chocolate POM cupcakes

Before I say anything else, I have to say one thing: wow. You guys are something.

I still get a little choked up when I think about your comments on that last post—from you who, for the most part, do not know me or my family. You hear bloggers saying all the time how overwhelmed they get when these readers—strangers, in a lot of ways—come around them and wrap them in kindness and empathy and friendship, and I feel like I understand that now. I just can’t say thank you enough, so, again, thank you.

That said, you’ve been so kind to take part in the giveaway (two more days left! ending Saturday!) and to talk with me about Grandma, and the whole time with not a recipe in sight, so that here it is Thursday already, and I’m pulling out these cupcakes, so believe me when I say, these are not just any cupcakes.

POM juice

First, they’re made with POM Wonderful juice—do you know it? The people behind it sent me a case last week, along with three typed pages detailing the health benefits (to name a few: antioxidants, better blood flow, decrease in arterial plaque in elderly patients, good for your overall heart health), and that alone was enough to make me curious. As far as taste, it’s reminiscent of cranberry juice, or it has the texture of cranberry juice, which is strange to say because I didn’t realize there was a distinct texture to the juice until I tried this, and there’s almost a slight fizzy quality, even though it’s totally and only 100% POM Wonderful juice (Wonderful, by the way, refers to the type of pomegranate).

And as if health benefits and good taste weren’t enough, this juice has one more thing going for it, and it’s a thing you’re going to guess pretty easily: it makes some really good chocolate cupcakes.

cupcakes unfrosted

As someone who makes just fine cupcakes on a regular basis, what I’ve been needing, I’ve thought for a while now, is a recipe that is as easy as baking cookies but with results far better. And, thanks to the makers of POM juice, I’ve found it.

I am so excited about these cupcakes. For one thing, they’re easy, easy, easy. You don’t even need a mixer (Did you hear that, a certain non-baking, we-don’t-even-have-sugar-in-our-house, but-I-inspire-the-world-with-my-vegetables friend? This is the baking beginning! The first step in something great!). Also, they’re flawless—moist and dense without being heavy, chocolatey with nuances of something akin to cranberry or cherry. And when you bring one to your mouth, pulling its fluffy little dome out of the paper wrapper, the wonderful bakery smell all over your kitchen, you will forget every bad cupcake you’ve ever made, I swear.

frosting in le creuset

(Interruption: My Le Creuset Lucy has a friend, pictured above and name to be determined, that my mom found at a knick-knack shop, Tuesday Morning, recently, from where she called me, saying it was on sale and did I want it? Then later, when I tried to pay her back, she wouldn’t let me. Moms are great.)

one cupcake

cupcakes cupcakes

The cupcakes themselves require no eggs and no butter, but you’d never know it from the moist and rich insides, and, bonus, you can lick the pan to your heart’s content! (and I did!) The frosting, also made with pomegranate juice, does require butter, but you could substitute if you’d like, and the whole effect is just, well, wonderful—ha! I couldn’t resist.

POM Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from

Juice from 2-3 large POM Wonderful pomegranates,* or 1 cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water, heated to boiling
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons vinegar (not wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon vanilla

Pomegranate Chocolate Frosting:
Juice from 1 large POM Wonderful Pomegranate,* or cup POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
6 tablespoons butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
milk (if desired, to thin out frosting)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in the center.

If making your own pomegranate juice, prepare.* Place a paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-sized muffin cups.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients to combine well. Set aside.

In a very large measuring cup, combine pomegranate juice and boiling water. Add oil, vinegar and vanilla to the pomegranate juice mixture. Add this to the flour mixture all at once and whisk to combine; you’ll notice the batter seems thick and a little lumpy.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, about half (or a little more) full each. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and free of crumbs.

Let cool completely before frosting.

Pomegranate Chocolate Frosting:
If making your own, prepare fresh pomegranate juice.*

In a saucepan, bring pomegranate juice and butter to a boil.

Remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate chips. Next, add vanilla and powdered sugar, stirring until the mixture is like the consistency of frosting. (You can add milk to thin it out, if needed; I either used very little or none at all, and I’m sorry I can’t remember more specifically!)

* For each cup of juice, you’ll want to cut 2 to 3 POM Wonderful pomegranates in half and juice them with a citrus reamer or a juicer, then pour it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer/sieve.

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 42 Comments

  1. Alejandra

    These look incredible! And the fact that they have no eggs or butter is amazing. When I got my shipment of pomegranate juice, I used it to make baby back ribs. But now I wish I’d baked with it. Can’t wait to try this out!

  2. novelista barista

    WOW those look SO GOOD!

  3. Emily

    Wait. No eggs! That’s crazy-talk!

  4. Patti Londre

    Guess what, they sent me a case of juice last week, too. Finishing up my draft on what I made with it, will tweet when done!

  5. montague

    pom and chocolate? yes please!

  6. Jacqui

    shanna, you’re (POM) wonderful. but, well…i don’t own a muffin pan. [hides face in shame.]

    i think i can tackle banana bread, though. except…i don’t have a loaf pan. or a cake pan. can i make banana bread in a casserole dish?

  7. rachel

    Ooo i have some in the fridge! love POM… :) my hubs brings me home the tea once in a while as a special treat…. the boys I have now aren’t fans of cupcakes…. but I am! lol. :)

  8. Lan

    i know i tend to tell you that i don’t like certain things that you use to cook with (remember the whole rhubarb thing… that went all to ish, didn’t it? or my aversion to carrots…) so it shouldn’t surprise you when i say that i don’t like pomegranate or the juice. and i don’t have a real reason as to why (unlike my dislike of carrots being that i was forced to consume it alot as a kid to improve my eyesight). however, i like the versatile-ness of this recipe, oranges go well with chocolate, one could subsitute with concentrated OJ.. or strawberries. or cherries.

    i was just looking at your red le crueset and wondering if it was Lucy’s new friend. :) your mom is so awesome. this maybe before your time but do you recall the show My So Called Life? Angela Chase was the protagonist and had dyed her hair a fire engine red, and Jordan Catalano sang her a song called Red. she assumed it was about her but it was really about his red car. moral of the story: make sure the guy who sang a song called Red to you doesn’t have a red car before thinking the song is about your red hair and Angie is such an awful name for a pot. haha!

  9. Lan

    correction in my comment:
    i meant to say “Angie *isn’t* such an awful name fo a pot”

  10. Laura

    Great idea! I have often wondered about pomegranate juice but have never encountered a recipe that uses it. Thanks!

  11. Tracy

    These look so delicious, I love all things pomegranate. I have started with the pom juice and love it, then I recently was introduced to pomegranate based skin care by pomega5, wow…

    There is something in pomegranates which make me go wild but the skin care makes my boyfriend go wild… he loves the scent and the fact that it is very green. He is a greentech frick, deals with solar all day long.

    I suggest that you girls go to wholefoods and try the pomega5 products that are made of omega 5 oil…we all deserve a good no calories treat.

    Tracy Albertson

  12. Lana

    Did not know that there is such thing as omega 5 oil? can you eat it? bake with it? pomeganate based skin care? pomega5? please tell me more.



  13. Joanna

    I LOVE pomegranates. I can’t eat cupcakes though, but I am going to try these for my family tomorrow. I’m home visiting in PA this week.

  14. Sprouted Kitchen

    these looks wonderful! i got a case from them as well, and have yet to try something out. So far i made myself a slushie with two, but that is FAR from post worthy 😉 SO glad i found your blog, i love it!!

  15. Kim

    Ok, lady, I think I’m going to try these. I love POM Wonderful – I’m glad you got a chance to try it! :-)

    PS – I am totally drooling over the carrot soup you linked to…ok, and the cupcakes.

  16. postcollegecook

    Oh yummmm! Pomegranates are totally the best. I always look forward to the winter – okay not really – but buying pomegranates at the grocery store is definitely a perk of winter!

