Pomegranate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting

I am so excited about these cupcakes!

Vertical closeup image of one cupcake with seeds.

For one thing, they’re super easy to make. You don’t even need a mixer.

Also, they’re pretty much flawless — moist and dense without being too heavy, with a deep chocolate flavor and subtle nuances of fruity, antioxidant-rich pomegranate.

Vertical image of a large bowl of pomegranate seeds with whole pomegranates and cupcakes in the background.

The cupcakes themselves require no eggs and no butter, but you’d never know it from how moist and rich they are. And you can enjoy the huge bonus of being able to lick the bowl and spatula to your heart’s content! I sure did.

For the icing, I use Foodal’s ultra-rich ganache recipe, with the addition of pomegranate juice, to cover the top of each cupcake with a fudgy blanket of chocolaty decadence.

They are finished with a garnish of juicy, crunchy, fresh pomegranate seeds, the perfect pop of color and texture.

Vertical image of an array of cupcakes with a bowl of pomegranate seeds on a gray wooden surface.

So, when you’re just about to eat your first cupcake of the batch, pulling its fluffy little dome out of the paper wrapper, ganache slightly melted on your fingertips, the sweet aromas wafting so close to you, you’re going to be thinking something that you know is undeniable:

Not even one bite in, you’ve already decided you’re going to have a second one.

Resistance is futile!

Print
Horizontal image of a cooling rack with cupcakes with ganache and pomegranate seeds.

Pomegranate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
  • Total Time: -25451322.083333 minute
  • Yield: 24 cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water, heated to boiling
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Ganache:

  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice

For the Garnish:

  • Pomegranate seeds, extracted from one pomegranate fruit

Instructions

For the Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 12-cup muffin trays with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Add this to the flour mixture all at once and whisk until completely combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be thick and a little lumpy.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each a little more than halfway full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and free of crumbs. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan before transferring the cupcakes to a wire cooling rack to cool completely before decorating with ganache.

For the Ganache:

  1. Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine the heavy cream and juice in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat. As soon as the mixture begins to simmer, immediately remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Lightly stir with a whisk until all of the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the butter and stir until it has melted and is completely incorporated.

To Assemble:

  1. Cool the ganache slightly at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  2. Dip the top of each cupcake in the ganache, lightly shaking off any excess. Allow the ganache to set slightly at room temperature for another 10 minutes before applying the final garnish of pomegranate seeds.
  3. Chill the cupcakes in the refrigerator to completely set and harden the ganache before serving, about 30 minutes.

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Gather Ingredients and Prep

Horizontal image of ingredients for dessert in white bowls.

Preheat oven to 350°F, and prepare two 12-cup muffin trays with cupcake liners.

For the dry ingredients, measure the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

For the wet ingredients, heat 1 cup of water to boiling. Measure the pomegranate juice, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.

For the ganache, measure the heavy cream and chocolate chips. Cut the butter into small chunks.

For the garnish, remove the seeds from one pomegranate fruit, using a sharp knife and sturdy cutting board to cut through the fruit.

Step 2 – Make the Batter

Horizontal image of a dry mix and a whisk in a white bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Horizontal image of juice in a white bowl on a white towel.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients: hot water, pomegranate juice, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Be careful with the hot water.

Horizontal image of cake batter and a whisk in a large bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture all at once. Whisk until completely combined, but do not overmix. The batter will look a little thick and lumpy.

Step 3 – Fill and Bake

Horizontal image of a white towel underneath a tray with baked cupcakes.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling the cups a little more than halfway full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and free of crumbs. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 4 – Make the Ganache

Horizontal image of ganache in a white bowl on a white towel.

Follow our directions for the best chocolate ganache, adding the pomegranate juice with the heavy cream before heating.

Slightly cool the ganache at room temperature for about 10 minutes before decorating. Letting the chocolate cool for a little while will allow it to thicken, helping it cling better to the cupcakes when dipping.

