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A flavorful cake from Sacramento's Persimmon Lady

Recipe: Spicy persimmon brunch cake tastes, smells delicious

Cake on a plate
An easy fall spice cake. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Persimmon season always makes me think of Jean Brine, Sacramento’s Persimmon Lady.

Back in 2010, this retired state worker wrote the definitive persimmon recipe book to answer any query about what to do with too many persimmons. Titled “Perfectly Persimmon,” her spiral-bound cookbook contains 1,010 recipes for persimmons.

The 440-page book features persimmon ideas for both Fuyu and Hachiya varieties, and everything from appetizers and salads to desserts and sauces.

“When you speak of persimmons, the only thing that comes to 90 percent of people is, 'Oh, I love persimmon cookies!’ ” Brine said in an interview after her book was released. “But that's just a drop in the bucket of what you can do with persimmons.”

Looking for something different to do with my Fuyus, I turn to her cookbook often during persimmon season. My persimmons are now at the super-ripe and mushy stage, perfect for baking.

This breakfast cake is hardy enough for a frosty morning and smells wonderful baking in the oven.

Brine’s cookbook is still available on Amazon. If you have a plentiful supply of persimmons, it’s an excellent addition to your kitchen library.

Fuyu persimmons can be eaten ripe or crisp.

Spicy Persimmon Brunch Cake

Makes 9 servings


1-1/4 cups pureed persimmons

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon grated orange rind

½ teaspoon grated lemon rind

½ cup chopped walnuts

Powdered sugar

Slice of cake
This cake is a lovely choice for brunch or dessert.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour an 8-inch baking pan.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together persimmon pulp and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add persimmon mixture; stir well.

In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Gradually blend flour mixture into the persimmon/butter mixture. Stir in orange and lemon rinds and chopped nuts.

Spoon batter into baking pan and smooth into an even layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Serve warm.

Adapted from “Perfectly Persimmon” by Jean Brine (Morris Press Cookbooks, 2010).


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Feb. 18:

It's wet to start the week. When you do get outside, between or after storms, concentrate on damage control:

* Keep storm drains and gutters clear of debris.

* Clean up tree debris knocked down by wind and rain.

* Where did the water flow in your garden? Make notes where revisions are necessary.

* Are any trees leaning? See disturbances in the ground or lawn around their base? Time to call an arborist before the tree topples.

* Dump excess water out of pots.

* Indoors, start peppers, tomatoes and eggplant from seed.

* Lettuce and other greens also can be started indoors from seed.

* Got bare-root plants? Put their roots in a bucket of water until outdoor soil dries out. Or pot them up in 1- or 5-gallon containers. In April, transplant the plant, rootball and all, into the garden.

* Browse garden websites and catalogs. It’s not too late to order for spring and summer.

* Show your indoor plants some love. Dust leaves and mist to refresh.

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