Easy Cook: Green Pistachio Swirl Cake for St. Patrick’s Day

If you want good home-style cooking, you will probably find it at covered dish buffet. Everybody brings their best cookin’. This is where I sampled a Pistachio Cake which was absolutely delicious. It was green — yes, a green cake. The pistachio pudding gives a hint of green color and  a nice nutty flavor to the cake along with a bit of almond extract. So I’m making the dessert with St. Patrick’s Day mind and plan to bring it for an supper event where everybody is asked to bring desserts.

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Easy Cook: Fresh Peach Cockaigne

Yes, fresh peaches are here. I look forward to finding peaches in grocery stores in the summertime; this is one of my favorite fruits. The aroma and flavor of a fresh peach just can’t be beat. My recipe for “Fresh Peach Cockaigne” or “A Small Up-Side-Down Peach Cake” is a great way to highlight the aroma of ripe peaches. The recipe is a “one bowl” dessert — it takes just a few minutes to mix it up. My recipe is not too sweet, which makes a refreshing change from many cobbler recipes. And I prefer the flavor and texture of fresh peaches compared to canned ones in the recipe.

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Dreamer’s 7-Up Pound Cake

Dreamer’s 7-Up Pound Cake is a very traditional Southern cake recipe. It is tender, moist and very sweet. More than a cake, it’s a Deep South cultural tradition. The cake is often served for Sunday dinner or other celebrations such as the Fourth of July when family and friends come to visit at a large afternoon meal.Dreamer's 7-Up Pound Cake - IMG_9836

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Variations on a Pound Cake

I love to bake desserts especially cakes and cookies. During the winter holiday season they make great homemade gifts and elegant additions to a festive meal. I received a Poppy Seed Pound Cake one year as a gift which was delicious. So I thought it would be fun to make some old-fashioned pound cakes and started experimenting with recipes. Here’s what happened.Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake - 1 - IMG_0914_1

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And It’s a Winner: Persimmon Upside-Down Cake

And back to persimmon cakes… A couple of weeks ago Baton Rouge Green, a non-profit organization which promotes green use of land through urban forests in our community (www.batonrougegreen.com), had their annual tree sale and also a recipe contest. The recipes had to be made with products from trees grown in Louisiana.

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Of course, I couldn’t pass up the chance to enter Persimmon Upside-Down Cake. I thought it was a novel entry and as well as delicious tasting. And the recipe won third place! Here is the recipe, and a printable version is on mayleeskitchen.com.

 

 

for the recipe

Autumn Persimmon Cake

Yes, those persimmons just keep coming. Here’s an easy way to use them. This cake is moist, tasty and attractive. The persimmons give a little zing.

I used a Duncan Hines Spice cake mix, added persimmons and pecans, and topped the cake with a simple glaze.

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1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix (18.5 oz)
2 eggs
3/4 cup ripe mashed persimmon pulp from peeled persimmons (about 2 persimmons)
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 8 inch Bunt cake pan (same thing as 8 cup Bundt cake pan).

In bowl of mixer, add cake mix, eggs, persimmon, oil and water. Mix on low to blend, then medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in chopped pecans. Pour into cake pan.

Bake 35 – 40 minutes. Cake should pull away from sides of pan and spring back on the top. A toothpick inserted into the cake should come out clean. (Check cake after 35 minutes).

Cool the cake 10 minutes in the pan and then invert on to cake platter. Cool completely and top with glaze.

Glaze:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp milk (or more)

Whisk confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and milk together until blended, smooth and silky. Add additional milk, a small spoon at a time, if glaze is too thick to drizzle. Drizzle over cake. (You might have some glaze left for another use.) Be careful not to add too much milk. When a cook’s spoon is lifted up, the glaze should stay on the spoon and come off in a slow stream. The glaze hardens quickly – do don’t delay in spreading it on the cake.

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About Persimmons

We’d often walk home from school as  youngsters down a rural two-lane road in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. A persimmon tree grew along the fence.

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The fruit would ripen in the fall. I guess we were curious, as all young folk are, and the ripening fruit seemed tempting. I remember one particular day we decided to pick and eat several of the fruit.  I still can remember the pungent, astringent taste as we ran the rest of the way home to get the taste out of our mouths.  That was the last time I ate persimmons for many years.

So I was fascinated to discover that persimmons grew in Louisiana. My Cajun/Italian next door neighbor, Essie, would drive to the country on the weekends to her camp in French Settlement and return with an assortment of fresh produce. She’d love to call me up and say “come to the fence between our houses, I have something to give you.” Of course, I could never say “no.” So occasionally in the fall I’d receive a basket of persimmons.bowl of okra - Cannon - 10-13-13 - IMG_0037_1

And what could I do with the persimmons?I discovered that the persimmons cultivated in Louisiana are Oriental Persimmons. They are larger and much milder that native persimmons . As they ripen, the fruit becomes even more sweet and soft. They are tasty when eaten raw,such as added to fruit salads; or cooked in desserts and puddings.

two ripe presimmons - Cannon 10-13-13- IMG_0193_1

I even planted a persimmon tree. It has flourished over the years in my backyard and often results in a bountiful crop; enough for both the birds and our family.  It has given many opportunities to figure out ways to cook and use the fruit. 

Persimmon Upside Down Cake is one such recipe. For this cake, I adapted a old recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The cake is easy to make, kind of a “dump it cake mix.” After baking and inverted, the persimmons and glaze on the bottom serve as the topping..

NOTES ON PERSIMMONS

  • Persimmons are available in grocery stores in the fall, so keep a look out for them; you don’t have to have a neighbor who goes to the country to pick them. Supermarket persimmons are probably still firm. Let the persimmons ripen at room temperature on your kitchen counter until soft and deep orange. I place a banana or apple in the container along with the persimmons. The ethylene released by these fruits helps the ripening process.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

  • Persimmons are a good source of the precursors for Vitamin A  They also contain Vitamin C, magnesium. In this cake recipe, they take the place of an egg and some of the oil, reducing the fat content in the cake.