One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is to find ways to use the odds and ends that end up in my fridge. Last week it meant that three big bags of asparagus stalks became soup for 200 (look for a post soon!). But this week’s featured ingredient, pomegranate concentrate, wound up in the best possible venue–a cupcake.

I adapted a recipe for red velvet cake found on the POM wonderful website.  Here’s my spin on it:

1.Set the oven to 350.

2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups cocoa powder (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/2 tsp salt

3. Beat butter and sugar well, then gradually add the vanilla and eggs.

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (soft)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

4. Measure pomegranate concentrate, water, vinegar and cream, and mix them together.  Set aside.

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate concentrate…you could also use pomegranate juice and reduce it
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cream or half and half

5. To the butter/sugar mixture, add a a third or so of the dry ingredients and mix well.  Then add some of the liquid mixture. Continue alternating and mixing until everything is combined.

6. NOW is the fun part when baking can be more like art. Measuring goes out the window here, and you are armed only with your eyes, taste buds, and common sense!  Taste the batter to see if it’s chocolatey enough for your liking…if not add a little more cocoa powder (it might end up closer to 3/4 cup). Then assess the color situation.  If it still looks like chocolate cake batter, add red food coloring (and maybe additional pomegranate concentrate as long as its flavor doesn’t take over). Keep adding and mixing until it looks more rosy/mauve.  Remember that it will get darker as it bakes.

7. When you’re pleased with the color, spoon the batter into cupcake tins (with cupcake liners) about 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

After the cupcakes cool for about 15 minutes you can frost them with this tasty cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
  • 1/3 cup butter (room temp)
  • 1 hearty tsp vanilla
  • a few dashes of salt
  • powdered sugar

Using a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together.  Add the vanilla, salt, and then gradually add the sugar until it reaches the right consistency and sweetness (which means you HAVE to taste as you go!  Oops.).  I hate to give an amount here, but I’d say about 1 1/2 cups.

I don’t like a ton of frosting, so if you do, you may need to make more!  I think the amount pictured above is just right though because it still allows you to notice the dark, subtly sweet notes of the cake…also reinforced by the chocolate shavings (75% cocoa) on top.