Make the cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray, then
line them with cupcake liners; lightly spray the inside of the cupcake
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the
sugar, butter, and canola oil until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well. Add the cocoa powder and red
food coloring and continue to mix to incorporate.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt with a whisk. Mix the
buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl. With the mixer on low speed,
starting with the flour, alternate between adding the flour and the
buttermilk, ending with the flour. Combine the baking soda and vinegar
in a small bowl (it will fizz) and add it right away to the mixer bowl,
blending just until incorporated.
Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the muffin tins, filling them up two thirds of the way. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out completely clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the frosting and frost the cupcakes
In a clean bowl, add the butter and cream cheese and beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar in two additions, beating until just incorporated. Add the pomegranate molasses, vanilla, salt, and, if you’re using it, the food coloring.
When the cupcakes are cool, spread the icing on each with an offset spatula or, to make them more professional, use a piping bag.
Finish by sprinkling the cupcakes with the blackberry or raspberry powder, if using.
Photo: Johnny Miller