When it comes to domestic bakers, there are cupcake people and there are cookie people.  (There are also those oddball brownie people out there, too, but their numbers are fewer.)  I, Caitlin, am a cookie person.

Name every cookie you can think of in 30 seconds.  Go ahead.

I've probably made them all at some point in my baking life. 

But cupcakes, on the other hand, are unfamiliar territory for me.  I have never made cupcakes for birthdays, for parties or potlucks.  Although I certainly admire their fluffy whipped all-around cuteness, cupcakes just usually aren't my bag, baby.

But a few weeks ago, to my surprise and delight, the good folks at POM Wonderful found this blog somehow and contacted me with an interesting proposition:  they would send me a free bottle of their new POM Concentrate if I used it in a recipe for their Valentine's Day Cupcake Contest.

I said yes.  Emboldened by the challenge, I armed myself with the huge bottle you see below, and launched headfirst into CupcakeLand. 

Firstly, since it's Valentine's Day and all, I wanted to conjure up a cake/frosting combo to fit the holiday.  Romance, seduction...something ritzy and unexpected.

Strawberry-pomegranate?  Hmm...too acidic.

Dark chocolate-pomegranate?  Nehhh...overdone.

What about....champagne?  Oooh, yeah!  YEAH!  Champagne cake!  With white chocolate?!  Yes!  And pomegranate!  Phew.  Done.  That was actually the easy part.

The harder detail was figuring out a catchy name.

Valentine's Day Cupcakes?  Lame.

Cupid's Cupcakes?  Ugh, worse.

Fuego de Amor Cupcakes, Kissy Cupcakes?  Lord, no.  Thank goodness my roommate Oscar waltzed into the kitchen at that point.

"Oh there's that champagne/pomegranate cocktail...what's the name of it?  The Ruby Dutchess?  That would be a good name," he suggested casually.  After a quick search online, I discovered that yes, it was real, and it even originated in New York's Dutchess County, of which Poughkeepsie is the county seat.  Come on now...Poughkeepsie and romance?  Synonymous.

Thanks Osckie.  Your check is in the mail.


Champagne Cake:
2 2/3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsalted room-temp butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup champagne (spumante works well)
1 egg + 5 egg whites

White Chocolate Pomegranate Buttercream Frosting:
2 sticks unsalted room-temp butter
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
7 tsp POM Wonderful Concentrate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with baking cups.  Then, prepare the batter. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the white sugar and butter and fold in the champagne. Then slowly stir in the flour mixture. In a third bowl, beat eggs for 3-5 minutes and gently add to the batter.

Fill baking cups 2/3 full with batter,

and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Who cares if the tops get messy?  They'll be slathered with frosting soon enough and the secret will be yours.

Meanwhile, make the buttercream frosting. Place a heat-proof bowl over a pot of boiling water and add white chocolate chips; stir gently until they have melted through and then remove them from heat. In another bowl, combine butter, vanilla, and melted white chocolate. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, until the frosting begins to fluff and thicken.  Finally, add POM concentrate and beat frosting to desired texture.

I love the designs an electric mixer makes.  They always remind me of Turkish ebru.

When the cupcakes have finished baking and cooling, top them with buttercream to your heart's content.  A sprinkling of red decorating sugar adds sparkle.

And here she is, the lady dressed for the ball:

If you get a wild hair, check out Miss Ruby Dutchess on the POM Wonderful website and vote for her February 14th-28th.

Happy Valentine's Day, lovers.


  1. Wonderful! I bet they were fantastic :)

  2. Yum, these look good! I'm a cookie person, too. But, I have been getting more into cupcakes lately. I think it is a requirement of motherhood. Again, I'm happy to have discovered your blog! :)

  3. Thank you so much! I had a blast making these, even if I am a cookie person. And yes, cupcakes do seem to be a requirement of motherhood--I remember my own mom making cupcakes for birthdays, baseball games, school events...she made them more than any other dessert!

  4. Caitlin - These look fabulous! I never thought to use pomegranate (or POM juice) in cupcakes. I'll have to give it a try. Thank you for befriending on Foodbuzz.

  5. I am with you in the cookies versus cupcakes camp. I enjoy cookies much more than cupcakes, although cupcakes are all the rage now. I like that you kept your recipe simple with a little splash of your own choice ingredient. Great job!

    We invite you to share this post and some of your favorite posts on Food Frenzy.
    Please check out our community at http://blogstew.net/foodfrenzy

  6. Thank you! The champagne really adds an interesting dimension to the cake--I wasn't sure how if I'd actually be able to taste it, but the flavor really comes through!

  7. Love the cupcake, love the twist, love the name. What if you're a cupcake-cookie-brownie eater?

  8. Belinda, if you are a cupcake-cookie-brownie person, you're just plain lucky!! :)

  9. Pretty cool idea adding pomegranate juice to cupcakes...sweet with a kick of anti-oxidants, so good for you. In other news, I too confess to being a cookie person.

  10. The pomegranate juice sounds wonderful! I'm a cupcake person! And a cookie person....and a brownie person....you get the idea! Great recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Cait! I totally just plugged your cupcakes over at Miscreant Misadventures! http://evilmiscreant.blogspot.com/2011/02/hey-everyone-my-friend-cait-over-at.html

    I wish I was more of a cupcake person...I've always been a pie girl...

  12. Thanks Marzipan!! They revamped the voting system today, and had to set everyone's votes back to zero to be fair--booo! So now I have to do campaigning all over again...thanks for your help!! :)



Blog Template by