Step 5 – Decorate

Horizontal image of dipping cupcakes in ganache.

Dip the top of each cooled cupcake in the ganache, lightly shaking off the excess. Allow the ganache to set slightly at room temperature for another 10 minutes before applying the final garnish of pomegranate seeds.

Horizontal image of a cooling rack with cupcakes with ganache and pomegranate seeds.

Chill the cupcakes in the refrigerator to completely set and harden the ganache before serving, about 30 minutes.

Fruit and Chocolate? A Flawless Combo

Pairing fruit with chocolate has always been a huge crowd-pleaser. Chocolate-covered strawberries are a perfect example!

Horizontal image of a cupcake on a white plate with pomegranates and seeds on the side.

I would say that there’s nothing better than a huge chunk of juicy fruit draped in chocolaty goodness… but these rich cupcakes are keeping my mouth shut.

Because I just stuffed my face with a few big bites of fluffy chocolate cake and fudgy ganache frosting.

And I’m just about to do it all over again with a second helping.

I deserve it. No judgment.

Vertical image of a ganache cupcake with a pile of pomegranate seeds.

If you want even more fruity flavor, we suggest scooping out a little of the inside of each cupcake, and filling it with your favorite jam or jelly. If you have pomegranate jelly, perfect! But any berry flavor will be a perfect addition.

How do you like to use this jewel-toned fruit? What do you think of pairing fruit and chocolate together? Let us know in the comment section below, and remember to rate the recipe!


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views of a pomegranate chocolate ganache cupcakes.

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on August 6th, 2009. Last updated: May 20, 2018 at 0:03 am .

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she is not tearing through her city's best grub, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

41 thoughts on “Pomegranate Chocolate Cupcakes with Ganache Frosting

  1. These look incredible! And the fact that they have no eggs or butter is amazing. When I got my shipment of pomegranate juice, I used it to make baby back ribs. But now I wish I’d baked with it. Can’t wait to try this out!

  2. shanna, you’re (POM) wonderful. but, well…i don’t own a muffin pan. [hides face in shame.]

    i think i can tackle banana bread, though. except…i don’t have a loaf pan. or a cake pan. can i make banana bread in a casserole dish?

  3. Ooo i have some in the fridge! love POM… 🙂 my hubs brings me home the tea once in a while as a special treat…. the boys I have now aren’t fans of cupcakes…. but I am! lol. 🙂

  4. i know i tend to tell you that i don’t like certain things that you use to cook with (remember the whole rhubarb thing… that went all to ish, didn’t it? or my aversion to carrots…) so it shouldn’t surprise you when i say that i don’t like pomegranate or the juice. and i don’t have a real reason as to why (unlike my dislike of carrots being that i was forced to consume it alot as a kid to improve my eyesight). however, i like the versatile-ness of this recipe, oranges go well with chocolate, one could subsitute with concentrated OJ.. or strawberries. or cherries.

    i was just looking at your red le crueset and wondering if it was Lucy’s new friend. 🙂 your mom is so awesome. this maybe before your time but do you recall the show My So Called Life? Angela Chase was the protagonist and had dyed her hair a fire engine red, and Jordan Catalano sang her a song called Red. she assumed it was about her but it was really about his red car. moral of the story: make sure the guy who sang a song called Red to you doesn’t have a red car before thinking the song is about your red hair and Angie is such an awful name for a pot. haha!

  5. These look so delicious, I love all things pomegranate. I have started with the pom juice and love it, then I recently was introduced to pomegranate based skin care by pomega5, wow…www.pomega5.com

    There is something in pomegranates which make me go wild but the skin care makes my boyfriend go wild… he loves the scent and the fact that it is very green. He is a greentech frick, deals with solar all day long.

    I suggest that you girls go to wholefoods and try the pomega5 products that are made of omega 5 oil…we all deserve a good no calories treat.

    Tracy Albertson

  6. Did not know that there is such thing as omega 5 oil? can you eat it? bake with it? pomeganate based skin care? pomega5? please tell me more.

