pomegranate-grapefruit cupcake

Pomegranates fascinate me. I think it’s their vibrant color and their elusiveness. I will admit, the thought of de-seeding a pomegranate deters me from eating them often. This is indeed a shame as they are tasty and apparently very good for you.

I managed to catch an episode of Martha Stewart over the Thanksgiving holiday in which she pleasantly showed us all how to “easily” and cleanly do the de-seeding. While her method of scoring, breaking open, and banging out the seeds over a bowl did direct most of the juice into one area and not all over the counter, it was still time consuming and I was quickly bored after getting through 3 or so of them. Still, what else are you going to do!

After toying with the idea of making a pomegranate filling, I opted to just mix the seeds in the cupcake batter. I actually liked the way this turned out. The seeds didn’t really affect the taste of the batter, but they retained their integrity. So when you bit into the seeds, they were all juicy and flavorful. The one thing I will note is that I couldn’t really taste the grapefruit. The cake part was very delicious, but not grapefruity. This could be good or bad, depending on how you feel about grapefruit. Next time around I would double the zest and see how that turns out. I might also flavor the cream cheese frosting with some zest and juice, but that is up to you.

Grapefruit-Pomegranate Cupcakes
24 regular cupcakes / 350 degree oven

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup grapefruit pulp/juice
2 teaspoons grapefruit zest
2/3 cup (4 ounces) pomegranate seeds, from 1-1/2 medium sized pomegranates

1. Beat butter on high until soft, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beat for 30 seconds between each.
4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
5. Measure out milk and grapefruit juice together. Add zest.
6. Add about a fourth of the flour to the butter/sugar mixture and beat to combine.
7. Add about one third the milk/juice mixture and beat until combined.
8. Repeat above, alternating flour and milk and ending with the flour mixture.
9. Mix in pomegranate seeds.
10. Scoop into cupcake papers about half to two-thirds full (depending on whether you want flat or domed cupcakes).
11. Bake for 22-25 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Note: These cupcakes tend to rise quite a bit and will overflow if you put too much batter in the cupcake paper. Keep it under two-thirds full.

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
2. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
3. Beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
4. Add half of the sugar and the vanilla. Beat until combined
5. Gradually add remaining sugar (more if you have to) until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

finished pomegranate jellies
pomegranate jellies

Pomegranate Jellies adapted from epicurious.com

1-1/2 cup (12 ounces) pomegranate seeds, from 3-1/2 medium sized pomegranates
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 (3-oz) packages Certo liquid pectin (not powdered)

1. Bring pomegranate seeds, water, sugar, and butter to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer about half the mixture into a blender and carefully blend for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl then blend remaining.
4. Force the blended mixture through a medium-mesh sieve back into same pot, pressing on solids with back of a spoon. Throw away the solids.
5. Put an empty plate in freezer to chill.
6. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat and add pectin. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to thicken, about 45 minutes. To test, remove from heat, then drop a teaspoonful on the chilled plate and chill in the freezer for 1 minute. Tilt plate the plate. The mixture should remain in a firm mound and not run. If mixture runs, continue cooking and stirring and repeat the test every 5 minutes.
7. Remove from the heat and immediately pour mixture into a pan lined with plastic wrap. Gently tap the pan to eliminate any air bubbles.
8. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour, then cover surface directly with plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.
9. Remove from the pan and cut into desired shapes. Toss shapes in granulated sugar.

1. Frost cooled cupcakes.
2. Top with a jelly.

scoring the pomegranate
scoring pomegranate

removing pomegranate seeds
banging out seeds

cutting a pomegranate jelly
cutting the jelly

tossing a pomegranate jelly in sugar
tossing in sugar

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