Merry and Bright: Pomegranate Christmas Cake

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.

Some of you have been asking for a book update (this is for you Linda!).  My due date for completion is about a month away.  I’m VERY excited about the projects I’m working on, and I can’t wait to share them.  I still have much work to do, but I’m enjoying every minute of it.  I’m hoping to create a section on this blog to update book progress and special happenings.  Watch for this to happen very soon!

Pomegranate Christmas Cake                [click to print]

Cake:

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.

Pomegranate 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.

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.

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Heather Ozee
Heather Ozee
10 years ago

It looks amazing! Come to ATL and bring one with you! What kind of camera are you using? I think I read before, but humor me… getting old.

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
10 years ago

Hey Heather! It's a Canon Rebel XS, and I usually use a 50mm lens.

P.S. I'll be right over!

Tiffany @ Conor & Bella
Tiffany @ Conor & Bella
10 years ago

What a beautiful looking cake! And the flavor sounds delightful, too.

I'm looking forward to your book; I really enjoy your blog. 🙂

Caroline
Caroline
10 years ago

The cake is beautiful, I would have never thought to use pomegranates this way. I love the colors a well! Though not edible, you puppy is so adorable, too!

Caitlin
Caitlin
10 years ago

This is so gorgeous and festive-looking!

Lora
Lora
10 years ago

Stunning cake and pictures You styling, as always is perfection. I cannot wait for your book.

linda
linda
10 years ago

thank you so for the book update! very, very exciting!

the cake is just fantastic in appearance & the flavor combinations are just wonderful!

your attention to detail, sophisticated styling & your choice of props make for such beautiful photographs & truly inspire!

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

Bravo lady, first off can I please hand these pictures on my walls! I love the shots here. The detail inside the cake is wonderful and makes it so special. I will for sure be purchasing your book! It will be lovely.

NicNacManiac
NicNacManiac
10 years ago

WOW…this looks absolutely divine!! The topper is gorgeous and your styling…fantastic! I just purchased a Canon Rebel XS last week and I can only hope to capture spectacular images as you have here! You are an inspiration and I really look forward to all of your delicious recipes in one resource! Happy Friday xoxO

The Urban Baker
The Urban Baker
10 years ago

heather, this is one gorgeous cake! you are so inspiring! i love visiting your blog, always puts a smile on my face!

Sue
Sue
10 years ago

This cake looks so beautiful and inviting! I REALLY want a piece! Thanks for the pup's pics too:) I can't wait for your book to come out…now I have something to look forward to after the Christmas letdown:)

Libby
Libby
10 years ago

A Viking cake? I don't expect you to share the recipe, but I'd love to know what that is!

Lili
Lili
10 years ago

Oh my, if only I could reach right through here and help myself to that piece sitting right there on the plate! It looks so exquisite sitting on your scalloped cake pedestal with your striking pomegranate garnish. Can't wait to hear more about your book, are you taking preorders? The Viking cake sounds so intriguing. Sorry to hear about your appliances acting up. I wonder if Santa's helper will get a piece of cake, what a cutie he is! ~Lili

Jessica @ How Sweet
Jessica @ How Sweet
10 years ago

Stunning cake. I love the sparkle!

Megan
Megan
10 years ago

What a stunning cake! I cant wait to hear about the book!

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

Gorgeous cake. I love the frosted touch you put on the cake, really gives it that Christmasy flair!

Holly
Holly
10 years ago

This is such a gorgeous cake!!

Brittany H.
Brittany H.
10 years ago

Girl, this is absolutely stunningly beautiful. And photographed so well. Thanks for sharing this recipe. It's on my to-do list with several other of yours.

X,
http://www.brittanyhavican.blogspot.com

Jennie
Jennie
10 years ago

GORGEOUS cake!!!!! Really well done!

Susan
Susan
10 years ago

Stunning. How do you come up with these?

CaSaundraLeigh
CaSaundraLeigh
10 years ago

I may have to make this for Christmas!

marla {Family Fresh Cooking}
marla {Family Fresh Cooking}
10 years ago

This cake would be the most memorable dessert at a holiday party. Not sure how you kept your hands off this after you photographed it. This recipe sounds amazing & the texture of the cake looks perfect. Your fondant decorations are amazing! The pom/vanilla combo is a win & I would go with the cream cheese frosting too.

Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot
Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot
10 years ago

Beautiful cake Heather! I have recently fallen hard for pomegranate so I must try this! I am loving the staging with the twinkling lights in the background too.

