Hi! It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Do you know what that means for me?
Well, in the past it would’ve meant I’d be looking forward to a day (or at least an evening) off, spent snuggling and probably having a nice dinner or something with Z. But now? Now it means I’m gearing up for a long weekend of busy dinner service with a special holiday menu at work. Ah, restaurant life.
Since I’d already been contacted by POM Wonderful and offered a bottle of their new POM concentrate with which to experiment and ultimately create a cupcake for their Valentine’s Day contest, I figured I should tackle that during my pre-holiday “weekend.” And so I did.
It wasn’t easy, you know. Deciding what kind of cupcake to make. Pomegranate is pretty much my favorite fruit. I didn’t want to use chocolate, so cliche…but what else was I to do? The Flavor Bible to the rescue – pomegranate goes awesome with olive oil and lemon! And I totally had a bangin’ recipe for olive oil lemon cake. Once I had the idea for the decoration I considered myself set and gathered my ingredients.
Pause for a second here…check out those adorable cupcake liners! I had recently placed an order with Fancy Flours for a bunch of supplies (partly to restock on little gift boxes after Christmas’s Bakestravaganza and partly to set myself up with cupcake wrappers for the year…and partly because I can’t refuse cookie cutters in very stupid shapes, like giant armadillos and tiny fruits) and noticed these sweet new harlequin print liners. Not until I actually went to use them did I notice that they are from Sutton Gourmet, whose liners are extra-thick and stay white and more or less opaque even after you bake chocolate cakes in them. Awwwwwesome.
The original idea with these cupcakes was that the pomegranate concentrate (which I used to replace the amaretto in the olive oil cake recipe) would turn the cakes pink and I’d have perfectly Valentine’s colored cupcakes. Dork that I am, I forgot that eggs and extra virgin olive oil are very yellow and that they wouldn’t play nice with the pretty purpley concentrate. Ultimately I added a bunch of red food coloring to at least tint the batter…the end result being kind of a natural-looking pink velvet type of thing. The food coloring is totally unnecessary, IMO, and if you really DO want a pinkish cake you’d have to use a lot of it, or at least a more concentrated form than I did (gel is apparently not enough).
Despite the coloring mishap (if you can call it that), I’m really happy with the cakes. This recipe bakes up so cute as cupcakes, all perfectly domed and shiny. They’re very sturdy and perfect for filling,* but I chose to keep it simple this time and just topped them each with a round blob of lemon cream cheese frosting (which is the only type of frosting that I believe powdered sugar is acceptable in, and then only in the barest minimum amounts).
*Pomegranate jelly, curd or mousse would all be neat fillings.
I’m exceptionally pleased with the heart design on the top. I tried drawing it out on paper beforehand when I was conceptualizing (yes I draw a lot of my cupcakes, and other desserts that are only concepts for now…sometimes just so I can outline and color them when I’m bored) but couldn’t get the placement right until I actually put the arils on. The only drawback is that you can’t appreciate the cupcakes fully from the top and side at the same time.
No recipe here, since it is in the contest you’ll have to go over to POM Wonderful’s site to see it. I actually made half the recipe that’s posted.