Persimmon Upside Down Cake

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Isn’t Autumn when things are supposed to calm and slow down? Lies. This month is going by way too fast. It’s going to be Thanksgiving next week and we have ZERO plans. This what will most likely happen: Reuben and I will make a Thanksgiving feast for two, catch up on sleep, and work on some long overdue apartment improvement projects. It makes me sort of sad when I think about how I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in like 4 years... : ( ... but that just makes being home for Christmas that much sweeter! This will be our first year in SF for Thanksgiving in a while, so it will be nice to stay put. Last year we were on the road to Portland and had leftovers at the Airbnb. The year before that, we were driving through Spain and stopped at a gas station between Madrid and Granada for some ham sandwiches, LOL, but this was our view, and Spanish gas station food is actually pretty awesome.

What are your plans? Are you going to make a pie? Or are you more of a cake person, like me?

I had ambitions of trying my hand at my first full blown pie this weekend. I was going to do braids, intricate weaving, and maybe even cut out letters! But plans changed and I made pork buns instead. No regrets. Because they were incredible and I am going to post the recipe soon! I’ll save my Asian pear and caramel pie experiments for next year.

I do have this Persimmon Upside Down Cake for ya though! It’s so delicious. You don’t need pie.

Some people ask me what I do with all the baked goods I make for the blog. When I say “some people” I really mean 3 people have ever asked me that question. My baking experiments are typically brought in to my office or to Reuben’s office to be gobbled up. Or, I plan ahead and bake something to bring to a dinner party or picnic. I try not to leave us alone with too much butter and sugar. However, every once in a while there are the baking experiments that I do not share. Not because they were complete failures, but  maybe because they were too freaking delicious to share.

I didn’t share this cake. I had it hidden in our apartment and we continued to cut really tiny wedges of cake for days. Sorry, coworkers, for not sharing. I made this while I had a cold so you didn’t want my germs anyways. When I took my first bite, I was like “GODDAMN”. The persimmons, Autumn spices, and the cake soaked in caramel all together created the most harmonious and addicting cake you’ll have all holiday season. Seriously though. The area around the rim of the cake where all the caramel has soaked in is the most incredible bite of cake you’ll ever have. I had to stop Reuben from only cutting wedges of the edge bits. He only got away with it once...

There is no doubt that I am mildly obsessed with persimmons. It's my favorite fruit for sure. I had only ever just eaten them straight up until now. My mom is a wiz at the paring knife and would effortlessly peel and slice them up for us growing up. It’s hard to really explain the flavor. There are hints of vanilla and cinnamon. But it just tastes like… a persimmon. Can anyone else wordier help me out here? Persimmons are phenomenal sliced on up toast or plopped on some yogurt when super ripe. It makes my heart burst with so much joy when I see friends incorporate persimmons into their diets. You gotta give them a try! I hope to see some on your Thanksgiving tables : )


Persimmon Upside Down Cake

makes 1 - 9" cake

For the caramel:

1 cup dark brown sugar

8 tbsp unsalted butter - cubed

1 tsp salt

 

For the cake:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup buttermilk

8 tbsp melted butter

2-3 fuyu persimmons

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9" round cake pan with a piece of parchment paper and grease the sides of the pan. Set aside. Cook brown sugar, butter and salt in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Whisk until butter is melted and all the sugar is dissolved. Gently boil for 3-4 minutes until deeply brown. Pour the caramel into the cake pan and swirl so that the pan is completely and evenly covered. The caramel will harden quickly.

2. Slice the persimmons into 1/8" thick slices. Place a slice in the very center of the caramel and continue adding slices in a circular direction until the bottom is covered.

3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and butter in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients into the dry and mix until evenly incorporated and you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Use an small offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread and level the batter.

4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Invert the pan onto a wire rack set on top of a baking tray and allow to completely cool. Watch out for some caramel dripping when you invert!

5. Serve up and enjoy!

recipe was adapted from this and this!

