“This cake will forever remind me of the holidays in Texas,” says Jessica Maher, owner of Lenoir in Austin. “The batter is super boozy and spiced, and when it’s baking, the whole house smell like eggnog (despite not having any eggs!).” Be sure to use the ripest-possible persimmons—several varieties make their way to market during the holiday season, “but the types most prevalent in Texas are Hachiya and Eureka, both of which need to be soft enough to nearly stick your finger through the skin,” Maher says. “I like to serve this cake with kumquat marmalade and whipped créme fraîche, but it really doesn’t need much to embellish—just a good cup of coffee.”
2½ cups very ripe Hachiya or Eureka persimmons (about 5-8)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (or use Meyer lemons)
⅔ cup dried currants
½ cup golden raisins
¾ cup dark rum
1¾ cups pecan halves
1½ cups bread flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground clove
½ tsp. grated nutmeg
1¾ cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil, or other neutral-flavored oil
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
¾ cup whole milk (or substitute your favorite dairy-free alternative)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 12 one-cup bundtlette molds, or one 12-cup bundt pan, with non-stick spray. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the currants, raisins and rum; set aside.
Spread the pecan halves on a baking sheet. Bake until toasted, about 8 minutes. Remove the pecans and coarsely chop; set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
In a blender or a food processor, purée the flesh of the persimmons until smooth. (Maher uses a stick blender in a 4-cup measuring cup). Blend or whisk in the sugar, oil, ginger, lemon zest and vanilla.
In a large bowl, sift together the bread flour, baking soda, salt, cloves and nutmeg. Fold the purée mixture into the flour mixture to combine. You can use a large balloon whisk to fold to break up any flour pockets, but don’t over-mix or the cake will get tough. Fold in the dried fruit and all the rum, the milk and the pecans. Spoon the batter into the prepared molds (or pour into the large mold).
Bake until the center of the cake is firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes for small bundtlettes, or 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes for large bundt. Cool the cake in the pan for at least 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate or baking sheet to cool completely before serving.
Makes 12 bundtlettes or 1 large bundt.
Jessica Maher, Lenoir, Austin
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