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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fuyu Kaki Bundt

It's kaki season again! Kaki (柿) is the Japanese word for persimmon. According to the Tokyo Foundation, kaki are one of the few fruits native to Japan, however more sources state that China is where it originated from. Either way, kaki have been cultivated in Japan since at least the 7th century. Before modern sugar, honey and kaki were the main sources of sweets in Japan, and kaki are omnipresent in Japanese art and ancient culture. The dried persimmon, hoshigaki, is a very rare treat from Japan that was presented to the Edo shogunate, as well as later foreign visitors such as Herman Hesse. Even to this day, hoshigaki are a rare treat only available in small quantities in the fall, due to the labor-intensive production.

Three fuyu and one hachiya
There are two basic types of kakis: the squat Fuyu that can be eaten crisp like an apple or the heart-shaped Hachiya type that is ripened until jelly-like inside. The Hachiya cannot be eaten hard because it is very astringent unless fully ripe.

My family is fortunate enough to have access to home grown persimmons. My great uncle John has a fuyu kaki tree, and around this time giant bags make their way from my grandmother filled with persimmons. As a kid, my mom would cut one up to accompany oatmeal for breakfast. Their natural spicy sweet flavor combined with their juicy crispness will always remind me of fall.

Once, my mom gave us an unripe persimmon. I will tell you right now, it is a life-scarring experience. They are inedible, with the astringency pulling every drop of moisture from your mouth. The closest experience that I can think of is getting the wind knocked out of you. Just like that, you are left gasping and gaping like a fish out of water.

I wanted to make something with my share of kaki this year, besides just eating them sliced like apples.  Despite not being a very seasoned baker, the Food Librarian's bundt recipe just spoke to me. I HAD to make this bundt, despite having to raid my mother's pantry for all her baking spices and going out to buy a bundt pan. Adapted from a 70's recipe from Sunset Magazine, I hope you will love this spice bread with the nuggets of kaki melted into it and walnuts providing a nice contrast.

the spices are so pretty!
I kept the original teaspoon of ground cloves, but you might halve it if you find that spice too intense.  My mother doesn't do a terrible amount of baking so her spices were several years old and I figured that they needed quantity since their potency might have faded. I am not the biggest fan of raisins, so I replaced them with dried tart cherries. My second choice besides dried cherries was fresh pomegranate seeds, so feel free to play around with this. I wanted something tarter to keep everything from becoming too sweet, especially since I went with a glaze rather than powdered sugar.

The batter after adding in kaki
More than anything, I was amazed at how simple this was to make! I am so excited to try out some more bundt recipes! Mary the bundt-a-holic, on her Food Librarian blog, has tons of fun ones that I'm now itching to try!

Fuyu Kaki Bundt

for the cake:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temp
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
3 cups peeled and diced fuyu kaki
2 teaspoons baking soda
Ready to go in the oven!
1 2/3 cups (340 grams) sugar
2 eggs, room temp
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cooling, and sorely tempting Tiara
1/2 cup dried cherries or fresh pomegranate seeds

for the optional glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss the diced kaki with the baking soda. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at at time until just combined. Add in the lemon juice and vanilla extract, then stir in the kaki gently. After the kaki are incorporated, slowly mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the walnuts and cherries and then pour into a buttered and floured bundt pan.  Smooth the top of the cake mixture, and then place the bundt pan in the middle of the oven directly on the rack. Bake for 50-60 minutes until tested mostly clean with a few crumbs. Let cool for 15 minutes, then invert on a wire rack and cool completely before adding a glaze or powdered sugar. I decorated mine with gold dragées (also lifted from my mother's pantry). To make the glaze, whisk together the sugar and maple syrup into a stiff glaze, then pour over the top of the cooled bundt.


  1. Devany, This is an unbelievably beautiful cake! I can't believe this is your first bundt.

  2. Great photos! Yes the Uomoto persimmons are delicious. Do you know about making Hoshigaki, Japanese massage dried persimmon? See link. A few years ago I made Hoshigaki. I had to explain to friends why I had persimmons covered in plume (mold) handing in my house. Aunt Kerrie

    1. I mention hoshigaki in the first paragraph actually! I'm going to try and make them with this batch. Since they are fuyu, they are going to be more be the flatter Chinese/Korean style.

