Ever since I was a child, I have loved fruits. If I don’t have at least two fruits a day, I feel unhealthy. Almost every fruit is delicious in its own way but persimmons rank very high on my list along with figs. It was only recently that I noticed persimmons do not receive enough love. There are very few desserts that utilize this fruit so I am going to change that by sharing this upside down persimmon cake. This cake is the perfect coffee cake with lovely notes of cinnamon and served with a tangy labneh whipped cream. Never had a persimmon before? What are you waiting for?
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Upside down cakes are generally very sweet but this upside down persimmon cake is more subtle. Persimmons aren't particularly too sweet which helps make this cake more balanced. Not as sweet means it's healthy, right?
Before we make the cake, let's take a step back and talk about persimmons. There are two main types of persimmons, Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyus are wider and almost doughnut-shaped while hachiyas are elongated and look more like acorns. Besides the shape, the biggest difference is the texture. You can eat fungus slightly firm but Hachiyas must be fully ripe before being consumed.
The first time I had a Hachiya, I wasn't aware of this fact and took a big bite of a semi-ripe persimmon. I immediately spat it out. The fruit was so starchy and it left a waxy coating in my mouth. It was disgusting. However, don't let this fool you from thinking that when they are ripe or even over-ripe, they are sweet and juicy.
For this recipe, we're going to utilize both types of persimmons to get as much persimmon flavor as possible. Use Fuyu persimmons for the top layer and Hachiya for the puree. You want to use slightly firm persimmons for the top layer so that they don't disintegrate when baked.
Melt the butter for the topping, simmering until browned. Pour the browned butter into a cake pan and sprinkle brown sugar on top. You can also use a cast-iron pan, melting the butter directly in the pan and baking the cake in it.
Arrange the sliced persimmons on top, making sure to slightly overlap them. If you spread the persimmons too far apart, they will spread even further once baked. Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Once the cake is baked, let it cool slightly before inverting it otherwise the caramel can ooze out and you can burn yourself! While it's resting, make the labneh whipped cream. Labneh is essentially strained yogurt with more of a tang. The labneh whipped cream will offset the sweetness of the upside down persimmon cake and add some creaminess to the dessert.
When you're ready to invert the cake, carefully place a plate over the pan and flip it over. Serve the cake warm with a dollop of labneh whipped cream. This cake is the definition of a winter dessert with cinnamon, nutmeg, and delicious persimmon all wrapped into one. In fact, I served this on Thanksgiving and it was a hit!
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