POM Velvet Cake

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POM Velvet CakeA few months ago, the nice people at POM 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 The toothpick should be free of wet batter when withdrawn.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.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze

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I copied this recipe from the food section of the LA Times a couple of months ago and finally got a chance to make it. I had some leftover milk (I never have milk in my house) and a ton of powdered sugar, so I figured why not continue fattening up my coworkers right before Thanksgiving. They’re always up for sweets.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze

This is good. It’s dense, moist, and has a wonderful flavor. And it’s a little after 9:00 a.m. and one of the loaves is already gone. I think it’s safe to say it has the coworker seal of approval.

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze
Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze
Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Caramel Glaze

Cake Ingredients
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened, plus additional for greasing the pan
1 (1-pound) box dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
5 eggs

Cake Preparation

  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt and stir with a fork; set aside. Into a small bowl, pour the milk and add the vanilla; set aside.
  3. With a mixer, beat the butter at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar in three batches, then add all of the white sugar, beating after each addition. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition.
  4. Reduce the speed to low and add half of the flour mixture and then half the milk, beating until the flour or milk has disappeared into the batter. Add the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk in the same way. Quickly scrape the batter into the tube pan and bake until the cake is nicely browned at the edges, springs back when lightly touched at the center and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and leave it on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. Loosen the cake from the pan with a table knife and turn it out onto a wire rack or plate, then leave it to cool completely. When cool, glaze with caramel glaze.

Glaze Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons half and half (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze Preparation

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  2. Add milk and brown sugar, stir to combine.
  3. Boil vigorously for 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and beat in 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
  5. Cool slightly then beat in the vanilla and remaining powdered sugar, adding more milk if necessary.
  6. Quickly spoon over cake before glaze sets.

Cake recipe from the LA Times, August 22, 2007 (sorry, can’t find the link in their archives).

Glaze recipe from Cupcake Bakeshop.

My notes:

  • I don’t own a tube pan, so I used two loaf pans instead.
  • I didn’t have dark brown sugar, so I used golden brown sugar.
  • The LA Times recipe included a caramel glaze, but it called for evaporated milk which I did not have in my kitchen, so I searched online for a different glaze recipe.

Diet Coke Cupcakes With Vanilla Glaze

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Diet Coke Cupcakes With Vanilla GlazeYes, seriously, Diet Coke. And no, you can’t taste it whatsoever.

I went back to Weight Watchers (about ten pounds from goal!) a few weeks ago and have since heard a zillion people gushing about these cupcakes and decided I had to give them a try. And well, they’re not too bad. Definitely a different texture than cupcakes with the regular ingredients, but nothing to complain about.

If I ever find myself with a major cupcake craving, I might make them again. Of course, they’re not as good as the real thing.

Cake Ingredients
1 box cake mix
1 egg white
1 can Diet Coke

Cake Preparation
Remember, you are substituting the Diet Coke and egg white for the ingredients the box mix calls for–do not add the eggs, oil, etc.

  1. Preheat oven as directed on box.
  2. Beat cake mix, egg white, and one can of Diet Coke.
  3. Fill lined cupcake trays.
  4. Bake as directed on box. (I set the timer for a couple minutes less and checked on them. They were done.)
  5. Remove cupcakes from tray and let cool.
  6. Drizzle glaze over cupcakes, allow glaze to set.

Glaze Ingredients
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Glaze Preparation
Mix powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. If glaze is too thick, add more milk.

Note: If you’re using a white or yellow mix, use Diet 7-Up or another clear diet soda.

Toffee Cupcakes With Caramel Frosting

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Toffee Cupcakes with Caramel FrostingThere are good, but not great. The cupcakes are quite moist, but pretty bland. The frosting is super sweet, and sort of overpowers the simplicity of the cupcake. The cupcake recipe suggested making either caramel frosting, buttercream frosting, or chocolate fudge frosting. I think if I were to make these again, I’d use chocolate frosting.

[Edited to add: My coworkers give these a thumbs up. Apparently I’m in the minority.]

Also, the frosting recipe said to stir 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened. However, I couldn’t get it to thicken very much, and was afraid if I kept it on the heat the caramel would burn. Consequently, it ended up more of a caramel ice cream topping consistency than a frosting consistency. But it still tasted good, albeit really sweet.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 egg whites
2/3 buttermilk
2/3 cup toffee bits

  1. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together brown sugar and butter until well combined. Add egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of buttermilk, beating until smooth. Add toffee bits, beating until smooth.
  3. Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Top cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Yields one dozen.

1 cup whipping (35% cream)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt

  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir until smooth and pour into a bowl. Let cool in bowl, stirring occasionally. Caramel will thicken further as it sits and cools.
  3. Stir cooled caramel well and spread or spoon over cooled cupcakes.

My notes:

  • Make the frosting before the cupcakes so it has time to cool.
  • Don’t be lame like me and put the frosting in an aluminum bowl to cool. Duh.

Recipes from 125 Best Cupcake Recipes.

Sugar Cookies with Powdered Sugar Glaze

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Sugar Cookies with Powdered Sugar GlazeThis is the first and only sugar cookie recipe I’ve ever used. I found it a few years ago and have been in love with it ever since. The cookie is not super sweet, so the glaze is a very nice addition while not overpowering.

I made these for tomorrow’s Yom Kippur break-the-fast. They look so cute and taste delicious.

Cookie Ingredients
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Cookie Preparation

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Makes about a gazillion five dozen.

Glaze Ingredients
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter, sofened
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla, if desired
food coloring

Glaze Preparation

  1. Combine powdered sugar, water, butter, corn syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix until powdered sugar is moistened.
  2. Beat at medium speed until smooth, adding additional water if necessary.
  3. Tint with food coloring.

My notes:

    I separate the dough into three separate pieces of plastic wrap before it goes in the fridge. The dough gets sticky and hard to work with if it’s out of the fridge for a long time. So this way, I only have a third of it to roll out at once, leaving the remainder keeping cool in the fridge.

Cookie recipe from All Recipes. Glaze recipe is from who knows where–it was handwritten on a piece of scrap paper a few years ago and has the vanilla stains to show for it.

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