Black Sesame Plum Crumb Cake

Oh snap!!! Birthday week is quickly approaching! Reuben is turning the big 30 this Saturday! And I am going to be 26 on Tuesday. I'm currently planning on only eating macaroni and cheese on my birthday. Breakfast Mac, Lunch Mac, Dinner Mac, Dessert Mac (Noodle Kugel?). Reuben's mom makes an amazing noodle kugel btw. We will see if I become a ball of cheese on Tuesday. Mac n' Cheese all day seems like an appropriate thing to do for your 26th birthday, right? I'll also be making a cake this weekend, obviously. For Reuben's birthday, I've been envisioning a classic white cake with black sesame buttercream. I want it to look like a little concrete column. Real architecty. Wish me luck. 

I get a little jealous that Reuben steals most of the birthday thunder, but I actually really love that our birthdays are so close together. Two birthdays is a great reason to go on a mini vacation or spend too much money on fancy restaurants 😊  This year, our celebrations are going to be a little bit more chill. I think we are both exhausted from general life to do anything too crazy. Like, we almost forgot that our birthdays were next week. This weekend we will ride our bikes to the zoo, visit a few breweries and wineries, eat lots of food, bake a cake, and buy lots of macaroni noodles. 

We were organized enough to plan a birthday picnic the following weekend! By planning, I mean 2 months ago I remembered to book the picnic area and this past weekend I remembered to tell everyone it was happening. We had one last year and it was so fun my cheeks hurt from smiling all day. We invite everyone we know in the bay area, lay out some blankets, make a butt load of food, and pray for the fog to stay away from Inner RIchmond. My best friend Katie P flew out last year for the picnic from Seattle AND she is coming out again! I can't wait!

Posting a cake recipe seems like the right thing to do, with birthday week in horizon. Here is the final plum recipe of the season to hold you guys over until I post Reuben's Birthday Cake (if it's cute - fingers crossed!). This Black Sesame Plum Crumb cake may be one of the best things I've ever baked. It magically tasted like a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread... very specific. This means you can eat this cake for lunch obviously! The cake was moist with a tight crumb. The nuttiness from the black sesame was well balanced with the sweetness and tartness of the plum jam. If you don't have access to an overflowing plum tree or don't have time to make your own jam, using your favorite store bough jam will work too! It's been a few weeks since I made this and I find myself craving a square of it. But the idea of cracking open my bag of frozen plums makes me a little anxious. I'll hold off on the plums for a few more months... until I'm 26.5! For those of you who haven't ate 1 million plums, I highly recommend you make this magical cake! 


Black Sesame Plum Crumb Cake

makes one 8" square cake

Plum Jam Materials:

3 C plums - pits removed and chopped

1 C white sugar

1 orange 

pinch of salt

 

Crumble Materials:

1 C all purpose flour

1/3 C brown sugar

1/4 tsp salt

6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter

 

Cake Materials:

12 Tbsp unsalted butter - room temperature

2 C all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 C white sugar

3 Tbsp sesame seeds

2 eggs

2 Tbsp tahini

2/3 C milk

1 cup Plum Jam

Steps:

1. Combine plums, sugar, zest and juice of one orange, and pinch of salt in a pot. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Continue to boil for 10-15 minutes, it should start to thicken. While it boils, use a wooden spoon to mash and break up the plums as they soften. Transfer the jam into a glass container or jar and allow to cool in the fridge.

2. Make your crumble by mixing together flour, brown sugar, salt, and melted butter with a fork. Mix until you have a pebble like texture. Set aside.

3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grind the black sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until you get a fine texture. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and ground black sesame seeds in a medium bowl. 

4. In the large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, beat butter with sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg at a time and then tahini.  

5. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 additions of milk. Beat until combined and scrape down the sides when needed.

6. Spray a 8"x8" baking pan with non-stick spray. Line with parchment paper. Pour batter into baking pan. Smooth batter with an offset spatula until it looks leveled. Spread the plum jam evenly over the top. Top the whole pan with the crumble.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center, it should come out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 mins, then remove from the plan and allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

adapted from this martha recipe!

Stone Fruit Rose Tart

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Alright, alright, alright. Before I really get started with this post, I'll say it. The Cavs lost. It's very hard to be a Clevelander in San Francisco these days. I did not cry this year though! In 2015, the Warriors won. I cried and had to immediately leave the watch party I was at because it was very hard for me to process my emotions. Everyone was so happy and popping champagne and I was a sad dumpling (a soup dumpling as Reuben likes to refer to me in my sad state). Then in 2016, The Cavaliers broke the curse!!! I cried because I was so happy and full of feelings for my home state. I was yet again the only Cavs fan in the house, but it didn't matter. I was filled with so much joy! This year... I was disappointed, but mostly just "meh". I'm just ready for everyone to stop gloating. 