      Hopefully they turn out and I will be able to post on the whole process!

  3. I've never known what to do with persimmons aside from eat them straight; I'll have to bear this in mind!

    1. I know seriously! My mom would cut them up to put in oatmeal, but that's about as fancy as we got. Most of the time we just ate them sliced like apples.

  4. Ilove this bundt cake. I am always one the lok out for new recipes with persimmons!!Thanks for sharing!

  5. My Misadventure Making Ms Mochi's Fuyu Kaki Bundt Cake

    Upon awakening Saturday morning, it occurred to me that: I never baked Leroy a birthday cake; I recently saw a recipe and pictures of a gorgeous persimmon bundt cake on Ms. Mochi's cooking blog; I did, in fact, possess four persimmons compliments of the mother of Ms. Mochi; I had some time to spare this rainy day.

    It would probably be good to explain at this point in the story that I do not bake...making horse treats to hide Buddy's pain medication is about all I do anymore. This is what has become of someone who used to bake pies from scratch, but I digress...

    As the recipe was on my iPad and I didn't want to get kitchen goo on said iPad, I did not have the recipe at hand...I had to cross the kitchen each time to peruse it. This alone was a mistake of epic proportion that would have been remedied by a quick trip to the printer but I was lazy.

    I gathered all my ingredients noting that I had everything but the walnuts and the dried cherries/pomegranate seeds. I substituted dried plums which we all know is just a clever marketing ploy to get us to eat prunes. I figured it would be a win-win situation, if you know what I mean.

    Being that I haven't creamed anything in a long time, I missed the part in the recipe where I was supposed to use the sugar in that process. As I had busily measured all the dry ingredients in one bowl including the sugar, I now had only butter and eggs for creaming. Let's just say that there is a very good reason to use sugar in this process. No matter how I expertly whirled my mixer, the result was a lumpy mess (and I burned up the motor in my 32+ year old mixer). Now I was really starting to have fun.

    At this point, I figured "anything goes" and proceeded with my endeavor. Since I had a relatively small lumpy mess of butter, eggs, lemon juice and vanilla and a very large amount of dry ingredients, I'm afraid the kaki were not exactly gently handled as I tried to mix everything together. It eventually, after much effort, resembled cookie dough with specks of butter. I then folded (more like man-handled) the diced prunes (aka dried plums) into the carnage.

    After finding the bundt pan which has never seen the inside of an oven in her 32 years of sitting in various cupboards, I proceeded to shovel in the play dough-textured glop, tamping it down carefully, noting that the recipe said to level it in the pan.

    As I currently await the timer's beep, I pray the cake will release from the pan when it is this point I fear the bundt pan figures this is her one-and-only shot and will not let go.

    I will continue my saga in about an hour...

    The cake tests done and is presently cooling, smelling mighty fine. The bundt pan happily released her prisoner and the cake is on the cooling rack. It looks like a bundt cake should yet not as full figured as the cake pictured on Ms. Mochi's blog, mine being somewhat vertically challenged.

    Well, hopefully the glazing process will be more uneventful. Oh, that's right, I have no mixer to make said glaze. Well then, let them eat cake!! It's too bad about the hole in the cake where I took a taste, planning to cover up my deed with glaze. I will note here that it does taste delicious!

    The good news in my story:

    I tried something new, failed miserably, and will learn from my mistakes...I will never forget to cream butter with sugar again!
    I get to buy a brand new mixer!
    I finally used the bundt pan!
    It made the kitchen smell great!


    (Disclaimer: the above account is true and no animals were harmed in the process. Only a mixer met an untimely death. Also, the misadventure was entirely my own doing as the recipe shown on Ms. Mochi's blog was very clear and concise.)

    1. You can just whisk the glaze together using a whisk or even a fork next time! That's what I do, rather than dirtying the stand mixer.

  6. Note on the post above: Leroy is her husband. Buddy is her Appaloosa horse who needs meds... but he spits them out if he finds them so they are baked into horse cookies. So sorry the mixer died an unfortunate death.