real life test kitchen: pear persimmon pudding cake with whiskey cream cheese icing


It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. Never has that phrase been more true than in regards to this year’s Thanskgiving meal. Days before the holiday, Seattle was hit by a small, yet uniquely crippling snowstorm, nearly stranding my husband and I at work, and causing me to frantically shop for the holiday without my grocery list. I did a pretty good job remembering most everything, but dessert, which was supposed to be a Peach Pie with Gingerbread Crust from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts, had been completely overlooked. Oops! So in my snowbound state, I scoured the fridge for what I could do with ingredients I had on hand. Persimmons? Check. A few past-their-prime pears? Sure. Add a frozen nub of ginger root, some cardamom pods, and I was in business. The resulting dessert was fantastic: a dense, rich, pudding-like bundt cake faintly spiced with fresh ginger and cardamom, glazed with a crazy-delicious Bushmills whiskey cream cheese icing. Perfect for holiday potlucks, lazy breakfasts and home-baked gifts, this recipe is one of my most delicious happy accidents! — Megan B. Click for pear persimmon pudding cake!

pear persimmon pudding cake with maple cream cheese icing
adapted from this recipe at Allrecipes
serves 12-16

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 cups milk
1 cups pear puree or pear sauce (you can use apple, but the pears add a nice texture)
1 cups pureed soft persimmons (freeze and thaw fuyu persimmons to soften)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1 tsp. ground cardamom

Prepare a bundt pan with buttter & a light sprinkle of flour. Preheat oven to 325. With a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy, about 7 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine pear & persimmon purees with milk and ginger. Add 1/2 c of the liquid ingredients to the butter/sugar and mix for 30 seconds, then add 1/2 c dry ingredients, mix for 30 seconds and repeat, alternating between wet & dry, scraping the bowl down after each addition. Pour batter into prepared bundt and bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cake pulls away from the edges of the pan. Invert out onto a rack, cool completely, and glaze with cream cheese icing (recipe follows).

whiskey cream cheese icing
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. Irish whiskey
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
Beat softened cream cheese with powdered sugar, maple syrup, and whiskey until fully incorporated. If too thick to pour over cake, whisk in milk or cream, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Pour over cake and enjoy!

From our partners

Wow–I was just writing a post on how much I missed summer fruit, but am trying to solace myself with the lovely persimmon. Not quite as good as a ripe summer peach, but I am becoming more happy with it.
Given my growing appreciation for the persimmon, I’ve been perusing persimmon recipes and this one looks the best so far. I can’t wait to try it!

good lord, that sounds amazing! I think I need to make it for breakfast!

You had me at whiskey.

Mary T.

Okay, so I confess to knowing Megan “IRL” and she brought some of this over to our house on Friday. It was SO. DELICIOUS. Lick-the-plate kind of food.

good god in heaven, this sounds good! i’ve never baked with persimmon before…what’s the flavor like? wondering if this would work if it was persimmon-less, as i too have way too many past-their-prime pears in my fruit bowl.

Megan B.

@Shopping: Definitely just use the pears you’ve got in the spirit of the recipe — but persimmons have a creamy, custardy, faintly vanilla flavor, and lend a really nice silky texture. If you puree them, you’ll see that the mixture is pretty thick, and helps hold the cake together without the use of eggs.

But seriously, I’ve you’ve just got the pears, the pears will be great too. If you make your own pear sauce, you can even just infuse the pears with the cardamom– either ground or not (just put the seeds in a tea ball) while cooking rather then adding it to the dry ingredients. Or make extra, and have cardamom pear sauce, which is nothing but yum.