Pomegranate Olive Oil Cake

by Chef Matthew Petersen

Total Prep Time

Over an hour



Degree of Difficulty



Pomegranate Olive Oil Cake
¾ cup arils from POM Wonderful Pomegranates
(or ¾ cup POM POMS Fresh Arils)
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
4 whole eggs, room temperature
1 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 lemon, zested and juice strained
½ teaspoon kosher salt6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1–2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Vanilla Crème Anglaise
15 egg yolks1 quart whole milk
1 quart heavy cream3 vanilla pods, scraped
1½ cups sugar

¼ cup arils from POM Wonderful Pomegranates
(or ¼ cup POM POMS Fresh Arils)
1½ tablespoons fine quality extra-virgin olive oil


Pomegranate Olive Oil Cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare fresh pomegranate arils, if necessary.* Butter and flour the bottom and inside of your cake pan; do not use pan spray. (The butter and flour provide a “ladder” for the cake to climb, giving it the final height that is needed.) Sift together flour and baking powder. Using the whip attachment on your stand mixer, begin to whip the eggs at high speed until about tripled in volume. Add the granulated sugar and continue to whip on high speed. Whip the eggs and sugar until they are pale and stiff—generally about 3–5 minutes of high-speed whipping time is necessary. Incorporate the lemon zest, salt and strained lemon juice. Incorporate the melted butter while slowly mixing to avoid splashing. Scrape down the bowl. Add 1 cup of the flour; mix until incorporated. On medium speed, add ½ cup of olive oil; scrape the bowl again. Add the remaining dry ingredients just until incorporated; scrape if necessary. Whilst mixing, add the last of the olive oil in a steady stream; scrape the bowl. Mix again on high speed for about 30 seconds to ensure a thorough and even mixture. In a separate bowl, add ¾ cup of arils and 1 teaspoon of flour to lightly coat them; add another teaspoon if you think it is necessary. Gently fold the coated arils into the prepared cake batter—four or five turns should do it. Scrape the batter into your prepared cake pan. Generously sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the top of the cake and place the cake into the oven. After about 15 minutes, rotate the cake 180 degrees and bake for another 20–25 minutes. The cake should be golden brown on top and the center should spring back when pressed lightly; use a cake tester, if you wish. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. Add ¼ cup arils as garnish. Serve with Vanilla Crème Anglaise (instructions below) and a drizzle of fine olive oil.

Vanilla Crème Anglaise:
Separate 15 egg yolks from the whites. Discard the whites or reserve for another use. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl. Combine milk, cream, scraped vanilla pods and ¾ cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil. Be careful not to burn the sugar while heating, but make sure that the milk and cream scald. Immediately temper the egg yolks with some of the cream when it scalds. Once tempered, combine everything back in the saucepan and return to the stove. Cook until properly thickened, about one minute. Strain immediately through a fine strainer into a double boiler or water bath. Blend with a hand blender until very smooth. Cool on an ice bath, with plastic wrap touching the custard to prevent a skin developing. When made properly, the sauce should be nice and thick, and all of the vanilla beans should be suspended in the custard, not gathered at the bottom.

*To prepare fresh arils, score 1–2 large POM Wonderful Pomegranates and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranates under water to free the arils (seed sacs). The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Sieve and put the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve 1 cup of the arils from fruit and set aside. (Refrigerate or freeze remaining arils for another use.)


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