  17. LPB

    I love pomegranates and would have never thought I could combine with my love for chocolate! I am definitely trying these cupcakes – thanks!

  18. Shannalee

    Alejandra – Baby back ribs! It never occurred to me to use the juice in something like that – love it!

    Novelista, Thank you so much!

    Emily, Right? Any chocolate recipe that lets me lick the bowl is A+ in my book, you know?

    Patti, Looking forward to seeing what you did with the juice! Glad to know you on Twitter now, too!

    Montague, I know! Match made in heaven.

    Jacqui, You are priceless. It’s a good thing you’re getting married because I have one word for you: registry. I hope every blessed baking product finds its way into white-and-silver-wrapped packages for you guys. Meanwhile, I say go for the casserole-pan bread/muffin/cake. If nothing else, you’ll have a good story and science experiment. I’d love to see what happens!

    Rachel, The boys don’t like cupcakes!!?? I can’t get past that statement. So. Sad.

    Lan, Ah! Your comments are the best! They always make me smile. Love your story and love the suggestion for Angie for the pot. It’s the front runner at present, but I’ll keep you updated. PS – I understand about not like the juice, but, Lan, the health benefits! At least stay open-minded to other forms of pomegranate stuff, OK? My dad gave me some chocolate-covered pomegranate fruits, and you’d never know. Swear.

    Laura, I think this is a perfection introduction. At least it was for me. Try it!

    Tracy, I don’t know much about pomega, but your comment about its making your boyfriend go wild made me laugh out loud. Thank you for that.

    Lana, Wish I could help! Maybe Tracy will come back and clue us in.

    Joanna, Hope you’re having a great time with the family! I think it’s so sweet that you’ll bake for them when you can’t enjoy the results. That’s love.

    Sprouted Kitchen, I’m so excited to have you stopping by here and commenting and saying such nice things. Your blog is STUNNING.

    Kim, Try it! (And I love that carrot soup. As soon as it gets cold again–not that I am in any way wishing for that–it will be soups all over the place.)

    Postcollegecook, LOL about winter. I understand. And you have me excited about winter pomegranates, which I don’t think I’ve ever bought fresh – making a mental note!

    LPB, It’s such a good pairing, as natural as cherry and chocolate. Would love to hear how you like it!

  19. Niki

    I am between boy friends now but Tracy’s commnet is indeed very funny. I know that I can win a a man’s heart with a good chocolate cake, but pomegranate seed oil skin care? never tried it before…where do you rub it? LOL…

    I am going to look into the pomgea5 web site, Tracy, where are you? any clues to the single ladies out there?

  20. Kimi

    Yes tracy do tell it all….

  21. Niki

    OMG, these look fantastic! I got some POM from them a while back, but haven’t yet made anything w/ them! i’ve been wanting to try these, but haven’t cuz i was a tinsy bit scared. I know, silly right? well, they look good and now that i know you love them, maybe I can be a little less fearful and make them already!!!!

  22. Jacqui

    haha every time i think of my wedding registry (i almost typed wedding wegistry, it’s definitely time for the weekend!) i get way too excited. i didn’t even think about adding baking stuff to it. but think of the possibilities! kitchen aid mixer! muffin tin! cookie sheets! a rolling pin! maybe i will get into this baking thing after all…

  23. Alicia

    Sometimes it kills me to read your blog, because everything just looks too good to read about and not eat. These are like, my dream come true. I HAVE to make them.

    I’m taking a break from drinking for a very long while right now (health reasons), and for the record, I think the texture of pomegranate juice is the closest thing to wine that isn’t wine. My mom bought me some and serves it to me in a wine glass. So cute :)

  24. Kimi

    Tracy — Got it, I read the information on and now I understand the magic of pomegranates. So there is juice and great skin care and ice cream and martinis. How about nutraceuticals?

    Omega 5 oil is so rich in antioxidants and is sugarless, that’s it.


  25. Shannalee

    Niki & Kimi – Hilarious that this convo is still going on!

