Time for a fudge face-plant.

devil's food cupcakes with pomegranate sugar shards I howsweeteats.com

When it comes to chocolate cake, I want rich and fudgy chocolate cake. Like crazy decadent. Hurt-your-teeth sweet. Regret-the-next-day indulgent. And I don’t know how often I have mentioned this since I tend to repeat myself weekly here on this corner of the internet, but growing up, I never cared about frosting unless it was super fudgey like this ganache.

As in, I’ve never really liked icing. I simply want the teeniest smear on my cake and I’m good to go. WHO EVEN AM I.

devil's food cupcakes with pomegranate sugar shards I howsweeteats.com

Completely face-plant worthy. Right?

devil's food cupcakes with pomegranate sugar shards I howsweeteats.com

These pomegranate sugar shards are my new favorite thing! Until my next new favorite thing comes along.

These are SO easy. Get a candy thermometer. Attach it to a pot. Mix together pomegranante juice, sugar and corn syrup. Once it’s boiling but before it’s actual caramel (pom caramel?! omg.), pour it on a baking sheet and let it cool for a few hours.

Then! It’s time to hit it with a hammer or some other object (like maybe the back of a can open because that’s what I definitely used) until the sugar breaks into these fancy ass shards.


devil's food cupcakes with pomegranate sugar shards I howsweeteats.com

They taste good too. But obviously it’s the appearance of spooky scary pieces of glass in your cake! Oh me oh my.

devil's food cupcakes with pomegranate sugar shards I howsweeteats.com

This is totally not a recipe that I’d normally share. I am not a Halloween person unless we are talking about cute, adorable ghosts and witches with smiles on their faces OR if we want to discuss my robbery of every snickers bar and reese’s cup from my brothers’ trick or treating pillowcases back in 1991.

I mean, I freak out over horror movie commercials and act like a psycho trying to find the remote control under the covers just so I can change the channel and not see terrifying MOVIE trailers. So I’m certainly not into scary cake.

devil's food cupcakes with pomegranate sugar shards I howsweeteats.com

Even though these were completely out of my comfort zone, they were super fun to make. Plus, hello, super rich and decadent devil’s food? I’m in. If you’re also skeptical of said sugar shards and would prefer to keep these exclusively chocolatey, do it! You can add the pom syrup if you’d like – it does add a fantastic punch of tart and sweet flavor. Kind of reminds me of a chocolate covered cherry or something.

PLUS they are ridiculously fun and all of your friends will think you’re the coolest if you make them! Promise. I will think you’re cooler than the coolest.

devil's food cupcakes with pomegranate sugar shards I howsweeteats.com

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Pomegranate Sugar Shards

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pomegranate sugar shards

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice

pomegranate syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate juice


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the cocoa and hot coffee until smooth. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, powder and salt.
  • In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the melted butter and sugar until combined and the butter is cooled, about 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in each egg one at a time. Beat in the vanilla extra and scrape down the bowl if needed. Beat in the cocoa/coffee mixture until combined. Add the flour in 2 batches, alternating with the room temp sour cream and finishing with the flour. Beat until just combined.
  • Use an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure to fill each liner 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting with the ganache. Once frosted, stick the pomegranate shards into the center. Drizzle with the pom syrup and serve!

chocolate ganache frosting

  • Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Heat the heavy cream and syrup in a saucepan until it’s just bubbling around the edges and warm, but not boiling. Pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute. Stir until the chocolate melts – this will take a few minutes! You want it to be completely smooth.
  • Stick the mixture in the fridge. Stir it every 5 to 10 minutes, until it’s thick enough to spread or pipe onto the cupcake without running. I refrigerated mine for about 1 hour, then spread it on the cupcakes!

pomegranate sugar shards

  • Spray a baking sheet liberally with nonstick spray. Fit a heavy saucepan with a candy thermometer. Add the sugar, syrup and pom juice and heat over medium heat, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture bubble until it reaches 300 degrees F without stirring. Once it’s at 300 degrees F, remove it from the heat and as soon as it stops boiling, pour it on the sheet. Allow to cool for 1 to 2 hours and then when it’s sold, twist the pan or hit it with something hard (the back of a screwdriver?!) to break it into pieces.

pomegranate syrup

  • Heat the sugar and juice in a saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it bubble for 1 to 2 minutes. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool completely. It will thicken as it cools.


[cupcakes from martha, glass shard idea from tip toe fairy]

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devil's food cupcakes with pomegranate sugar shards I howsweeteats.com

What is this ridiculous heaven.