When I decided to make a persimmon upside-down cake, I didn't think that using a standard pineapple upside-down cake recipe would fly, so I went for a sturdier, denser cake, reinforced with extra egg yolk and ground nuts. I also liked the idea of caramelization via maple syrup, which, it turns out, is great with the fruit. The flavors will mellow and meld overnight, but the cake will stay very moist, so it's a great bake-ahead dessert, though ideally it should be served warm. I love using the traditional cast iron pan, but if you don't have one, be sure to use a minimum 10-inch cake pan—there's a good amount of batter. Most important, though, is to use fuyu persimmons, which have the right texture for the recipe (as opposed to hachiyas, which are too soft). Cut them in slices parallel to the equator to get the sweet little star pattern. - vvvanessa —vvvanessa
Test Kitchen Notes
This cake is like your favorite spice cake meets the caramelized, fruity goodness of a tarte tatin—it's a go-to you'll be dreaming about long after the persimmons are gone. We'd stop there, but then, there's the faintly sweet Maple Cream. You have direct orders not to skip the latter; you can whip it up in a blender if you're short on time.
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- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
- Serves 8-10
- Persimmon Upside-Down Cake
plus 2 tablespoons real maple syrup (grade B if you can get it, but grade A is fine as long as it's the real thing)
1 1/2 cups
fine table salt
large egg at room temperature
large egg yolk at room temperature
finely chopped roasted pecans
ripe fuyu persimmons, or 3 if it fits, cut into slices parallel to the equator, about 1/4-inch thick
- Maple Cream
heavy whipping cream, well-chilled
real maple syrup, well-chilled
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Over low heat on the stovetop, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a 10-inch skillet. It should not get hot or bubbly, just melted. Remove the pan from the heat. (If you're planning to bake the cake in a cast iron skillet, use that pan for this step.)
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of maple syrup over medium-low until they are thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add in the egg and egg yolk, and beat for another minute.
- Add in half of the flour mixture and beat for 10 seconds. Add in the buttermilk and beat for 10 seconds more. Add in the rest of the flour mixture, beat for 10 seconds, scrape down the bowl, and beat for 20 seconds more.
- Stir in the pecans, scraping down the bowl in the process.
- Take the cast iron pan (if using), and swirl the butter-syrup mixture to make sure the sides and bottom of the pan are thoroughly coated, taking care if the pan is still hot. If you're not using a cast iron pan, pour the mixture into a 10-inch cake pan. Set one slice of persimmon in the middle of the pan, then layer the persimmons in outward-moving concentric circles, overlapping them as necessary to cover the bottom of the pan completely.
- Pour the batter over the fruit, and smooth out the surface.
- Bake on the center rack for 45-50 minutes, rotating the pan about 20 minutes into baking. The cake will brown slightly and is done when it tests clean in the middle.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Allow it to cool until it can be handled safely without oven mitts (anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more). Using a thin butter knife or an icing spatula, gently loosen the sides of the cake. Place a large serving plate inverted on top of the pan. Bracing the plate against the pan with one hand, flip the cake over and out of the pan and onto the plate. If there is another set of hands to help with the heavy pan, all the better.
- Allow the cake to finish cooling on the plate. While the cake is cooling, make the maple cream. Whip the cream, maple syrup, and cinnamon together to form soft peaks. Keep refrigerated until the cake is ready to serve.
- Serve slices of cake warm with a big dollop of the maple cream.