Here I sit on a blustery December day in Southern California enjoying a hot cup of my favorite Darjeeling tea and a slice of this spice cake. Sweet Juliet is curled up at my feet enjoying a quiet nap. Mmmm. Life is good.
I think you will enjoy this cake. I was drawn to bake it because the original recipe was one of Deborah Madison’s recipes and I’m a fan of her cooking. She is a James Beard Award-winning chef and is the author of some wonderful cookbooks: In My Kitchen, The Greens Cookbook, The Savory Way and others. Madison, pictured below, opened the famous San Francisco Bay Area Greens Restaurant in 1979 where she was one of the pioneers in the farm-to-table movement.
Even with Madison’s seal of approval, I was surprised just how really good this cake is. It has warm spicy flavors from cinnamon, cloves and allspice. It has a generous amount of dates, raisins and walnuts, and it is baked in a rich persimmon batter. It would be a great addition to a holiday breakfast table and would make a pretty wonderful hostess gift.
Persimmons, by the way, are thought to have originated in China where writers have sometimes used the fruit as a metaphor for life, writing that it is “tasteless and bitter when young, soft and sweet once mature.” Sounds good to me, soft and sweet baby boomer that I am.
- 1 Cup of persimmon puree
- 2 t. baking soda
- 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 t. sea salt
- 1 t. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t. ground allspice
- 1/8 t. ground cloves
- 1/2 C. (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 C. light brown sugar
- 1 egg at room temperature
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1 C. chopped walnuts
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 C. raisins
- 1/2 C. chopped dates
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 8-inch springform pan by buttering the pan and dusting it with flour.
- Your persimmons need to be as ripe as you can find them. Cut the persimmons open, remove any seeds and spoon the persimmon pulp into your blender. Puree. Measure out one cup of puree, stir in baking soda and set mixture aside.
- Whisk salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves together with the flour. Set bowl aside
- Cream the butter and sugar together (I used my stand mixer.). Once the sugar and butter are smooth, add in egg and vanilla. Mix.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and stir (or mix with your stand mixer) until the ingredients are just mixed. Don't over stir. Fold in walnuts, lemon zest, raisins and dates.
- Put your batter into your prepared springform pan. Put the pan into your oven on the middle rack. Reduce heat to 320 degrees F and bake for one hour and 15 minutes or until a check tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. (Watch your cake carefully, mine was perfectly baked at about an hour. Your baking time will vary from oven to oven.) Let your cake cool for 10 minutes before removing the rim of the springform pan.
- This cake is even better on the second day!
This recipe is adapted from a Deborah Madison recipe. Here is a link to Amazon where you can buy her book:
Here is a link to the original recipe from which this recipe was adapted: kitchn: Spiced Persimmon Tea Cake.