We try to keep our recipe ideas simple and easy, but there is one time of the year that often calls for a rolling up of sleeves and getting flour on your face. Christmas is such a joyous and exciting time of year. We love baking, cooking, and creating new dishes and at this time of the year we get to go a little crazy!
Pomegranate Christmas Cake
Ingredients for the Cake and Layers:
6 large eggs, room temp (if cold, put them in warm water 15 min)
1 cup sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
Ingredients for Pomegranate Topping:
6 ounces (3/4 cup) pomegranate juice (Jala)
2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder (I used Knox brand)
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 Tbsp Sugar
Seeds of one large Pomegranate (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups)
Ingredients for syrup:
1 1/2 cups Pomegranate Juice (POM brand)
2 Tbsp sugar
Ingredients For the Pomegranate Cream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
16 oz (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened to room temp and cut into 16 pieces
4 Tbsp of Pomegranate juice (POM brand)
Making your Cake:
1. Preheat Oven to 180˚C. Butter the bottoms and sides of two 9″ cake pans and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
2. Combine 6 eggs and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of your electric mixer and beat on high speed for 12 minutes or until tripled in volume and fluffy. Sift in 1 cup all-purpose flour and fold it in with a spatula just until all of the flour is incorporated. Drizzle in 1/2 tsp vanilla and blend together. Remember that you are relying on the fluffy air-infused batter for the cake to rise. DO NOT OVERMIX or your cake won’t rise well.
4. Transfer your batter to your buttered and lined cake pans. Set aside.
5. Bake at 180˚C for 25-28 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean (poke the side, not the center so your center won’t cave) and don’t open the oven until 25 minutes have past. Let the cakes cool down on wire racks, then remove from the pans.
Making the Syrup for the soaking the cake Layers:
1. Combine 1 1/2 cups Pomegranate Juice (POM brand) with 2 Tbsp sugar and stir to combine. Set aside to and stir occasionally until sugar is all dissolved.
Making the Frosting:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the 2 sticks of butter with 3 cups powdered sugar and salt on low speed or until combined (1 min) Don’t start on high speed or you will be surrounded in a cloud of powdered sugar (lessons learned). Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy (2 min).
2. Add cream cheese 1-piece at a time and mix until combined. (I waited maybe 3 seconds in between each piece; toss them in one after another. Once all of the cream cheese is incorporated, scrape down the sides and continue to beat 1 more minute on med/high speed. The cream should be smooth and lump-free.
3. Add 4 Tbsp POM juice, 1 Tbsp at a time and mix on medium speed until combined (1 min). Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.
Assembling your Cake:
1. Cut the cake layers in half so you end up with 4 layers. Place the first layer, cut-side-up on your serving platter. Brush 1/4 of the POM/sugar syrup over the first layer. Frost the top. Do this with all 4 layers. You only need a very small amount of frosting on the very top of the cake since you are going to have the Pomegranate topping (and you’ll need the extra for the topping).
2. Wipe any excess syrup from the cake platter, then frost the sides. I used My large Wilton 1M star tip. You want a border that will contain a generous layer of pomegranate topping.
Refrigerate your cake for at least 30 minutes before adding the pomegranate topping.
Pomegranate Topping (make this after your cake is done and in the fridge):
1. Place 3/4 cup of JALA juice in a small sauce pan, add 1 Tbsp vanilla and sprinkle in 2 tsp gelatin. Let stand 1 minute to soften gelatin before putting it on the heat.
2. Whisk in 2 Tbsp sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and mixture is steaming.
3. Remove from heat and let it cool down a bit (or transfer into a mixing bowl if you don’t want to wait for the ice bath) then set the saucepan into a larger bowl of ice water, stirring gently until it is cold and slightly thickened but not set. It doesn’t take long so stay with it. Remove from the ice bath.
4. Stir in pomegranate seeds and immediately spoon topping onto the chilled cake. Refrigerate your cake until the topping is set (about 1 hour).
Wine Pairing – Bald Hills 2011 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir
This has a soft yet blossoming bouquet of dark red cherry fruit and red plums which match perfectly with the slightly tart pomegranate. Being a medium-full bodied wine, it’s the perfect balance with this sweet beautiful cake!