Easy Persimmon Pudding Cake
Thank you to Sprouts Farmers Market for sponsoring this post
My first taste of persimmon pudding was in the kitchen of cookbook author Marion Cunningham, a master at old-fashioned desserts. She baked it the traditional way, in a decorative persimmon pudding mold (which looks a bit like a small bundt pan) that was set into a water bath and steamed in the oven for a couple of hours. Once done, she inverted it onto a plate, cut it into wedges, and served it with softly whipped cream. It was revelation — so good that I marched out and bought myself a persimmon pudding mold that same day.
A Simpler Persimmon Pudding
Since then, I’ve hardly used the thing. The idea of hunting down the pudding mold, doing up a water bath, and two hours of baking feels like three steps too many for my holiday kitchen. But I miss the warming flavors and texture of persimmon pudding, which is why I decided to create a simplified version of my own. Developing the recipe for my monthly collaboration with Sprouts Farmers Market was a no-brainer, since they seem to have a ready supply of persimmons starting in mid-November.
More Cake Than Pudding
If the term “pudding” conjures up images of the vanilla or chocolate Jello variety, think again. Persimmon pudding is more akin to a cake, but with an exceptionally moist crumb. I took the old-school recipe, and gave it a modern update by working in Sprouts Organic Almond Meal, whole-grain flour, and scaling back the sugar. Instead of baking it in a pudding mold, the recipes calls for a standard cake pan and skips the water bath altogether. The result is a cake as tender as I remember with the flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger that are just right this time of year.
Use Ripe Persimmons
One important tip for making persimmon pudding: Use very ripe persimmons! They should be soft enough to push a finger right through and a color so deeply orange, it’s nearly red. You can expedite the ripening process by putting the persimmons in a brown paper bag along with an apple or banana and store in a cool, dark place.
Side note: If you want to try Marion Cunningham’s original persimmon pudding, you can find it here.
Persimmon Pudding Cake
This takes an old-fashioned holiday dessert and gives it a modern update, notably, healthier ingredients and a simplified method of baking. Be sure to use very ripe, very soft persimmons to make this cake. When topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream, it’s just right for the holiday table. Leftovers are excellent for breakfast with a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt.
- 4 medium very ripe hachiya or fuyu persimmons (deep orange color, very soft)
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing the cake pan
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup Sprouts organic almond meal (almond flour)
- 1 ¼ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Cover the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment cut to size. Butter the parchment.
Use your hands to peel the skin and stem off the persimmons and put the flesh into a food processor or blender. Puree the persimmons. Measure 1 cup of the persimmon puree and put into a large bowl (save any remaining persimmon for another use, such as for topping yogurt or blending into a smoothie). Add the sugar, buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla to the persimmon and whisk thoroughly.
Into a medium bowl, sift the almond meal, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt (if some of the almond meal remains in the sifter, just dump it into the bowl). Add to the persimmon mixture and whisk together until smooth and blended. Pour into the prepared cake pan and transfer to the oven to bake
Pour into the buttered pan and bake until firm to the touch (no indent when you press with a finger), and a toothpick comes out clean, 50 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes. The cake will deflate, but that’s what makes it as much pudding as cake! Cut straight from the pan or invert pan onto a plate and set right side up.
Cut into wedges and serve with a whipped cream or ice cream.
Recipe inspired by Marion Cunningham