Persimmon Walnut Cake

For most of my life, I had no idea what a persimmon was. The first time I saw one was around Christmas time in Italy– large crates of them on the floor in someone’s garage– I thought they were a bizarre variety of tomato. Italians call them kaki, which sounds like it would be awful, and actually the first time I tasted one, I was not too impressed. Sweet, but with a slightly bitter aftertaste, and a pulpy, overripe texture. I’m not exactly setting up the dream dessert with this introduction. But when I see this fruit appear in supermarkets at this time of year, I want to do something with them.  If you bake persimmons, their naturally jammy texture will meld well into a crumbly, nutty holiday cake. Their sweetness is rounded out by the spices and nuts. It’s also about colors with this one, because the golden raisins, olive oil and bright orange persimmon pulp give this  a very warm, sunshine glow. This dish could probably also be replicated with mango, peach or apricot.

Persimmon Walnut Cake

Servings:  about 12


  • 1 cup persimmon pulp
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350, and prep a shallow baking dish.  To prepare the persimmon pulp, peel 2 medium to large persimmons, either with a vegetables peeler or by hand. Dice or pick apart by hand, and mash solid bits with a fork to break up. Then add the baking soda and mix into the pulp. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients, add egg, raisins and chopped walnuts. Add the persimmon mash to that, and incorporate. Spread mixture evenly on the baking dish and bake for roughly 20 minutes. Cut into squares to serve.

persimmon pulp