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Many years ago, long before the appearance of The Online Recipe Box, there was The Recipe Drawer.  Usually located in the kitchen, The Recipe Drawer held a well-thumbed favorite collection or two, as well as newspaper clippings in various mellow yellow hues, raggedy edged pages torn from magazines and perhaps a few receipts written on note cards or writing paper.

The Recipe Drawer contained layers of kitchen memory.  On top were the frequently consulted favorites, towards the back and down below, the faded whims, the saved and forgotten, the discarded idea.  There were marks of the cook’s presence –a smudge of dried chocolate on the page, a fine dusting of flour over a leatherette cover, a sprinkle of sugar and a scattering of stale crumbs from the hand that paused midway in cooking to check a measure or degree.

Lemon-Glazed Persimmon Cakes are unassuming and simply good, made from the sort of recipe one might expect to come upon, searching through the old Recipe Drawer.

Lemon-Glazed Persimmon Cakes (for 2 dozen little cakes)

Note: To print this recipe, or any other diplomatickitchen recipe, go to the bottom of the page, at the end of the post, and click on the icon: Print & PDF

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 cup of Persimmon Pulp (from 1 or 2 very ripe Persimmons)
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 cup of Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 cup of melted Butter
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of unbleached White Flour
  • 1 teaspoon of ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 cup of dried Currants
  • 1 cup of chopped Pecans:  or substitute with chopped Walnuts
  • Butter and Flour for the baking pan

Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze:

  • the Juice of a Lemon:  about 3 Tablespoons
  • 1 cup of Powdered Sugar, measured by sifting the sugar into the measuring cup


  • a Food Processor or Blender to make the persimmon pulp.
  • a Baking Pan:  The cakes in the photos were made in a pan 2-inches deep, measuring 12-inches by 8-inches.  But other sized pans will also be fine-the original recipe used a 10-inch by 14-inch pan and recommended a baking time of 20-25 minutes.  The baking time was 25 minutes in the 12 by 8 pan.
  • 2 large Mixing Bowls
  • a small Mixing Bowl for making the Lemon Glaze
  • a Whisk
  • a regular Dinner Fork, for glazing the cakes

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour the baking pan.

2.  Combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt in a bowl:

3.  Put the persimmons in the food processor and mix them until they turn into a smooth pulp.  (Any extra pulp may be frozen to use later–with the addition of a few more persimmons–to make, for example, a sorbet or…a parfait by swirling  persimmon purée through softened homemade vanilla ice cream.)  Pour 1 cup of pulp into a mixing bowl:

4.  Stir the egg into the persimmon pulp…

…then add the brown sugar and mix them all together well…

…and finally, stir in the melted butter and lemon juice:

5.  By hand–so as not to over-mix the batter–stir in the dry ingredients, one-third at a time, until everything is just combined:

6.  Add the currants and nuts:

7.  Spread the batter in the pan and bake for about 25 minutes.  Remove the
cake from the oven.  Cool it in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn it out
onto a rack and finish cooling it while you make the Lemon Glaze:  Put the
powdered sugar in the small mixing bowl and whisk in enough of the lemon
juice to make a thick, creamy icing:

8.  Glaze the cake by dipping the tines of the dinner fork in the icing and dribbling it off of the fork’s pointed tips onto the cake…back and forth…

…in an irregular crisscross pattern:

9.  Cut the big cake into little cakes.  This size cake cuts easily into 24 squares:

A Note:  Lemon-Glazed Persimmon Cakes are included in the Occasional Menu:  Into the Picnic Basket.

An Acknowledgement:  The recipe for these cakes is adapted from one in the essay “The Case for Handwriting” by cook and writer Deborah Madison.  The essay may be read here online at ZesterDaily.com, and was also published in Best Food Writing 2011, edited by Holly Hughes.

© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012