Pomegranates never fail to delight me; their crimson juices and sweet and tart arils provided such joy for me throughout my childhood that they are forever etched in my memory and on my heart. Palestinians also hold this mighty fruit in high esteem, and here I’ve paired it with a dense and sticky almond cake, topped with a light and creamy mascarpone topping, which I love, and which I hope will enliven your passion for this magical fruit, too.
Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C. Butter an 8 in./20cm cake pan and line it with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer. When the mixture is combined, beat in the eggs gradually, beating well between each addition. Then fold in the flour, salt, baking powder and almonds with a large spoon. Fold in the lemon zest and juice, 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses and vanilla, then spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for about 45–50 minutes, or until firm and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
When it is almost ready, make the glaze. Put 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses and 2 tablespoons sugar in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons water, place over a medium heat and stir to help the sugar dissolve.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, use a fork to pierce holes in it, then brush the syrup over. Leave to cool in the pan, then turn it out, syrup-side up.
Place the pomegranate seeds in a small bowl with the sugar and leave to macerate for at least 30 minutes. Mix the mascarpone with the yogurt and confectioner’s sugar and spread it thickly over the cake. Finish with the pomegranate seeds and their juices.