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Persimmon Cake with Crème Fraîche and Maple Pecans

Shimon and Tammar Rothstein

Yield: Yields one 10-inch cake

Crisp, crunchy varieties of persimmons, like Fuyus, are great eaten out of hand, sliced into salads, and diced into salsas, but this cake, inspired by farmer James Birch of Flora Bella Farm, is the perfect way to show off the softer Hachiya types, which need to be completely soft before they are eaten. I love that these persimmons actually taste of fall and winter— as if they have been grown in fields of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. It’s very strange but so magical to have those flavors reinforced by the fruit itself. This is a great one for the Thanksgiving or Christmas buffet.

This recipe is excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook. Read our review.


For the maple pecans

  • 1-1/2 cups pecans
  • 2 Tbs. maple sugar
  • 1 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

For the cake

  • 1-3/4 cups (approximately 3-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus a little for the pan
  • About 3 ripe Hachiya persimmons (to yield 1 cup puréed flesh)
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 1-1/2 cups maple pecans


Make the maple pecans

  • Heat oven to 350° F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Spread evenly across the prepared baking sheet. Bake, stirring every few minutes, for about 10 minutes, or until toasted. Set aside until ready to finish the cake.

Make the cake

  • Heat the oven to 350° F.
  • Prepare a 10-inch round cake pan by lightly buttering the inside surfaces, lining the bottom with parchment paper, and buttering the parchment. Cook 4 Tbs. butter (1/2 stick) in a small saucepan over high heat for a few minutes, swirling the pan, until the butter browns and smells nutty. Set aside to cool.
  • Scoop the ripe flesh from the persimmons, and purée in a blender until smooth. Measure out 1 cup purée.
  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, the spices, and salt in a small bowl, and set aside.
  • In another bowl, combine the purée, 1/4 cup cream, vanilla, and cooled browned butter.
  • Paddle the remaining 1-1/2 cups butter and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium-high for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each egg. Decrease the paddle speed to low. Alternately add the flour mixture and persimmon-purée mixture to the bowl, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  • Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour, until cake feels springy to the touch. Whip the remaining 3/4 cup cream and the crème fraîche to soft peaks. Cut six slices from the cake (the cake will yield ten to twelve servings), and place on six dessert plates. Dollop with whipped crème fraîche, and scatter the candied pecans over the cake and around the plate.


Maple sugar can be found at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, specialty stores, and of course, online. Although you can substitute turbinado or even brown sugar, the maple sugar makes it extra maple-y and special.Excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Goin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • LaughterAndSleep | 11/24/2017

    This was great, I made it yesterday for Thanksgiving and everyone loved it. Instead of plating it with the whipped cream like in the instructions, I did what is shown in the photo - mounded the whipped cream into the middle and arranged the pecans in it. I then used a mesh strainer to dust extra maple sugar over the top of it all and it was really pretty and well-received! I would say to buy more pecans than you need and pick through them to take out broken ones (I did not buy enough to do this), just because it'll look prettier.

  • IlumioApp | 02/29/2016

    i love it

  • beatamack | 12/12/2014

    This cake was very easy to make. I just cut down on the surgar to 3/4 c, so you can taste fruit more. It was very good with whipping cream and pecans. Definitley will make it again.

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