Do you ever look at recipes and think, “Welp, guess I’m not making this…I don’t have this ingredient, I don’t have that ingredient, and I sure as hell don’t have *insert obscure dairy-free sugar-free vegan-free ingredient here*”
Hello. I am Chef Cory. And I am here to tell you that half the battle of being a great chef is improvising.
Now, mama didn’t raise no fool…you can’t just substitute a lemon when you need a pound of beef brisket…but simple swaps like using pumpkin seeds when the recipe calls for walnuts, subbing in Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, using applesauce instead of oil, and swapping eggnog for buttermilk can cut down the cost of the recipe you’re about to create, not to mention the number of times you have to cruise the aisles of Trader Joe’s pretending you remember where the Grade B maple syrup is.
Wait, did I just say eggnog instead of buttermilk?! You might be a tad bit confuzzled at this point- and that’s okay. I’m here to declare QUIT buying cartons of buttermilk when you only need a small amount for a recipe- you can make your own buttermilk! And you can even make it vegan! Alls yous hafta do is mix 1 tablespoon of an acid like lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar per 1 cup of whatever milk you want to use. In this case, all I had in my messy post-Thanksgiving-explosion-refrigerator was eggnog, and thus, eggnog buttermilk was born.
This “buttermilk” gives your recipe that tang that normal buttermilk predictably delivers, along with the boost in leavening (aka makes your baked goodie rise higher) and softening of your final product. Science, babies.
The result in this dazzling Persimmon Upside Down cake is a super soft texture and ultra flavorful crumb. The fresh ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory, gives it a little zing and the toasted pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds) give the cake a heartier quality and a whole lot of gut-scrubbing fiber. Did I mention those persimmons? How have I never baked with these delicious orange gems before?! They’re definitely the “apple” of the winter and their ever-so-sweet dreamy taste and creamy-when-cooked texture lends itself beautifully to the heavy spice inside this winter cake. Plus, persimmons are rich in antioxidants as well as vitamin A, C, and E. WINNING.
When your fam is starting to plan what y’all are gonna feast on for whatever holiday it is you’re celebrating, look no farther than delighting them with this gorgeous, delicious, and perfect-for-cold-weather dessert. I won’t lie, it makes a fantastic breakfast with a mug of coffee, as well 😉 See below….
Psssst- This recipe is refined-sugar free and can easily be made gluten free by using all-purpose GF flour in place of the regular flour.
Persimmon Upside Down Cake
Makes: 1 cake
- 2/3 cups eggnog (or any other type of milk)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (can also use white vinegar)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose, gluten free, or whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 8 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup 100% pure maple syrup + 2 tablespoons
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup toasted pepitas/pumpkin seeds (can bake at 350 for 10-12 mins to toast)
- 1/4″ knob of ginger, peeled and minced finely
- 4 ripe fuyu persimmons, green tops removed and sliced very thinly into rounds
- First, you’re going to make “eggnog buttermilk”- combine the eggnog (or whatever milk you’re using) and lemon juice (or vinegar) in a small bowl and let sit until slightly curdled (about 5-7 minutes). While this is going, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Next, whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together 6 tablespoons of the butter (leaving the other 2 out) and 1 cup of the maple syrup until thoroughly mixed (about 2 minutes). Scrape the bowl, then add in the egg and egg yolk and beat another 2 minutes.
- Add in half of the flour, beat 10 seconds, then add in the “buttermilk”, beat another 10 seconds. Pour in remaining flour and beat another 30 seconds until totally mixed. You may have to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Fold in the toasted pepitas and ginger with a spatula.
- Next, heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and melt remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup until just melted but not bubbling/boiling (can also use at a minimum, a 10″ cake pan if you don’t have a cast iron…in this case heat a separate skillet over medium and melt butter/maple syrup then scrape into whatever cake pan you’re using). Let cool a minute or so, then carefully arrange persimmon rounds over the mixture, beginning by placing one in the middle, then layering in outward-moving concentric circles…overlapping is chill so long as you’re covering the whole bottom of the pan!
- Pour batter over persimmon slices and bake for 40-50 minutes, checking cake at 40 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick comes out clean when poked into the center and the cake looks golden brown. Let cool for at least 30 minutes, but preferably an hour (if you can wait that long….) Then, using a butter knife, scrape along all the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the upside down cake using a large plate (larger than the pan you used). Serve!