Charisse
Charisse
10 years ago

Wonderful cake and even more beautiful photos! Really Christmas-y! I don't if I would get any baking done with your "little helper" in the kitchen…I would be too busy lovin that pup up! Merry Christmas!

Baking Barrister
Baking Barrister
10 years ago

oh wow that is a gorgeous cake. the fondant pom really brings it alive.

druidaccountforsale
druidaccountforsale
10 years ago

Perfect! That looks creamy and fluffy. I think it would be best if I can bake some like that. Thanks for sharing this recipe , i look forward for more! Love your blog!

Gali
Gali
10 years ago

Lovely cake! Definitely a dessert that would be remembered for years!

once upon a baker
once upon a baker
10 years ago

love it!!! I have awarded your blog with the stylish award!! 🙂 checkout my blog for detail and you can copy and save the stylish award that you can add and be proud of on your blog. you make some amazing thing….drool!
http://www.onceuponabakersblog.blogspot.com

Joanne
Joanne
10 years ago

Wow. This looks absolutely gorgeous. AND delicious. Your photography is fantastic too! I have to try this!!!

Ingrid_3Bs
Ingrid_3Bs
10 years ago

Not only gorgeous but yummy too!
~ingrid

Your little helpers look kinda sad. My Jeter is the same way, sometimes he just looks sad.

anna
anna
10 years ago

Nice! Pomegranate is my favorite fruit and I love the way it soaks and swirls into that cake.

Unknown
Unknown
10 years ago

Ohh that looks so good. The cake look wonderful.

Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes
Scarletta @ Scarletta Bakes
10 years ago

You'll have to excuse me as I wipe the drool off my face…

Just gorgeous!

Thanks so much for this festive and fruit-full recipe!

Pretty. Good. Food.
Pretty. Good. Food.
10 years ago

Wow, that is gorgeous! Beautiful photos and yummy sounding recipe :)!

Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
10 years ago

That cake is magnificent! So delightful.

Happy holidays!

Cheers,

Rosa

Linda W
Linda W
10 years ago

Made the cake today, taking to a Christmas dinner tomorrow!

A Nonny Miss
A Nonny Miss
10 years ago

Pardon me for asking a stupid question… but did you frost between the layers at all?

Salomé
Salomé
9 years ago

He publicado tu receta en Mis Favoritas de esta semana, puedes verlas en
http://blocderecetas.blogspot.com/2011/11/una-navidad-diferente.html
Espero que te guste!

 Carmen.Artesana
Carmen.Artesana
9 years ago

es una maravilla de receta y unas fotos divinas,Felicidades me encanta tu blog.Saludos desde España.

Donna
Donna
9 years ago

Beautiful, I think I will give this a try this Christmas! Just out of curiosity… what is in the little red-sugar rimmed glass?

Christina
Christina
9 years ago

If doing 3 cake layers, do you have to increase the ingredients or just divide the batter evenly into 3 pans? Also can the cake be made a couple days in advance?

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

@Christina: Good Question! Are the amounts listed are for 2 9" layers, or for 3 as in the picture?

I'm looking to make this for Christmas this year, hope mine turns out just as amazing!

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
9 years ago

Hi!

Christina & Anony: You do not have to increase the ingredients. You can use 2 or 3 pans, just divide the batter evenly between them. 3 pans will take less time to cook, so keep an eye on them.

Donna – I believe that was Cranberry vodka.

Thanks!

MarthaQT
MarthaQT
8 years ago

what about using pomegranate molasses for the syrup?

Promise
Promise
8 years ago

Where did you get your cake plate? It looks beautiful with this cake.

Treathyl Fox
Treathyl Fox
7 years ago

I was going through the pins on my Gourmet Pinterest board, checking for broken links and found this one that I had pinned a while ago. I clicked on it. I was so hoping it wasn't a broken link. YAY!!! I'm bookmarking this. I have a daughter who loves to bake. 🙂 Happy holidays! They'll be here and gone before we know it!

WarmFuzzies
WarmFuzzies
7 years ago

What kind of cake is this? (I mean the cake part of the cake). Is it angel food cake, white cake, genoise…?

Heather Baird
Heather Baird
7 years ago

White cake.

Sara Snyder
Sara Snyder
6 years ago

Hi Heather- how would i go about substituting the pomegranate syrup for blackberry syrup? Or would another fruit work better? I made this before with the pomegranate but I'd like to try something different. Thanks!

NOBODY
NOBODY
6 years ago

Oh, lord, this sounds absolutely amazingly delicious!!!! I can understand pooch's pleading eyes!