Friday, January 31, 2014

Persimmon Cake

For most people, if you ask them about persimmons, they have no idea what you're talking about.  Or if you show them one, they think it is some form of tomato or tomatillo.  Not so my friends.  This is actually a super sweet, delectable fruit that abounds in the Southern U.S. and Asia.

For some reason, maybe because my mother's parents are from the South, I've always known what persimmons are, but never actually tasted one until last December.  I received about six persimmons in my Bountiful Basket, as that is the time of year that they are in season.  I knew exactly what they were, but had no idea what to do with them.  So I turned to the interweb and eventually The Joy of Cooking for a recipe for persimmon pudding.  Now this is a traditional pudding (like figgy pudding) where you cook it in small ramekins in a water bath in the oven.  Needless to say this was a pretty labor intensive process, but oh so delicious in the end. :)

So this December when I saw a pack of 10 persimmons at Costco for a relatively inexpensive price, I picked them up.  The ones I bought were very unripe, and believe it or not were not ready to use until this last week.  I really didn't want to go through the whole process of making the pudding again, so decided to substitute them in a recipe I make all the time that uses super ripe bananas.

Now this was my first time experimenting with a baking recipe.  I don't usually do this, since to me a baking recipe is like a science protocol for making media or salt solutions, they're tried and true and any variation will probably result in disaster.  But I went out on a limb and experimented away.  So here is my recipe for Persimmon Cake:

Persimmon Cake
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk or regular milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 very ripe persimmons (we're talking mushy/look rotten ripe)
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2/3 c. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F for conventional baking or 325 degrees F for convection baking.
  2. Using a stand or hand mixer, combine milk, eggs, persimmons, and sugar.  Slowly pour in melted butter.
  3. While mixer is running, add salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  4. Add whole wheat flour and mix until combined.  Then add all-purpose flour and mix until combined.
  5. Grease an 8x8 inch pan or two medium sized loaf pans.
  6. Pour batter into pans and bake for ~35 min.
I made a double batch (except forgot to double the eggs, but remembered before it was too late), since I needed to use up all of my persimmons.

To prepare the persimmons, I cut them in half and scooped out the insides with a spoon.

Tada!  The finished product, which turned out quite good.  Not quite as I expected, but still really good. :)

Notes: This makes a really good breakfast cake that is mildly sweet.  It was excellent with some butter and even better when I added a drizzle of honey.  And frosted with homemade cream cheese frosting it was amazing!  I actually cut back the sugar from the original recipe, because the persimmons are so naturally sweet.  So if you want a sweeter cake that would be great without any additional sweetener (honey/frosting), up the sugar to 1 2/3 cups.  I also substituted whole wheat flour for half the amount of all-purpose flour to make it healthier and a bit heartier.  So if you want a lighter tasting cake, just use 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. 

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