Cakes & Puddings Sweet

Persimmon Pudding

A British-style cake with a custardy center, this fruity dessert has roots in the American South

This recipe is a “pudding” in the most British sense of the word. While it does have a creamy, custard-like center, it is prepared and baked like an American cake before being covered in a luscious caramel sauce. (If you’d like a history on the British term for various steamed dishes, check out my post on Sticky Toffee Pudding. I’ll spare you the history lesson this time.) Though the title and style of this dessert are British, this recipe is native to the American South.

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Have you ever eaten a persimmon? Me neither, besides in this dessert. I was unfamiliar with them until my grandmother-in-law prepared this recipe for a family gathering. While researching this recipe, I discovered that while persimmons originated in China, they also grow extremely well in North America, especially south of the Mason-Dixon line. There’s even a persimmon festival in Indiana! Although I spent my childhood too far West to appreciate this fruit as a youngster, I’m thankful to have discovered it now, as its creamy texture and mild flavor are perfect for baking.

Although persimmon pudding is traditionally served with a large dollop of whipped cream, I like to serve this recipe with a drizzle of caramel sauce. The recipe I use is from Allrecipes, but you can use whatever type suits your fancy.

Bright orange persimmon pulp sits in  a blender cup.

But first, let’s bake the cake. Start by preparing your (perfect?) persimmon pulp. Cut your persimmons in half and remove their centers with a spoon, placing the pulp in your blender or food processor. Blend for about 10 seconds, or until your pulp has reached your desired texture. While I wanted my persimmon pulp to resemble a juice, others prefer a heartier texture in their cake, for which you would blend for a shorter time. I used four very ripe Hachiya persimmons to yield 2 cups of pulp.

Now, combine all of your wet ingredients except for the persimmon pulp.

All of the wet ingredients for this recipe (except for the persimmon pulp) sit mixed and bubbly in a clear Pyrex bowl.

Combine all of the dry ingredients (including the sugar) in a separate bowl.

Flour, sugar, and spices sit piled in a yellow bowl.

Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients to the bowl of wet ingredients; then, add 1/3 of your persimmon pulp to the primary batter. Stir, then repeat until all ingredients are combined.

All ingredients sit combined in a clear Pyrex bowl. The batter is slightly thick and is brownish in color.

Transfer your batter to your greased pan and bake for 30 minutes. The cake is done when a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Your cake will “poof” while in the oven but will fall once it comes out — that’s okay. The center of the cake is supposed to have a more custard-like texture, not a traditional sponge cake crumb, so the falling is expected.

Baked persimmon pudding cake sits in a clear dish on a wooden surface. The edges are crinkly - evidence that the cake rose and subsequently fell with baking - but that is expected and normal with this recipe.

While your cake is cooking, prepare your caramel sauce. Combine sugar, milk, and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cook until thickened (1-2 minutes) before removing from heat. Stir in vanilla extract immediately.

Serve your persimmon cake warm, drizzled with caramel sauce. The cake will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator; the sauce will stay good for about two days. You are welcome to use storebought caramel sauce if you won’t be eating this cake quickly, as that caramel is engineered for shelf stability.

I hope you enjoy this cake! Please comment to let me know how it turns out, and tag #WhiskAverseBaking in your pictures on social media.

Persimmon Pudding

A British-style cake with a custardy center, this fruity dessert has roots in the American South
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Cooling time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Equipment

  • 9 by 13 pan

Ingredients
  

Persimmon pudding

  • 2 cups pureed persimmon pulp
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Caramel sauce

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a 9” by 13” pan and set aside.
  • Combine melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, ginger, milk, and eggs in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
  • Add ⅓ of your dry ingredients to your wet ingredient mixture and stir. Then add ⅓ of your persimmon pulp to aforementioned mixture and stir. Repeat this process until all three are combined. The batter will be very runny.
  • While the pudding is baking, make your caramel caramel sauce. Combine sugar, milk, and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cook until thickened (1-2 minutes) before removing from heat. Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Serve persimmon pudding warm, drizzled with caramel sauce. It will have a cake-like crust and a custard-like center.
Keyword cake, fruit, pudding

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