    Tnx

    Lana

  7. I LOVE pomegranates. I can’t eat cupcakes though, but I am going to try these for my family tomorrow. I’m home visiting in PA this week.

  8. these looks wonderful! i got a case from them as well, and have yet to try something out. So far i made myself a slushie with two, but that is FAR from post worthy 😉 SO glad i found your blog, i love it!!

  9. Ok, lady, I think I’m going to try these. I love POM Wonderful – I’m glad you got a chance to try it! 🙂

    PS – I am totally drooling over the carrot soup you linked to…ok, and the cupcakes.

  10. Oh yummmm! Pomegranates are totally the best. I always look forward to the winter – okay not really – but buying pomegranates at the grocery store is definitely a perk of winter!

  11. I love pomegranates and would have never thought I could combine with my love for chocolate! I am definitely trying these cupcakes – thanks!

  12. Alejandra – Baby back ribs! It never occurred to me to use the juice in something like that – love it!

    Novelista, Thank you so much!

    Emily, Right? Any chocolate recipe that lets me lick the bowl is A+ in my book, you know?

    Patti, Looking forward to seeing what you did with the juice! Glad to know you on Twitter now, too!

    Montague, I know! Match made in heaven.

    Jacqui, You are priceless. It’s a good thing you’re getting married because I have one word for you: registry. I hope every blessed baking product finds its way into white-and-silver-wrapped packages for you guys. Meanwhile, I say go for the casserole-pan bread/muffin/cake. If nothing else, you’ll have a good story and science experiment. I’d love to see what happens!

    Rachel, The boys don’t like cupcakes!!?? I can’t get past that statement. So. Sad.

    Lan, Ah! Your comments are the best! They always make me smile. Love your story and love the suggestion for Angie for the pot. It’s the front runner at present, but I’ll keep you updated. PS – I understand about not like the juice, but, Lan, the health benefits! At least stay open-minded to other forms of pomegranate stuff, OK? My dad gave me some chocolate-covered pomegranate fruits, and you’d never know. Swear.

    Laura, I think this is a perfection introduction. At least it was for me. Try it!

    Tracy, I don’t know much about pomega, but your comment about its making your boyfriend go wild made me laugh out loud. Thank you for that.

    Lana, Wish I could help! Maybe Tracy will come back and clue us in.

    Joanna, Hope you’re having a great time with the family! I think it’s so sweet that you’ll bake for them when you can’t enjoy the results. That’s love.

    Sprouted Kitchen, I’m so excited to have you stopping by here and commenting and saying such nice things. Your blog is STUNNING.

    Kim, Try it! (And I love that carrot soup. As soon as it gets cold again–not that I am in any way wishing for that–it will be soups all over the place.)

    Postcollegecook, LOL about winter. I understand. And you have me excited about winter pomegranates, which I don’t think I’ve ever bought fresh – making a mental note!

    LPB, It’s such a good pairing, as natural as cherry and chocolate. Would love to hear how you like it!

  13. I am between boy friends now but Tracy’s commnet is indeed very funny. I know that I can win a a man’s heart with a good chocolate cake, but pomegranate seed oil skin care? never tried it before…where do you rub it? LOL…

    I am going to look into the pomgea5 web site, Tracy, where are you? any clues to the single ladies out there?

  14. OMG, these look fantastic! I got some POM from them a while back, but haven’t yet made anything w/ them! i’ve been wanting to try these, but haven’t cuz i was a tinsy bit scared. I know, silly right? well, they look good and now that i know you love them, maybe I can be a little less fearful and make them already!!!!

  15. haha every time i think of my wedding registry (i almost typed wedding wegistry, it’s definitely time for the weekend!) i get way too excited. i didn’t even think about adding baking stuff to it. but think of the possibilities! kitchen aid mixer! muffin tin! cookie sheets! a rolling pin! maybe i will get into this baking thing after all…

  16. Sometimes it kills me to read your blog, because everything just looks too good to read about and not eat. These are like, my dream come true. I HAVE to make them.

