Spiced Persimmon Cakes

I consider myself extremely lucky.  Relatives and friends share their garden harvests every year and this provides both inspiration and opportunity for me to cook and bake things I might otherwise not do.  Over the past few months, I’ve been inundated with chillies, lemons, more chillies times a gazillion (and I’m not saying no), and now persimmons.  I prefer the name kaki.  The soft squishy varieties.  Too many to eat as they are given they have all ripened at once.  I have a persimmon tree in the garden but it’s still a toddler and is not expected to produce fruit for a few more years yet, assuming it survives that long!  Fingers crossed, kaki gods take note.

It’s easy to scoop out the pulp and mix into some cream or yoghurt for a lovely dessert but I wanted to bake something a little different with them.  Persimmons have a really delicate flavour so it’s easy for it to be overwhelmed but a little spice does help to bring out the flavour.  This time I went with persimmon, pistachio, cassia bark and cardamom … rather exotic isn’t it?  Smells heavenly, tastes exotic.  Yum.

You don’t need to frost them at all but I’ve really taken to cream cheese frosting.  This time, though, I made a variation on the cream cheese frosting I usually make.  Instead of cream cheese I used quark with a little double cream added.  It’s incredibly light and the tang of the quark is sensational.  If you can’t get quark or prefer to use cream cheese, just substitute two hundred grams of cream cheese and omit the quark and double cream from the frosting.  Still lovely.

If only we could have scratch ‘n’ sniff blog posts to capture the divine smell of these cakes.  The whole house smells like a hedonistic and luscious fruity spicy blend of India and the Far East.

I hope you enjoy them!

Makes 12 cupcakes

Persimmon Cakes
125 grams brown sugar
125 grams unsalted butter, softened
2  eggs
265 grams persimmon pulp (about 3 ripe persimmons)
100 grams pistachios, finely ground
150 grams plain flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cassia bark or cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Creamy Cheese Frosting
110 grams icing sugar
150 grams quark cheese
50 grams double cream
50 grams unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1/2 large ripe persimmon or 1 small ripe persimmon

Pistachio Cardamom Sugar*

*I bought this sugar from a specialty spice shop in Melbourne.  It’s easy to make at home though.  Lightly roast some pistachios and allow to cool.  Chop finely.  To the pistachios add a quantity of light brown sugar and a little ground cardamom.  Start with a small amount of the spice and adjust the amount to taste.  This is a lovely spicy sugar that is great over ice cream or yoghurt, stirred through cream, in pralines.  Anything really.

For the persimmon cakes
Preheat oven to 180°C.

You will need 12 cupcake liners. Place the cupcake liners on a baking tray.
Beat the sugar and butter together until light and creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated.  Add the persimmon pulp and pistachios and beat again until smooth.  Finally, add the sifted flour, baking powder, and spices and beat until the batter is smooth.

Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners.  Bake at 180°C for about 25 minutes, until golden.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack, until ready to frost, if desired.

For the frosting
Remove the pulp from the persimmon, puree, and place in a mixer bowl.  Add the quark, double cream, and icing sugar.  Whisk until smooth and light.

Whisk the cooled butter until light and slightly thickened.  Add to the cheese mixture and whisk until light and thickened.  Refrigerate until ready to pipe.

Fit a piping bag with a decorative tip and fill with the frosting.  Pipe swirls of frosting on to each cake.

Sprinkle a little pistachio cardamom sugar on top of the frosting.

Serve at room temperature.  These cakes will keep for several days, refrigerated, if frosted.  Without frosting, they should keep for up to a week, stored in an airtight container.

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