Do y'all remember when pomegranates became a thing? Like there was definitely a year, I'm gonna make a stab and say it was 2007, when pomegranates arrived. Suddenly, everyone was walking around drinking those weirdly curvy bottles of "Pom" and saying things like "it's a super food" and "have you heard of this thing called 'twitter'?" Anyway, its been a while since then but I'm glad these little guys got their spot light cause otherwise these cupcakes would probably have been made with cranberries - and no offense to cranberries, but they really aren't that hip.
Also, there's sweet potato in this cupcake, which is kinda cool because how often do you get to eat a cupcake with a root in it? But it works! The brown sugar helps meld the sweet potato flavor with the pomegranate and some orange notes really round the whole thing out. I made these gluten-free because they were for a family thing but you could totally make these babes with tons of gluten - I'll give instructions on all of that in the recipe.
1 cup rice flour*
- 2 T potato starch*
- .5 t xantham gum*
- 1 T baking powder
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1 T nutmeg
- 1/2 T allspice
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1.5 cups pureed baked sweet potato
- 1 cup melted butter, cooled
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt
- Zest of 1 orange
*If you are not making this gluten-free, skip the rice flour, potato starch and xantham gum and instead use 1.5 cups cake flour.
- Heat oven to 350*
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat egg yolks and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about two minutes
- Combine all dry ingredients, including zest, and add half to egg mixture, mix on low to combine
- Combine butter, greek yogurt and sweet potato and add to batter, mix on low to combine
- Add remaining dry mix and beat on low for 2 minutes until well combined
- Scoop into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and crumb free when a toothpick is inserted
- 2 cups pomegranate arils
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 orange's zest and juice
- In a food processor or blender, pulse all ingredients until combined, about 20 seconds
- In a small saucepan bring mixture to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat
- Strain and set aside liquid
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 1 cup cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 t vanilla
- 1/2 t almond
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese for 1 minute
- Sift in powdered sugar, a half cup at a time
- Add zest, vanilla and almond extract and beat for 2 minutes
- If it is too runny add a powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, slit inch deep cuts into the top of the cupcake in the shape of an X. Spoon the pomegranate filling into the cupcakes a teaspoon at a time. You don't need much of the filling because the flavor is so concentrated, so don't worry if you can only get a little bit into the cupcake. Once all the cakes are filled, frost to your liking, and top with some pomegranate seeds!