I am so excited about these cupcakes!
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.
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.
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
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
For the Cupcakes:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 12-cup muffin trays with cupcake liners.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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:
- Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- 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.
- Add the butter and stir until it has melted and is completely incorporated.
- Cool the ganache slightly at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
- 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.
- 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
Preheat oven to 350°F, and prepare two 12-cup muffin trays with cupcake liners.
For the ganache, measure the heavy cream and chocolate chips. Cut the butter into small chunks.
Step 2 – Make the Batter
In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
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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.
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.