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POM Velvet Cake

A few months ago, the nice people at POM [1] sent me a ton of POM juice to try out. Not being a juice fan (I much prefer the fresh seeds), I decided to try one of the many recipes on their site that uses the juice. And as soon as I saw the recipe for this cake, I knew it must be made. Come on, who wouldn’t get excited about “velvet cake” that doesn’t using food coloring?

And it’s good. Unfortunately, aside from a barely noticeable red hue, the POM juice didn’t do much for the color, and the flavor is that of…chocolate cake. I noticed that instead of a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder like most red velvet cakes, this recipe calls for 3/4 cup. No wonder it tastes so chocolately. But fortunately for me, chocolately means good!

Cake Ingredients
juice from 1 large POM Wonderful pomegranate* or 1/2 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup half-and-half

Icing Ingredients
1 cup arils from 1–2 large POM Wonderful pomegranates (Pomegranates aren’t in season, so I skipped this)
12 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 lb. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt

Cake Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare fresh pomegranate juice.*
  3. Line the bases of two round 9” x 2” baking pans with either parchment or wax paper. Grease paper but do not line or grease sides of pans.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in mixing bowl and set aside.
    In a separate mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes at medium speed.
  5. To the bowl with the butter mixture, add eggs one at a time, beating after each one. Add vanilla extract.
  6. Pour half-and-half into a large measuring cup and add in vinegar and pomegranate juice; stir.
    Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix on low speed, alternating with the half-and-half and ending with flour. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
  7. Divide batter into cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cakes test done using a toothpick inserted near the center. The toothpick should be free of wet batter when withdrawn.
  8. Allow cakes to rest in cake pan for 15 minutes or until pans are cold to the touch.
  9. Invert cakes onto a cooling rack.

Icing Preparation

  1. Score 1–2 fresh pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)
  2. Blend cream cheese and butter in mixing bowl.
  3. Add vanilla. Beat at medium speed.
  4. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt. Beat until fluffy.
  5. Place one layer of cake on a cake plate and spread with one third of the icing.
  6. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of arils.
  7. Cover with second layer of cake and ice with remaining icing.
  8. Garnish with remaining arils.

* For 1 cup of juice, cut 2–3 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or juicer. Pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Set the juice aside.

Recipe from POM Wonderful [2].