all the really prepared kosher food bloggers were posting rosh hashana recipes two weeks ago. well, here’s my contribution, and it’s only a day after rosh hashana ended! does that count? i guess everyone will have to file this one away for next year.
it is jewish tradition to eat pomegranate on rosh hashana because as we reflect over all that we have done in the past year, we hope that our merits will be as abundant as a pomegranate’s seeds. and if you’ve ever cut open a pomegranate, you know that that’s a pretty lofty goal – one pomegranate has a LOT of seeds.
so, these pomegranate-themed cupcakes were a totally appropriate addition to our rosh hashana table. they also happened to look amazing and taste delicious. chocolate and pomegranate is naturally a great combination, because the deep richness of the chocolate is the perfect counterpoint to the tart brightness of the pomegranate, and that totally comes through in these cupcakes. the chocolate cake is light, moist, and fluffy, full of that dark chocolatey flavor. then the cupcakes are filled with a silky smooth pomegranate curd, which is delightfully sweet and tart. they are then topped with a rich, creamy pomegranate frosting and some fresh pomegranate seeds, which elevate the entire cupcake to culinary home run status. i love how the pomegranate seeds look like little jewels on top – they almost made the cupcakes too pretty to eat. but don’t worry, everyone got over that pretty quickly.
i strongly recommend making these – even if it’s not rosh hashana. they are incredibly special, and deserve to be eaten at any time of the year!
fluffy, moist chocolate cake, stuffed with a silky, tangy pomegranate curd, topped with rich, creamy pomegranate frosting and fresh pomegranate seeds. the perfect combination of sweet and tart.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup hot water
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1½ tablespoons sugar
- a pinch of salt
- ½ tablespoon water
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 tablespoon earth balance (or butter)
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- ½ cup vegetable shortening (or butter), at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 tablespoons almond milk, if needed
- ½ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
- heat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
- in a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. in another small bowl, combine the hot water and cocoa powder.
- in a large bowl, stir together the oil and sugar. add the egg, followed by the vanilla, and stir to combine.
- alternate between adding the flour mixture and the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. mix the batter until everything is just barely combined.
- pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups so that each is about ½ full. bake the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean. let the cupcakes cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled before filling them.
- in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, salt, water, and egg yolk until the mixture is completely smooth.
- in a small saucepan, bring the pomegranate juice to a simmer over medium-low heat.
- very slowly, whisk about half of the pomegranate juice into the egg mixture until the mixture is combined and smooth. pour this mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the juice.
- continue to cook the mixture, stirring, until it is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
- strain the curd through a mesh strainer, then stir in the earth balance until it is melted and combined.
- cover the curd and let it chill completely in the fridge before putting it in the cupcakes.
- put the pomegranate juice into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. let the juice simmer, uncovered, until it has reduced to about ¼ cup - this took me about 20 minutes. remove the reduced juice from the heat and let it cool completely before continuing.
- in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. turn the mixer down to low speed and gradually add the powdered sugar, followed by the salt. continue beating the frosting until it is smooth. add the reduced pomegranate juice and turn the mixer up to high speed. beat the frosting for a few minutes until it is very smooth and fluffy, adding a bit of almond milk if necessary to reach the desired consistency.
- using a small spoon, scoop out a hole from the center of each cupcake. fill the cake with pomegranate curd, then re-top it with the top of the hole you cut out.
- pipe some frosting onto each cupcake.
- top each cupcake with a scant tablespoon of fresh pomegranate seeds.