Now Reading
Festive Persimmon Cake

Festive Persimmon Cake

The seasonal tastes of nutmeg and brandy make this a real treat to serve at a holiday party along with egg nog, mulled cider or a glass of sparkling wine.
By Nicole Criss

With December here, holiday baking is in full swing. Many people have a favorite cookie or cake recipe they look forward to making every year. I love the idea of traditional holiday recipes but it’s always so tempting to try something new, especially when it features an exotic ingredient.  I brought this festive persimmon cake to a holiday party last year and it really stood out from the crowd in both taste and originality.

See Also

Depending on where you grew up, you may not be familiar with persimmons.  With today’s global market, they are now becoming widely available.  Persimmons were introduced in the United States in the 1880’s when a U.S. Commander brought back a native variety from Japan.  The “hachiya” variety featured here should be consumed when fully ripe and soft. Preferably not covered in snow, but perhaps with a little cream cheese frosting on a luscious slice of persimmon cake.

A snow covered persimmon tree in Gubbio, (Umbria) Italy

Festive Persimmon Cake

This decadent cake is chock full of walnuts, apricot chunks and raisins. The seasonal tastes of nutmeg and brandy make it a real treat to serve at a holiday party along with egg nog, mulled cider or a glass of sparkling wine. I recommend serving this cake un-iced for breakfast or brunch, or with icing for afternoon tea a holiday party.

  • Author: Nicole Criss, adapted from James Beard's recipe
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 1x


  • 3 1/2 cups (350 grams0) sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups (380 grams) sugar
  • 1 cup (230 grams) melted butter, cooled
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup Cognac or bourbon (I used brandy)
  • 2 cups (450 grams) persimmon puree (Between 2 and 4 persimmons. It is not necessary to peel them)
  • 2 cups (230 grams) coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups (300 grams) raisins (I used one cup raisins and one cup of chopped dried apricots)


  1. Sift all five dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  2. Make a well in the center and add the cooled, melted butter, eggs, Cognac, persimmon puree, nuts and raisins.
  3. Mix the dough until it is quite smooth.
  4. Fill a ring mold or four smaller molds to make individual cakes.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until a tester comes out clean.


Optional Cream Cheese frosting (adapted from Martha Stewart)

8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces (226 grams) butter, room temperature and cut up into pieces
1 cup (130 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and beat together with a spatula until smooth.
Sift in the sugar little by little until combined.
Stir in the vanilla extract.
Ice cake once well cooled, and store in refrigerator.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!


View Comments (4)
  • I live in Tennessee, and make a persimmon cake from the wild persimmons that grow throughout our region. It’s really good, put the persimmons are really small, and it takes a lot of them to get 2 cups. I’ve never seen persimmons at our local grocery stores (Kroger, Food Lion, or Super Walmarts) so gathering them from nature is a welcomed pleasure in October – that is if you can beat the animals to them. The cake is well worth all the pain staking pleasure I get from making it, and everyone loves it. I’m sure your’s is as wonderful as well.

  • I made this for Thanksgiving dinner after finding some persimmons at my local produce market. The flavor is amazing! I should have baked it a few more minutes as it was still a little mushy in the center after an hour, but it was a hit anyway. (I cheated and used canned cream cheese frosting.) Your recipe sounded so good, I just had to try it, and I wanted to say thanks!! The family asked if I would make it again for Christmas. I pureed several extra persimmons and put them in the freezer in one cup portions so I can make at least one more :)

  • Your recipe was not detailed enough! How should one go about pureeing a persimmon if one has never used or even eaten one?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

Scroll To Top