Persimmon-Honey Upside Down Cake
This is by far my favorite persimmon recipe to make every year! We have a couple of trees and I love finding ways to incorporate them into our daily eating while reserving some for preserving. I slice up the crunchy ones to adorn a salad, like apples. I cook some down into a compote with fresh ginger. Sometimes, I make a quickbread or muffins. And I always dry a good bit of them, too! Dried persimmons are a chewy, sweet treat — my kids love them!
Back to cake. This is a seasonal take on the classic pineapple upside down cake. I altered it some more to highlight local honey and stone ground grains. The cake batter is a mix of cornmeal, whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour; this combination creates a textured, nutty batter that compliments persimmons perfectly. You can play with the flours, if you wish, but just make sure you use 1 ½ cups total. I have also made this cake with maple syrup, but the honey is exquisite! I did find that with the honey, the cake batter needs some extra spicing up so I added more cinnamon and some ginger, which is reflected below.
One last tip for making the perfect thin slices of persimmon: cut a small chuck off one end (especially if there’s a small bad spot) and stand the persimmon up on the cut edge to make slicing easier. You can hide the cut edge once you start overlapping slices!
Give this easy and beautiful recipe a try this weekend or tuck it away from when guests visit, but make it soon before these beautiful fruits are done producing!
Persimmon Upside Down Cake
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 cup local honey, divided
- 1/2 cup locally stone ground cornmeal
- ½ cup locally stone ground whole wheat flour (I used spelt)
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine table salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 2/3 cup local buttermilk
- 3 local persimmons, peeled and cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Over low heat on the stovetop, gently melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of honey in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Remove from heat, set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining six tablespoons of butter and remaining honey over medium-low until they are thoroughly combined, a few minutes. Scrape down the bowl, add in the egg, and beat for another minute.
- Add in half of the flour mixture and combine. Add in the buttermilk and beat for a few seconds. Add in the rest of the flour, mix, scrape down the bowl, and beat until just combined.
- Take the cast iron pan and swirl the butter and honey mixture to make sure the sides and bottom of the pan are thoroughly coated. Set the prettiest slice of persimmon in the middle of the pan, then layer the persimmons in a circle pattern around the center, overlapping them to provide the top layer.
- Pour the batter over the fruit, and smooth out the surface.
- Bake on the center rack for 45 minutes, rotating halfway through. The cake will brown slightly and is done when it tests clean with a toothpick inserted in the middle.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Allow it to cool until it can be handled safely. Using a thin butter knife or an icing spatula, loosen the sides of the cake. Place a large serving plate inverted on top of the pan. Flip the cake over and out of the pan and onto the plate.