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Persimmon Pound Cake


3¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup buttermilk

2 sticks butter,
softened, plus more for buttering pan

1 cup sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

4 eggs

1 cup persimmon purée



I used Nancie McDermott’s recipe for sweet potato pound cake (Southern Cakes, Chronicle Books, 2007) as the skeleton to hang this recipe on. Persimmons have an odd way of holding onto their moisture, so I only needed half as much pulp as I would have with sweet potatoes. I also switched from milk to buttermilk.

  1. Butter 10-inch tube pan and set it in fridge. Let butter set, then butter a second time and dust with flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift first 7 ingredients together and set aside.
  3. Add vanilla to buttermilk and set aside.
  4. Cream butter and both sugars together in electric mixer set at high speed, using paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl from time to time. Add eggs, 1 at a time, on slower speed, letting each egg be completely combined before adding the next. Still at a low speed, add purée and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Fold ½ mixed dry ingredients into batter by hand, using a spatula. Follow with ½ milk mixture, then repeat. Mix only until everything is combined. Don’t overmix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared tube pan and bake for at least 70 minutes. Then begin testing for doneness: Cake should feel springy at center and knife blade inserted in center should come out clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes before turning out onto cake rack. I serve this with a little crème anglaise and fresh whipped cream.
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