Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pomegranate Molasses Cupcakes


I was in the syrup and molasses section in the grocery store the other day and found a bottle of pomegranate molasses.  I happen to love pomegranates, so I picked up the bottle to inspect it closer. The product I found is from Lebanon.  A quick search on pomegranate molasses brought up a cake recipe from the New York Times.  Apparently, pomegranate molasses is a very common ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes.  It's so exciting to use exotic or unusual ingredients, so I decided to give it a go.


I tasted a bit of the dark, viscous liquid from the bottle and it's quite sour (I can only imagine what sort of attractive pucker face I made).  However, it adds a nice dimension to cake that was absent in the other pomegranate cupcakes that I made. I added some slivered almonds, but you could just as easily leave them out.

Pomegranate Molasses Cupcakes - Adapted from the NY Times - Makes 4 dozen mini-cupcakes
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 T pomegranate molasses
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line cupcake pan with paper liners.  
  2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix together with a whisk and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and well-mixed. 
  4. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter and sugar mixture scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that it's all getting mixed.
  5. Alternate adding the flour and the milk to the mixture in the large bowl.  
  6. Add in the molasses and mix well.
  7. If desired, stir in the almonds.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full of batter and bake for 13-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  For regular-sized cupcakes, the baking time will be increased.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I decided to top these with a vanilla buttercream.  I thought that it would be too overwhelming to have the molasses in the frosting as well.

Vanilla Buttercream
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (approximately 1 lb) confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 T milk
  1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time to the butter.  Beat until combined, and then mix on high speed for 15 seconds to keep the frosting nice and fluffy.
  3. Once all of the sugar has been mixed into the butter, add the vanilla.  Mix until well combined.
  4. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you achieve a desired consistency for spreading.

Lastly, I thought that it would be fun to put some pomegranate molasses on the almonds with some sugar as a little topping for the cupcakes.  It was easy to make, but the final product can get sort of sticky.

Pomegranate Molasses Almonds
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 4 tsp sugar
  1. In a small skillet on medium heat, add the almonds, molasses, and sugar.  Stir with a wooden spoon until the molasses and sugar coats the almonds.  Keep stirring until the sugar melts.  This should only take a couple of minutes. 
  2. Remove from heat and allow the almonds to cool on a plate or cookie sheet. 

I kept the almonds in a tupperware container until right before the cupcakes were served and then put a couple on each cupcake.  A nice tangy treat to top off the sweetness of the frosting.


I highly recommend giving these cupcakes a try if you can get your hands on some pomegranate molasses.  Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of the bottle....


  1. Great idea. I've used pomegranate molasses before but never thought to put it in a cupcake. They look lovely.

  2. pomegranate molasses can be subbed for regular molasses in cookie recipes I have found. It is also really delicious added to unsweetened applesauce for a tasty snack. It makes a lovely addition to bbq sauce as well.



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