Persimmon and Ginger Upside-Down Cake

persimmon cake
persimmon cake

There are two type of persimmons that can be easily found around New York this time of year: fuyu and hachiya. This cake uses fuyu persimmons which are the short and squatty variety and unlike their hachiya cousins you don't have to wait until they are squishy-ripe to eat them. They have a sweet, honeyed flavor with a bit of vanilla and spice that makes them the perfect match for this spicy ginger cake. Make sure to have some unsweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche on hand to serve; a bit of something cool and creamy helps to balance the sweet persimmon slices and extra spicy cake.

Persimmon and Ginger Upside-Down Cake

adapted from the Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook

For the Topping

3 Tablespoons soft butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch salt

4-5 firm, but ripe fuyu persimmons

For the Cake

1 cup butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup molasses

2 Tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325º. Butter a 9 or 10-inch springform pan with high sides and line the bottom with an  circle of parchment paper.

For the Topping

Peel and slice the persimmon into 1/4-inch slices (a y-shaped peeler is great for this task).  In a medium saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cook over medium heat for about 1 minute. Pour the mixture into the bottom of your lined pan, then arrange the fruit on top in a decorative pattern making sure that the bottom of the pan is covered. Put pan aside.

For the Cake

1. Cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, add the grated ginger and zests. Mix for 1 more minute.

2. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time. Then slowly pour in the molasses.

3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

4. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the batter, being careful not to overmix.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until deep golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate and gently peel away the parchment paper.

Eat warm with a dollop of whipped cream, crème fraîche or a scoop of ice cream. This cake is best the day it's made.

fuyu persimmons