Warm Persimmon Cake With Orange and Olive Oil

Time1 hour 45 minutes
YieldsServes 10 to 12
Puréed Hachiya persimmons flavor this warm, spiced holiday cake brightened with orange zest and liqueur.
(Dylan + Jeni / For the Times; prop styling by Kate Parisian)
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This dessert is an update on classic persimmon pudding. It’s typically spiced like gingerbread and very sweet, but this version is made with pureed Hachiya persimmons, delicately spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon and brightened with orange and lemon. It’s baked in a Bundt pan, then drizzled with booze-spiked butter and sugar while warm and served with whipped cream and snappy, tart Fuyu persimmons. You can use butter and flour to prepare the pan, but I prefer nonstick baking spray, which more evenly coats the intricate corners of a Bundt pan and ensures that the cake comes out in one piece. I like to prepare the pan ahead of time, as well as the wet and dry ingredients. Then, as soon as the meal is served, I can quickly mix the batter and pop the pan in the oven to bake up and be warm for serving after dinner. If you don’t have a 9-inch Bundt pan, you can use the same 10-inch pan called for in the recipe for Cinnamon Holiday Cake With Bourbon and Pecans.

For the cake:
To serve:

Up to one day before you plan to serve, prepare the cake components: Spray a 10-cup, 9-inch-diameter Bundt pan (see note above) with nonstick baking spray or grease thoroughly with butter, followed by an even dusting of flour, tapping out any excess. Place the prepared Bundt pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon until evenly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve at room temperature until ready to use.


In a 4-cup liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, combine the Hachiya persimmon pulp, 232 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar, 4 tablespoons melted butter, the olive oil, milk, 3 tablespoons orange liqueur and the eggs. Using a microplane set over the measuring cup, finely grate the zest from the lemon and orange. Juice the lemon and measure out 3 tablespoons of the juice; add to the liquid ingredients and discard the rest or save for another use. Juice the orange and measure out 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the juice; add to the liquid ingredients and discard the rest or save for another use. Whisk the liquid ingredients until smooth. Cover the measuring cup with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.


One and a half hours before you plan to serve the cake, heat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the prepared pan and liquid ingredients from the refrigerator while the oven heats up.


Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth and no traces of flour are visible. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until the cake is puffed and risen and a toothpick inserted halfway between the edge and the center tunnel comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.


While the cake bakes, prepare the fruit to serve: Remove the calyx (the hard, leafy petals at the top) from the persimmons, then slice them into thin wedges and toss in a bowl with the lemon juice, brown sugar and salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


Prepare the whipped cream: Place the cream in a large bowl and whisk until it starts to thicken. Pour in the orange liqueur and continue whisking until it forms soft peaks. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.


When the cake is done, transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. The cake will deflate a bit; this is normal. Place a serving dish upside down over the pan, then holding the two together, invert the pan, letting the cake fall onto the dish. Lift the Bundt pan off the cake.


While the cake is still warm, quickly combine the remaining 2 tablespoons each of sugar, melted butter and orange liqueur in a heatproof bowl or small skillet and warm over medium heat (or microwave in the bowl) until hot, about 1 minute. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then drizzle the warm syrup evenly over the cake. Serve the cake while warm with the persimmons and a dollop of the orange whipped cream.