This holiday season I've been baking more than ever, and my appliances are either rebelling or flat out giving up the ghost. My Kitchen Aid mixer started making an unfamiliar noise yesterday, and my poor cheapo food processor died last week. It's untimely demise was from the thick batter of a viking cake I'm making for the upcoming book. Apropos, don't you think?
I don't even want to talk about my mini chopper (R.I.P.). I really loved that thing.
Though I've clearly had some trials, I've not lost much time working. I've got a really great support system, and Mr. Baird is handy indeed. So, onward to the cake!
I've had the idea for this cake for some time now. While thumbing through some old favorite recipes I came across the beloved Jello "poke cake". This is my version, and though it's not made from a box mix, it's still pretty easy to put together. In place of the jello, pomegranate juice and sugar are simmered together to make a syrup that soaks into the white cake layers. It reminds me of the sweet-tart flavor that a jam cake has.
I frosted the cake with cream cheese icing, but you could switch it out for buttercream if you prefer.
|Santa's little helpers.|
Pomegranate Christmas Cake [click to print]
1 cup milk
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract (clear if you have it)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 2 (I used 3) 9" cake pans with vegetable shortening. Line with parchment and grease paper. Lightly flour the pans; set aside.
Combine milk, egg whites and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk briefly and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture has the appearance of wet sand.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the egg white/milk mixture. Pour the remaining egg white mixture into the flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup of egg white/milk mixture and beat for 1 minute more. Do not over mix.
Divide batter evenly amongst pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cakes cool completely before adding syrup.
1 16 oz. bottle (2 cups) pomegranate juice
1 cup granulated sugar
Combine juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium high until sugar has dissolved and mixture is bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the mixture has become syrupy and thickened.
Let syrup cool slightly.
Using a pastry brush, coat cake tops with syrup and stack. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in cake, making sure to push through all 2 (or 3) layers. Pour remaining syrup into the punched holes. Allow cake to stand for 15 minutes before frosting.
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 sticks butter softened
16 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
Arils from one fresh pomegranate *optional
Combine sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add cream cheese and vanilla. Mix until thick and thoroughly combined. Use immediately to frost cake. Garnish with arils if desired.
Notes: The pomegranate garnish is 1/3 cup ready made fondant mixed with red food coloring, then coated in red sanding sugar and plain granulated sugar. The leaves are made from green fondant also.
Over time, the syrup in the cake will darken to a purplish/red color. Still very pretty and yummy all the same.