    Niki, Don’t be scared at all! Could not be simpler, and so good!

    Jacqui, The fact that wegistry made me laugh out loud is probably further confirmation that we’re ready for it to be Friday! And you DON’T HAVE A ROLLING PIN!? Every time I think I’ve wrapped my mind around your lack-of-baking-supply, you amaze me further. I could see you getting really into quiche – right? – that makes the rolling pin worthwhile alone!

    Alicia, Great illustration comparing pomegranate juice with wine, and I’m glad you’ve found a substitute for now, although sorry for the reasons and all the changes that go along with them. (PS, from someone who never drinks because of health/habit/taste reasons, you won’t miss it eventually, swear. and we can be the pop-drinkers together.)

  26. Joanna

    So the fam liked the cupcakes. One of the members who will remain nameless claimed they were “weird” and yet when I got up late at night to use the restroom I found him eating a second AND third cupcake. :)

  27. Shannalee

    LOL, Jo – thanks for the update! And to the unnamed family member’s credit, I’m also guilty of eating more of things I think are a little different, especially if there’s chocolate involved. You are so sweet to bake for them – I’m sure they’ll be sad when you have to go back home!

  28. Kimi

    Hey Shannalee —

    What ever happened to Tracy and her pomegranate seed oil skin care story. Eager to test it on a new boy friend.

    Any thoughts on the pomega5 line web site?


  29. Susan

    Bookmarking this one!

  30. Jessica

    Oh my gosh that looks amazing. Pom juice? I would NEVER have thought about that. Great pictures.

  31. Shannalee

    Susan – Awesome!

    Jessica – Thank you and I know, right? So good, though.


    OooooooI’ve been wanting to make a similar recipe. Thanks for sharing. Looks wonderful. I’m just learning now the science of baking. How does the cake have structure with no eggs? What does the vinegar do? The boiling water? Baking just fascinates me now. Although I have no sweet tooth, I still enjoy baking for others.

  33. Shannalee

    Angela – I totally agree! If we’d talked about things like these in high school science, I might have paid more attention!

  34. Pingback: always a right time | corn chowder | food loves writing

  35. Melissa

    Finally got around to baking these today! They are awesome! Thanks so much for sharing and can’t wait to try out some more new recipes!

  36. Shannalee

    Yay! I’m so glad you liked them!

  37. Miriam

    Mmmmm… I made these on Sunday and they were/are delicious.
    My only comment is that my frosting went crazy. I double checked my measuring but i yield’d loads of very runny frosting, so much so i had to ditch it and use my own receipe frosting. Should it have been very runny?
    I brought the remainder in to work today and shared them out. They were gone in 30secs!!!

  38. Shannalee

    Miriam! I am so sorry about the frosting! This is exactly how I made it, and it held together without getting runny—the only thing I can think is maybe the mixture didn’t come to a full boil first? I wish I could be of more help! But either way, you did exactly what you should: used your head and came up with an alternative solution. Glad you all enjoyed these!

  39. Katy

    I tried to make these this afternoon. Cupcakes were LOVELY but the frosting just would not work for me :( It was so watery that I ended up taking out half of the liquid after adding about 4 cups of powdered sugar. Then I added like 3 more cups and finally got something that resembled frosting. My sister only had margarine, could that have been the problem? The recipe says “cup” of juice. Is it really supposed to be a cup or actually supposed to be less? Aw. Let me know. Thanks!

  40. Shannalee

    Hey Katy, Glad you enjoyed the cupcakes, but I’m so sorry the frosting turned out running for you. The last commenter said something very similar, so you’re definitely not alone. The original recipe that I based it off of is here, if that helps at all.

  41. Katy

    Aw, thanks. We are loving them anyways! They are delicious. Sorry I missed the comment right before my own, reading that would have saved us time!… Anyways, I love your blog. Thank you for writing beauty into the world.

  42. Shannalee

    Katy, What a nice thing to say! I love the idea of writing beauty into the world and wish that I will.

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