UPDATE MARCH 1: Congratulations to Lisette. She placed in the top three of the cupcake contest, winning a package of POM products and AMEX gift card.
All you have to do is go to the this website and vote for Lisette’s cupcake, which is listed as: POM Meyer Lemon, Mango and Rosewater Cupcakes, Recipe Courtesy of Lisette, Fresno. You can get the recipe here.
The contest, which supports the American Heart Association, requires bakers to create a cupcake using pomegranate ingredients. For each entry, POM donated $1 to the American Heart Association. The top winner gets $100 donated in their name to the American Heart Association, a POM ingredient pack and $300 gift card.
I asked Lisette to share more about herself.
What is your background?
I am a high school English teacher at Madera High School. I am a wife to my husband John and mother of two little boys ages 5 and 2. I used to work as an Administrative Assistant at the Madden Library at Fresno State where I also graduated with a degree in Criminology and went back to get my teaching credentials in Special Education AND English. I was born in Hanford but Fresno has been home since my college days!
How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for nine years now! Wow! Unbelievable!
Why did you decide to enter the contest?
I entered the contest because one of the recipe sites I subscribe to advertised it. I love to bake and I liked the idea about raising awareness for the American Heart Association. My great-grandmother died from a heart attack and growing up I remember her having a weak heart.
Have you ever entered a contest before?
Not officially like this before! This is my first one and I am super excited because I love baking, I love cupcakes, and I love being competitive!
When did you start baking?
I started baking in my great-grandmother’s kitchen at the age of 10. My first creation was a heart shaped chocolate cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting!
Do you bake often?
Depending on the time — holidays I am in the kitchen pretty much non-stop! Outside of holidays, I like to bake with my little ones at least twice a month. They are at the ages where they like to help me and I love showing them how to cook and bake. Their favorite thing to do is pour the chocolate chips into cookie dough — but not without tasting a few chips!
What is your favorite cupcake?
My favorite cupcake from a bakery is from Sprinkles in LA — Vanilla Peppermint (it is seasonal) and my own creation is my Chocolate Cupcake with Salted Caramel Filling and Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting and my S’mores cupcake!!
What makes your Pomegranate Meyer Lemon Cupcake so tasty?
Well the secret is the pomegranate molasses. I made it by reducing the juice down to a really thick syrup! This concentrates the flavors by leaps and bounds!! The mango and lemon are nice complements to the pomegranate which I really wanted to shine through. For the frosting, I wanted to experiment with rosewater since it has a nice floral fragrance and it made the frosting amazing!! Almost like a pomegranate flower!!
How did you come up with this recipe?
Originally I was going to do a Pom-vanilla or Pom-chocolate, but my friend suggested to create something that complements the pomegranate and doesn’t overpower it like chocolate. From there, I just started thinking about fruit flavors and what possible combinations would work. This was my first choice and fortunately for me it worked! I had it taste tested by my biggest critics — my husband, a few colleagues, and two of my students! They are honest critics and they gave me the green light!
What’s the secret to the making good cupcakes?
A few things: First Sift your flour! This makes it airy so your cupcakes come out light! Second invest in an oven thermometer! They are priceless when it comes to baking!! My oven is 25 degrees hotter than what the knob actually states and I didn’t realize this until a few years back when things were coming out dry! Now I set my oven lower but in reality it heats up to the true degrees as stated on the recipes I use. Third – always bake for the LEAST amount of time recommended – if your goods still need more time, it is easier to put them bake in the oven for a minute or two. Otherwise, once they are over baked you have to start all over!
Has baking resulted in any lessons for your students?
Actually last year, I held a four-week cupcake class for our Key Visions Afterschool Program. It was a hit! After CST (the big state standards tests) testing, I want to offer it again for the students of MHS.