Pomegranate Christmas Cake

Cake:

1 cup milk

6 egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract (clear if you have it)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter softened


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease 2 (I used 3) 9" cake pans with vegetable shortening. Line with parchment and grease paper. Lightly flour the pans; set aside.

Combine milk, egg whites and vanilla extract in a small bowl.  Whisk briefly and set aside.  Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Add softened butter and mix on low speed until the mixture has the appearance of wet sand.

Set aside 1/2 cup of the egg white/milk mixture.  Pour the remaining egg white mixture into the flour mixture and beat for 2 minutes.  Add the 1/2 cup of egg white/milk mixture and beat for 1 minute more. Do not over mix.

Divide batter evenly amongst pans.  Bake for 30-35 minutes  Let cakes cool completely before adding syrup.


Pomegranate syrup:

1 16 oz. bottle (2 cups) pomegranate juice

1 cup sugar

Combine juice and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Heat on medium high until sugar has dissolved and mixture is bubbling.  Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the mixture has become syrupy and thickened slightly.

Let syrup cool slightly

Using a pastry brush, coat cake tops with syrup and stack.  Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in cake, making sure to push through all 2 (or 3) layers.  Pour remaining syrup into the punched holes.   Allow cake to stand for 15 minutes before frosting.


Frosting:

4 cups confectioners' sugar

2 sticks butter softened

16 oz. cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

Arils from one fresh pomegranate *optional

Combine sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Add cream cheese and vanilla.  Mix until thick and thoroughly combined.  Use immediately to frost cake. Garnish with arils if desired.

Notes: The pomegranate garnish is 1/3 cup ready made fondant mixed with red food coloring, then coated in red sanding sugar and plain granulated sugar.  The leaves are made from green fondant also.

Over time, the syrup in the cake will darken to a purplish/red color.  Still very pretty and yummy all the same.

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