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Persimmon and Asian Pear Upside Down Cake

Renée Robinson

How About Trying Persimmons in Your Next Upside Down Cake?

I was so happy to run into Fuyu persimmons on my latest grocery run. These are the persimmons that don’t need to be ripened as fully as Hichaya persimmons in order to become edible and delicious. I usually use them in salads or simply eat them out of hand, but this time I decided to put them into a cake.

I also picked up Asian pears and thought these 2 fruits would work well together because they’re both relatively mild in flavor. I couldn’t resist slicing the beautiful persimmons and placing then on the bottom of a springform pan with melted butter and maple syrup. I just thought they’d be so pretty on an upside down cake. 

I added some whole wheat flour to the batter because I thought both the texture and flavor would benefit from whole wheat’s nuttiness. Besides cinnamon and ground ginger, I also added a little ground black pepper. I love how black pepper serves to accentuate other warm spices. Brown sugar also helped deepen the flavors of the cake. But it needed lemon zest and grated fresh ginger in order to brighten up the overall flavor of the cake.

Seeing as how I wanted to be sure this cake stayed moist, I used vegetable oil, rather than butter. I knew this cake was going to be loaded with flavor, so I didn’t think I’d miss the butter and I was right. The texture was what I’d hoped it would be. 

I stirred in a full cup of toasted and chopped pecans at the end, along with 3 cups of diced Asian pears. At that point I kept my fingers crossed until it came out of the oven. Then there is that anxiety inducing moment of turning out an upside down cake and hoping the layer of fruit on the bottom doesn’t stick to the pan. I used a nonstick springform pan and as you can see in the video and photo, it was not a problem. This one came out of the pan perfectly. Whew!!

I served the cake with plain yogurt that I doctored up with a little honey and lemon zest. This cake really hit the spot for this time of year. It’s a comforting type of cake. One that can be enjoyed for dessert or with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon. Or for breakfast, if you’re so inclined, as were we. 

I’m so happy to know I’ve got another way to enjoy the lovely flavor of Fuyu persimmons. And a way to show off their beauty. This is a wintry dessert that I’ll keep in mind when I run into more persimmons. Their season is coming to a close now, so it may be next year before I get to try this again. But I see no reason this couldn’t be made using only Asian pears. It wouldn’t be as colorful, but I think it would be delicious to fill the bottom with slices of those pears. I’ll let you know if I give it a try.

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Persimmon and Asian Pear Upside Down Cake

Recipe by Renée Robinson
Servings

10-12

servings

Fuyu persimmons are layered on the bottom of the pan with melted butter and maple syrup, while chopped Asian pears and toasted pecans are added to the spiced batter in this luscious and comforting cake. Serve with a honey and lemon yogurt sauce for a bright, but deeply flavored dessert.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons 2 salted butter, melted

  • 3 tablespoons 3 pure maple syrup

  • 4 4 Fuyu persimmons, trimmed and sliced crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices

  • 210 grams 210 (1 1/2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour

  • 78 grams 78 (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour

  • 2 teaspoons 2 baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon 1 table salt

  • 2 teaspoons 2 ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon 1 ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 finely ground black pepper

  • 213 grams 213 (1 cup) light brown sugar

  • 100 grams 100 (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

  • 3 large 3 eggs, room temperature

  • 1 cup 1 vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon 1 finely grated fresh ginger

  • 2 teaspoons 2 packed finely grated lemon zest

  • 2 teaspoons 2 vanilla extract

  • 120 grams 120 (1 cup) pecans, toasted and finely chopped

  • 420 grams 420 (3 cups) diced Asian pears, unpeeled

  • Powdered sugar for dusting the top

  • 1 cup 1 plain whole milk yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon 1 honey

  • 1 teaspoon 1 finely grated lemon zest

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° with a rack in the center. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with baking spray (Baker's Joy)and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Combine the melted butter and the maple syrup. Pour into the bottom of the prepared 9 inch springform pan and cover with overlapping layers of the sliced persimmons. Set aside.
  • Whisk together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the grated fresh ginger, lemon zest, vanilla extract and briefly mix.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl, beating on medium speed only until the mixture is fully homogenized. Stir in the nuts and diced Asian pears.
  • Spoon the batter on top of the persimmons in the pan, being careful not to dislodge them. Place in the oven and bake for 70 - 80 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan, invert the cake onto a cake plate, and let cool completely. Dust the top with a little powdered sugar.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, honey, and lemon zest. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Slice the cake and top with a spoonful of the sweetened yogurt. Enjoy!

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