Garrett, I don't have to say how lovely that looks and must taste.

  2. So fancy and festive! Looks delicious.

  3. OMG...chocolate bread pudding made from croissaints?!?! *Drool*. That sounds so good.

    And that cupcake, while looking absolutely delicious, looks so pretty and divine. Good job!

  4. this is wonderful! i need to get my baking powers together, and try! :-)

  5. The cupcakes sound really tasty and the recipe doesn't appear to be anything too wild for me to try. Except for one thing - I've never heard of pomagrant molasses! Where in the heck can one purchase that anyway?

  6. You are the MASTER of reaching perfect combinations of flavors, texture and looks. Bakery with pomegranate molasses..grate idea ! I used to add pomegranate molasses to sauces for salads.I'll try your recipe : )

  7. Jeni - Pom Molasses can be found at most international food markets, or be made at home with some pom juice and reducing it over heat. Now that I have it I plan to utilize it a lot more for pumpkin soups.

    Home Cook - Genius! I totally will use this to braise meat with and make salad dressing!

  8. Always looking for more things to do with my pomegranate molasses. Thanks!

  9. Found you while browsing Chocklit's blog - and excited to find ANOTHER pomegranate recipe - I have a bowl of them on the kitchen table and was looking forward to find more uses other than decorative - will try to post a picture on my blog when they are done. Wish me luck!

  10. Best of luck L! Let me know how it goes!

  11. pomegranate molasses goes very well in making taboole dressing!


  12. These look really delectable. One question, though -- the frosting ingredients list tangerine *juice* while the directions only mention *zest*. I was thinking both would be good, but pondering quantities.

  13. Thanks for a great recipe! We've been experimenting with pom molasses, found your recipe, and just made these. They're wonderful. Deeeelish! We have a duck soup with pom molasse in it coming up this week on our blog, but your idea of adding it to pumpkin soup is great. Thanks again!

  14. I made these and everyone I gave them to said it was the best baked good they've EVER eaten. Thanks for a terric taste combination.

  15. Discovered this recipe quite accidentally, while looking for a pomegranate cupcake for my daughter's 10th birthday. How did I know this was the perfect one? Her name is Penelope.


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