    I’m taking a break from drinking for a very long while right now (health reasons), and for the record, I think the texture of pomegranate juice is the closest thing to wine that isn’t wine. My mom bought me some and serves it to me in a wine glass. So cute 🙂

  17. Tracy — Got it, I read the information on http://www.pomega5.com and now I understand the magic of pomegranates. So there is juice and great skin care and ice cream and martinis. How about nutraceuticals?

    Omega 5 oil is so rich in antioxidants and is sugarless, that’s it.

    Kimi

  18. Niki & Kimi – Hilarious that this convo is still going on!

    Niki, Don’t be scared at all! Could not be simpler, and so good!

    Jacqui, The fact that wegistry made me laugh out loud is probably further confirmation that we’re ready for it to be Friday! And you DON’T HAVE A ROLLING PIN!? Every time I think I’ve wrapped my mind around your lack-of-baking-supply, you amaze me further. I could see you getting really into quiche – right? – that makes the rolling pin worthwhile alone!

    Alicia, Great illustration comparing pomegranate juice with wine, and I’m glad you’ve found a substitute for now, although sorry for the reasons and all the changes that go along with them. (PS, from someone who never drinks because of health/habit/taste reasons, you won’t miss it eventually, swear. and we can be the pop-drinkers together.)

  19. So the fam liked the cupcakes. One of the members who will remain nameless claimed they were “weird” and yet when I got up late at night to use the restroom I found him eating a second AND third cupcake. 🙂

  20. LOL, Jo – thanks for the update! And to the unnamed family member’s credit, I’m also guilty of eating more of things I think are a little different, especially if there’s chocolate involved. You are so sweet to bake for them – I’m sure they’ll be sad when you have to go back home!

  21. Hey Shannalee —

    What ever happened to Tracy and her pomegranate seed oil skin care story. Eager to test it on a new boy friend.

    Any thoughts on the pomega5 line web site?

    Kimi

  22. OooooooI’ve been wanting to make a similar recipe. Thanks for sharing. Looks wonderful. I’m just learning now the science of baking. How does the cake have structure with no eggs? What does the vinegar do? The boiling water? Baking just fascinates me now. Although I have no sweet tooth, I still enjoy baking for others.

  23. Angela – I totally agree! If we’d talked about things like these in high school science, I might have paid more attention!

  24. Finally got around to baking these today! They are awesome! Thanks so much for sharing and can’t wait to try out some more new recipes!

  25. Mmmmm… I made these on Sunday and they were/are delicious.
    My only comment is that my frosting went crazy. I double checked my measuring but i yield’d loads of very runny frosting, so much so i had to ditch it and use my own receipe frosting. Should it have been very runny?
    I brought the remainder in to work today and shared them out. They were gone in 30secs!!!

  26. Miriam! I am so sorry about the frosting! This is exactly how I made it, and it held together without getting runny—the only thing I can think is maybe the mixture didn’t come to a full boil first? I wish I could be of more help! But either way, you did exactly what you should: used your head and came up with an alternative solution. Glad you all enjoyed these!

  27. I tried to make these this afternoon. Cupcakes were LOVELY but the frosting just would not work for me 🙁 It was so watery that I ended up taking out half of the liquid after adding about 4 cups of powdered sugar. Then I added like 3 more cups and finally got something that resembled frosting. My sister only had margarine, could that have been the problem? The recipe says “cup” of juice. Is it really supposed to be a cup or actually supposed to be less? Aw. Let me know. Thanks!

  28. Hey Katy, Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes, but I’m so sorry the frosting turned out running for you. The last commenter said something very similar, so you’re definitely not alone. The original recipe that I based it off of is here, if that helps at all.

  29. Aw, thanks. We are loving them anyways! They are delicious. Sorry I missed the comment right before my own, reading that would have saved us time!… Anyways, I love your blog. Thank you for writing beauty into the world.

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