Fall Harvest Fruit Cake (Persimmon-Apple Cake)

by on December 16, 2008
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Native PersimmonsI came home after Thanksgiving with a bag of persimmons from my parents’ garden. As my father pointed out to me, these were fairly small fruits and still hard at the time, so I’d have to wait for them to soften up before I could eat them. If you’ve ever bitten into an under-ripe Hachiya persimmon, you know why: The astringent taste will make the inside of your mouth feel like it’s coated with a bitter fur, and you’ll never want to eat one again. You have to wait until the fruit is practically turning to mush before you can be sure it’s ripe, but when it is ripe, it’s rich and sweet–the candy of fruits.

So I put my persimmons on the counter and waited. And waited. After a couple of weeks had passed and only two or three fruits had ripened (and been eaten right away), I did what you have to do to make all the fruits ripen at once. I put them in a plastic bag with a ripe apple. Within 2 days the gases from the apple had ripened all the persimmons and they were ready to become dessert.

So, I made a fruit cake–not the kind of fruit cake my mother used to make at this time of year, full of artificially colored dried fruit and soaked in bourbon. I combined persimmons with apples because they taste great together and they’re both in season this time of year, but feel free to try other types of fruit, adjusting the agave nectar as necessary. Persimmons are very sweet, so you may need a little more sweetener if you substitute, say, bananas or mango. (But then it would be a Tropical Fruit Cake!)

Fall Harvest Fruit Cake


Fall Harvest Fruit Cake (Persimmon-Apple Cake)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
If you’ve ever tried a native persimmon, you know that it’s full of seeds. From 8 persimmons I got 3/4 of a cup of pulp once I’d removed all of the seeds. With store-bought persimmons, you may need only two or three to get enough pulp.
Serves: 6
  • 3/4 cup ripe persimmon pulp
  • 1 large apple
  • 1/8 cup agave nectar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup soy yogurt or apple sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 8- or 9-inch baking dish or cake pan. (I used a round silicone cake pan.)
  2. Remove the skin from the persimmons along with any seeds. Mash pulp and measure. Peel the apple and chop into 1/2-inch cubes.
  3. Place the apple into a saucepan along with the 1/8 cup agave nectar, water, cinnamon, and ginger.
  4. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until the apple softens, about 10 minutes. Add the persimmon and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, mix together the water, orange juice, 1/2 cup agave nectar, cider vinegar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ones along with the soy yogurt or apple sauce. Stir until well-moistened. Fold in apple mixture.
  6. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/6th of cake Calories: 260 Fat: 1g Carbohydrates: 63g Sodium: 444mg Fiber: 5g Protein: 5g

Looking for more information about persimmons? Check out my previous persimmon recipes:

Persimmon Bread
Frozen Persimmon Sorbet

Also take a look at Falling for Persimmons by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.

This almost fat-free vegan cake is a fruit cake in the sense that it's almost as much fruit as cake, making it dense and moist and sweet.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jim October 26, 2009 at 10:54 am

Making this cake last night was the first time baking anything vegan and it was awesome! I used a medium apple and a small asian pear in the fruit mixture since I had one sitting around. Also worked well in a bread pan since we had no round cake pans. Thank you for a great recipe.


2 Fiber November 7, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I just grabbed some persimmons today on a whim from the Asian grocery store, having never used them before.
I found this recipe and am ABSOLUTELY going to be making it.
Thanks for the detailed instructions.


3 Shannon November 12, 2009 at 6:06 pm

this was delicious! so moist and yummy. I cut back the recipe based on the pulp I had and made it into muffins… which i need to go polish off 😉


4 Anonymous November 17, 2009 at 11:22 am

Can this be made with regular whole wheat flour instead of white? It looks fabulous and I just bought a new bag of ww flour and would like to avoid buying another type.

Love your site.

Happy Thanksgiving


5 SusanV November 17, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Sure, the white whole wheat is just a little lighter tasting, but the recipe should work with either kind. Hope you enjoy it!


6 Shannon November 17, 2009 at 10:50 pm

this was fabulous!!! i cut the recipe down to the amount of pulp i had and made muffins, but they were incredible 🙂


7 Kip November 18, 2009 at 7:10 pm

An American living in the UK, I just can't get into fruitcake. Something about sultanas reminds me far too much of tics! This cake, however, totally looks like the sort of fruit cake I could be down with.


8 Shyla November 19, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Can you tell what we could do to make this an all apple cake? No persimmon.


9 Anonymous December 6, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Susan –
Thanks for this great persimmon recipe. I remember my great aunt made persimmon pudding and it was great but i'm pretty sure it had milk in it. any vegan persimmon pudding recipes in your bag? Thanks so much for all the great recipes! Hannah


10 bgal December 18, 2009 at 8:39 pm

What happened to my cake, it was really mushy even after baking extra time. I have used a little more persimmon, plus I grated the fuju persimmon. Other measurements were right on. How can I correct it. I have more persimmons and really want to enjoy this treat.


11 moonwatcher November 22, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Hi Susan,

I just made this gluten free and into muffins (which were best for putting some in the freezer). I really like the way they came out. Very tasty! I used a combination of apple and my own pears, and I added a pinch of nutmeg.a pinch of allspice, a pinch of cardamom and a bit of orange zest (maybe half a teaspoon). They are so pretty, too, sprinkled with the powedered sugar. I make my own gluten free flour mix. The one I like the best is I cup brown rice flour, I cup sorghum flour, 1/3 cup quinoa flour, 2/3 cup potato starch and maybe 1/2 tsp xanthum gum–though I often forget the xanthum gum and can’t tell the difference. This gives you 3 cups of flour mix. The proportions are from Karina’s Gluten Free Goddess blog, but the combination of flours is mine.

Thanks for another wonderful holiday recipe. I had a hard time not eating the persimmon before making it into pulp. What a beautiful color!




12 claire November 28, 2010 at 11:06 am

Trying this with mango and wholewheat flour! In the oven now!


13 Alyssa November 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Delicious, even without the yogurt (adjusted with applesauce). I have made this with mashed kiwi for the persimmon pulp and also an all-apple version (used applesauce instead of persimmon, threw in an extra apple in the first step and would have used apple juice, but had none). Both are fantastic. Thanks for a flexible, delicious recipe!


14 Anita Gosselin December 7, 2011 at 11:54 am

If we do not have Persimmon fruit what could we replace it with? The recipe looks so good.
I enjoy many of your recipes. Always looking forward to new one.

Thank You



15 Susan Voisin December 7, 2011 at 12:03 pm

You could try plums, peaches, or any very pulpy fruit. Good luck!


16 Caitlin Parys October 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Hi Susan,
I am the healthy eating specialist at Whole Foods Market in New Orleans. I absolutely love your blog and recipes! I always share your website with my guests and was wondering if I could cook some of your recipes during a class? I would love to print them directly from your website and hand them out, they are always so fantastic!

Caitlin Parys


17 Susan Voisin October 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm

That would be great, Caitlin! I’m glad you like the recipes and am happy for you to cook them for your class.


18 Caitlin Parys October 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Thanks Susan!


19 Carole December 19, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Your recipes look so tasty


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