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pomegranate cupcake

It's hard to write an enthusiastic review of yet another yellow cupcake with [insert flavor here] frosting, really. The frosting can be divine, the cake sensationally moist but, really, it's kind of sort of been done before. If you want to know why I haven't been reviewing that much lately, this is why. But this one reminded me of why I like cupcakes.

 

The word is pomegranate, folks! This is a pomegranate cake topped with pomegranate Italian butter cream frosting. I was fortunate to be at El Diablo when they got an order of these in from the baker (delivering it, even!) so I simply had to order one and then ask questions.

 

The frosting was a good and proper density with a remarkably subtle flavor. I was initially disappointed in it, because I really hoped that it would stand out. Which isn't to say that it was bad. It sweet without being cloying and there was never the sticky film of faux "butter cream" or the presence of the salty butter underlying the base. But it wasn't until I got to the rest of the cake that I was blown away.

 

The first bites of the cake were, like the frosting, relatively mild. I could taste the pomegranate distinctly, though, which was divine. The baker told me that she used pomegranate molasses in baking these. The texture was surprisingly heavy. I'd almost want to call it a 3/4 pound cake. This alone would have made a fine combination and a great cupcake. Until I took another three bites.

 

Towards the center of the cake, the baker had drizzled fresh pomegranate juice, and that's where my taste buds got a serious workout. Tart and tangy without being sour in the slightest, the light flavors of the frosting served to enhance every other flavor sensation there. It was juicy and suddenly shifted from mild to staggeringly bold, almost enough to pull me from my chair.

 

In fact, it did. That bite hadn't completely dissolved in my mouth but I was walking back to the counter, awash with questions for the baker: hows and whys and a steady stream of "oh my god"s and insistences that, no really, they were awful and they really ought to just give the rest to me to dispose of properly. Honest!

 

Well that baker knows what she is doing. She brought five to sell at El Diablo. By the time I left a half hour later, there were two left in the case. The next day there were none.

 

Folks, if you're ever at El Diablo Coffee Co. in Seattle and you see a cupcake in the window, run, do not walk, to procure it. I think you'll be glad you did.

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Taken on March 8, 2006