Despite the unfortunate events of Monday evening, this week has been pretty bright and sunny! For me at least, poor Reuben is working a deadline and I feel like I've barely seen him 😔 .  On Tuesday I got to go to the grand opening party for the project I spent like 3 years working on at my last job. It is 2 mix-used residential buildings in San Mateo. People live in it now! And it's so so so crazy to see real people walking around the building and introducing themselves to their neighbors. It's like real live Sims!!! I was soaking up the experience and also stuffing my face with cheeseburger sliders, tuna poke, ceviche, and Tin Pot Creamery ice cream. I also stuffed my purse with some Blue Bottle iced coffee cartons. The inner old Chinese woman in me can't pass up free things. I also got to see some of my old coworkers, engineers, and contractors! Solid night.

It's hard to not be in a good mood when the weather is as beautiful as it's been. I'm a Leo, and I'm probably making this up, but I feel like I am powered by the sun. My mood and energy levels are so up! Give me all the vitamin D and 70+ temperatures! This weekend Reuben and I are heading out for a long hike and some sweet time out in nature. My Babes Brunch group is also meeting up this Sunday for a picnic edition in Golden Gate Park! I'm making the soba noodles from my last post and I can't wait to laugh until my cheeks hurt with some babes. On a supportive girlfriend note: I'm hearing such great life updates from my girlfriends all around the world that it makes my heart burst! So it's been hard not to feel sunny this week.

Should we talk about this sunny little fruit tart now? For the last couple weeks I've been seeing all the food bloggers that I envy making incredible buttercream flowers, flower cakes, flower cookies, so many flower sweets. To be honest, it intimidates me. I have very distant goals of being able to pipe buttercream roses and write "Happy Birthday Mom!" in frosting. Last weekend I had made it my goal to make a floral something. I can paint flowers with my eyes closed, so that should count for something right? I went to the Clement Street Farmers Market, as I do every week, and picked some sweet plums and peaches for a tart. I brought them home and took a deep breath. Am I being dramatic? Turns out, this floral tart is really not that hard. If you have a sharp knife and a peaceful mind, making these fruit roses was actually quite relaxing. This fruit tart is such a pretty and delicious dessert. It's sweet and brightly acidic. I won't tell anyone if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream too.

It sort of looks like a pepperoni pizza though in the post oven pictures, doesn't it? I noticed while I was editing the photos and now I can't un-see it lol. Eh, I ain't mad about that. 


Stone Fruit Rose Tart

1 - 11" tart

Materials:

1 1/2 C + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 C + 1 tsp sugar

1/4 C vegetable oil

1/4 C olive oil

2 tsp milk

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter

5-6 small ripe stone fruits (peaches, plums, pluots, etc)

Steps:

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oils, milk and almond extract. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix gently with a fork, just until it starts to come together. Then, transfer the dough to an 11-inch tart pan. Use your hands to pat out the dough so it covers the bottom of the pan, pushing it up the sides to meet the edge.

2. In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the butter. Using your fingers, pinch the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly, with a mixture of fine granules and tiny pebbles. Set aside.

3. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

4. Cut and pit your stone fruit of choice. Make sure to maintain either quarter or half segments of your fruit. Cut into thin slices, about 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. You don't want them paper thin because they need structure to maintain the rose shape. Keep your slices in segments, this will make forming the roses easier. You can get about 2 small roses out of a 1/4 segment. Take a few adjacent slices and gently pinch them into a long segment, make sure the slices are still touching. Then slowly curl on end of the slices and form a rose. Place in your tart dough and gently push down to keep it in place. Repeat until the tart is full. Alternatively, you could also lay out the slices into whatever pattern your heart desires!

5. Once the tart is full of fruit, sprinkle your sugar mixture over the fruit. Take in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the crust is slightly brown and the fruit is juicy. Allow to cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!