One of the most interesting and delicious desserts, you’ll ever make is my Pomegranate Mousse Cake. It has a few more steps than most of my recipes, but it’s well worth the effort and is a guaranteed show stopper!
Named by Huffington Post as one of the Best Dessert Recipes of all Time
**updated from original post shared on June 27, 2010.
I had already decided to make a cake, but I wanted it to be a little different than the usual layer cake.
As I looked through my countless cookbooks, I finally found my inspiration In Baking by James Peterson. It wasn’t a particular recipe that caught my eye, but a mixture of a few recipes. After working through the process, I adjusted and combined three recipes to make my Ultimate Pomegranate Mousse Cake!
How do I Make a Pomegranate Mousse Cake?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make the yellow cake.
*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together, making sure they are well blended. Set aside till needed.
- Cream butter and ¾ cup of sugar with the paddle attachment of your mixer. After the butter has softened replace the paddle with the whip attachment, and continue mixing for about 5 minutes.
- Whisk in the egg yolks one at a time until the mixture is smooth.
- Add the milk and vanilla, to the mixing bowl and mix just enough to blend.
- Add the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time. Don’t over mix! Transfer this all to a larger bowl.
- Whip egg whites and cream of tartar in your mixer for about 3 minutes until soft peaks form. Add the remaining sugar and continue to whip for about 2 minutes until medium peaks form.
- Add egg white mixture to butter mixture ¼ at a time, fold in with a rubber spatula, Fully incorporating before adding more, repeat process until all your egg whites have been folded in.
- Spread batter into your cake pans dividing evenly, and smooth it out with a spatula.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in a conventional oven, or until the cake bounces back to the touch, or a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let the layers cool for 5 minutes then turn out onto a cake rack.
*While the Cake is Baking Make the Pomegranate Curd and Mousse
How do I make pomegranate curd?
- Place the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, pomegranate reduction and lemon zest into a heatproof bowl that fits over a saucepan and whisk until well blended(not over the saucepan).
- When the first step is completed, place the bowl over a saucepan with an inch of simmering water in it, as the mixture begins to get warm add the butter a little at a time, and whisk the mixture until it thickens. This will take about 5-7 minutes, make sure not to let the mixture boil!
- Allow mixture to cool, until needed
How do I make Pomegranate Mousse?
- Whip your cream to medium peaks, adding the sugar as it begins to thicken. Refrigerate until needed.
- Place the gelatin and water in a small bowl and let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it has absorbed all the water
- Stir the softened gelatin with a fork to get rid of any lumps. Then place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until the gelatin dissolves completely.
- Add the gelatin mixture to the curd. The curd must be warm for it to mix in properly ( you may have to warm up the pomegranate curd if it has cooled too much). it should be warm to add your gelatin mixture into it. Whisk the mixture until it has been well blended. Once finished, set aside and allow to get to room temperature.
- Fold (by hand) the whipped cream into the room temperature curd mixture, mix just enough to blend, do not over mix or use an electric mixer. This will cause the mousse to break!!
*Refrigerate until needed.
- Take your cooled cake and split each layer into 2 sections, this will give you 4 layers.
- After splitting the layers brush the cut side with pomegranate syrup.
- After you have brushed on the pomegranate syrup, spread an even layer of mousse on top of the cake, using a spatula or knife to make it level to the edges.
- Add the next layer with the cut layer up and repeat the process for the next two layers.
- For the final layer place the baked side up. There is no need to brush this layer.
- Place this into the refrigerator to chill while you make the topping for the cake.
How do I make the topping for the pomegranate mousse cake?
- Add the pomegranate juice and pomegranate liquor (optional) to a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid and let stand 1 minute to soften gelatin.
- Transfer the liquid to a small saucepan. Add the sugar and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl and set the bowl into an ice and water bath, stirring the mixture gently until it is cold and slightly thickened but not yet set.
- Stir in pomegranate seeds and spoon the topping onto the top layer of the chilled mousse cake
- Place the cake back into the refrigerator for at least one hour, to finish setting up.
*This cake can be made a day ahead of time in the refrigerator before serving.
I picked up a fresh Pomegranate and prepared the arils to use in the cake topping. If you can’t find fresh pomegranates, you can find Pomegranate Fresh Arils (Pom Poms Wonderful) at most grocery stores.
Kitchen tools I use for my cakes
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- offset spatula (essential for bakers)
- 9-inch USA Pan Bakeware cake pans
- 9-inch parchment cake circles
- silicone spatulas
- wire whisk
- mixing bowls
Hi Chef Dennis! In the assembly section, there’s a mention for brushing the cut side of the cake with pomegranate syrup. Where does the pomegranate syrup come from? Do we buy pomegranate syrup? Or did we make it earlier in the recipe?
Chef Dennis Littley
I updated that post recently and unfortunately left out the syrup instructions. I have added them back in. You can also look for pomegranate syrup at the grocers, some stores do carry it.
thanks for pointing out the ommission.
Thanks, Chef Dennis! We’re going to make this tonight!