Pomegranate Cupcakes

Yield 1 dozen

½ cup oil
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1½ cups flour
½ cup pomegranate juice

Pomegranate Glaze
1½ cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons pomegranate juice, divided
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a standard (12-cup) cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium speed, beat together oil and sugar until smooth and creamy.

3. Add vanilla, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and eggs. Beat until combined.

4. Alternately add half the flour and half the pomegranate juice, beating after each addition until incorporated.

5. Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling each cup about three-quarters full.

6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until the tops are set. Remove from oven; cool completely before glazing.

7. Prepare the glaze: In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice; mix until smooth. Gradually add an additional 1-3 teaspoons juice if needed to form a thick but spreadable glaze.

8. Dip the tops of the cooled cupcakes into the glaze, allowing excess to drip back into the bowl. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

Variation: The flavors of pomegranate and chocolate go really well together, so you can frost these with chocolate fudge frosting.

Plan Ahead: These cupcakes freeze well in an airtight container. For best results, freeze them without the glaze and add it just before serving, but you can glaze them before freezing if necessary. Be sure to let the glaze set before you cover the cupcakes.

Recipe from Something Sweet by Miriam Pascal, reproduced with permission from ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications