There is a lot to be said for whimsy. Of whimsy, I am a rather large fan.
I have just looked up the definition of the word whimsy in the dictionary and, oh dear, I fear poor whimsy may be very misunderstood! Ye olde dictionary wants to paint it in a conceited light, like it is a good for nothing, flippant little urge which will, quite frankly, get you into trouble.
But hark! What about those serendipitous ideas that strike you, and you follow them just because? Are they not a precious moment of whim? Is this, in fact, not exactly what life should be about, living in the moment and all such things?
I believe whimsy and inspiration are very good friends, maybe even cousins, and they should be grabbed by the hand and danced around with whenever they turn up at your door.
Here I go, speaking in a grand and whimsical fashion, I hope you won’t all mind.
So what on earth does all of this have to do with persimmon cake? Well, it is because I like to get swept up in the idea of things that a cake like this was born. I had started to spy some persimmons around and having grown up with a large persimmon tree in the backyard, the whimsy of my memory took me by the hand and loaded up my basket to the brim. We grew the astringent variety, which must get very soft before you eat it, unless you like having your mouth turned inside out and dusted with chalk. But, in my new home town, you can buy both the soft and the firm varieties, even more fun.
Hoping to pass on some of my fond childhood memories to the littlies, I have planted a tree of each variety in our yard, but I’m getting in early and trying to introduce the love of persimmon by slipping some crunchy slices into a lunch box here, making a yummy persimmon, avocado and sesame salad there, and baking some into a cake. By the time our trees are producing their own, I hope to have two fellow persimmon (and whimsy) advocates standing at my hip.
My husband says this cake reminds him of Pfeffernusse – those delicious German spice biscuits with the crunchy white tops… I guess it has that same gentle spicing but with the aroma of persimmon. Total afternoon tea material, just add a nice cup of tea.
Persimmon and Maple Spice Cake
adapted from Desserts for Breakfast, who adapted from Tartine
- Pulp from 3 very soft persimmons (around 300g)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 150g sugar
- 280g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 250ml grapeseed oil
- 3 eggs
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 6-cup bundt tin and set aside.
Puree the pulp from your persimmons (discarding any skin or seeds) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, salt and spices and give a little whisk.
In another bowl, whisk the persimmon puree, oil, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until they are homogenous. Add in your eggs one at a time, whisking each one in well before adding the next. Now gently mix through the flour mixture until just combined.
Pour the cake mixture into your prepared bundt tin and bake for 50 or so minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
I served my cake for afternoon tea with dollops of greek yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup, and just for a bit more persimmon love, some wedges of the firm variety.
Big thank you my super talented friend Sarah who took these lovely photos xx