My friend Justin recently sent me a meme joking about how the rest of the country celebrates fall while we in California don't. We do, it's just a little late. Some trees will shed their leaves and the temperatures are relatively warmer but it's still autumn. My pomegranate and fig trees will shed their leaves soon and I will anxiously wait for them to breathe back to life next year but till then I will indulge and immerse myself in seasonal pies and flavors.
And then there are pomegranates! Pomegranates are one of the most beautiful fruits to behold during a season that's usually enveloped in shades of yellow to brown. This pink fruit stands out in every way possible. The perfect balance of color, sweet and tartness enclosed in a ball.
This layer cake is my ode to the pomegranate. It draws inspiration from the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the South, it's a cake as diverse as its flavors. Sticky sweet pomegranate molasses in crème fraîche, a cinnamon sponge cake made with crème fraîche and a simple syrup of honey bourbon to flavor the cake.
This sponge cake is made with whole-wheat pastry flour from Bob’s Red Mill's . It's probably one of the best whole-grain pastry flour mixes I've baked with because it's light and the gluten content is low enough to work with in cakes and pastries, and the resulting cake texture it produces is always impeccable and delicate just like it did in this cake.
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake;
- In this genoise sponge cake, folding the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients will cause some deflation of the foam, be quick and fold carefully but don't worry if you lose a little volume.
- When adding the pomegranate molasses to the crème fraîche, taste and adjust the amount as needed since it is a sweet yet tart liquid with a lot of flavor packed into a tiny spoonful.
- I recommend keeping this cake in the refrigerator if you can't finish it up the day of, since the acidity of the pomegranate molasses can break down the crème fraîche over time.
- If you have access to Brazilian Pinga Com Mel then try and flavor your cake with that versus honey bourbon. It's a honey based alcohol which is delicious!!!
for the cinnamon sponge cake
yields: 2 X 9 inch cakes
2 cups (228g) sifted Bob's Red Mill whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 large eggs
1/5 cups (300g) superfine baking sugar
2/3 cup whipped crème fraîche
1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 350F. Line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and keep aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt three times in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. Using the whip attachment whisk the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Then in a slow steady stream pour the sugar from the side of the bowl while continuing to whisk the eggs for about 5 to 6 minutes until the eggs turn pale yellow in color and the entire mixture gets thick in consistency.
4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the eggs and fold with an outward to inward motion using a silicone spatula. Then fold 1/2 of the whipped crème fraîche. Repeat and fold in 1/3 flour and remaining crème fraîche. Fold in the remaining flour and divide and transfer the batter equally to the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch. Remove from oven and allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 5 to 6 minutes, then run a pairing knife between the edges of the cake and the pan and transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. At this point you can also wrap the cakes with cling film and freeze for up to a month before using.
for the bourbon syrup
yields: 1 cup
3/4 cup simple syrup (1:1 mixture of sugar and water)
1/4 cup honey bourbon
1. Mix the simple syrup and honey bourbon together in a small saucepan and bring the contents of the pan to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 minutes with occasional stirring. Remove from stove and transfer to a container and refrigerate to chill before use.
for the pomegranate molasses frosting
16 ounces (454g) crème fraîche
1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 1/2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl on ice, whisk all the ingredients for about 2 to 3 minutes until firm peaks form.
Preparing the cake
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Take one cooled cake and place on a cake stand. Spray/brush the surface of the cake generously with the bourbon syrup. Place half of the pomegranate crème fraîche mixture and spread to cover the surface of the cake with an offset spatula. Place the second cake over the frosted cake and repeat. Garnish with pomegranate arils and dust with cinnamon. Allow the cake to rest for about 20 minutes before serving. This cake will last for a day or two.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Bob's Red Mill, however all opinions expressed are solely my own.