Help! Why Didn’t Pomegranates Tint This Cheesecake?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

040709cheesecake.jpgSometimes the most learning happens when we admit we don’t know as much as we thought we did. Recently we made a cheesecake and became perplexed when we added in fresh pomegranate juice in attempt to make a pretty (and tasty) swirl in our finished dessert. Funny thing is…. once we added it, nothing happened (until we added additional coloring)? What gives?!

We were ridiculously excited to use our fresh pomegranate juice (done by hand, not from a bottle) in a cheesecake for a family gathering. It was going to be beautiful, it was going to taste like a pink dream as it melted in your mouth, it was going to win hearts and make us the talk of the town… until it failed. The juice had no effect.

After a few minutes of head scratching we focused our attention on the science behind why our pomegranate addition kept our batter colorless. After all, 1 drop stains shirts, carpets, napkins and any other surface it comes in contact with, except cheesecake. We googled until we were blue in the face and couldn’t come up with one logical reason why it didn’t alter the color of our base mixture in the slightest.

Here’s what happened (and can be seen above going left to right):

1. We made our batter (and tried not to sneak a spoonful of our tasty creation)

2. We gutted and juiced 3 perfect pomegranates.

3. Next we scooped out two cups of batter and put it in a separate bowl where we then added in 1 cup of pomegranate juice. Stirred to mix. Nothing happened.

4. We added the rest of our juice and there was only a slight color change. But not to the perfect pink we were expecting, in fact, it didn’t turn a color at all. Our creamy colored batter turned white. White?! We added a known pink/red natural stain and it turned white. Needless to say, we didn’t see that one coming.

5. We gave up, added a colorant from our baking supplies and went on our way. The end result tasted like pomegranates from the juice and had a cute pink tint, we just had to add that part in later.

Do you know what happened? What part of science class did we fall asleep in where that chemical reaction was explained? Let us know your best guess below!

(Images: Sarahrae)