This year my favorite Christmas present was getting to come back from Korea to spend Christmas in Santa Barbara with family--my parents, my sister and her kids visiting from the East Coast, and my brother. It was a special time, with me and my siblings all together for the holidays for the first time in years.
We enjoyed breathing in the incomparable sea air, smelling the refreshing smell of the chaparral, walking by the beach, resting by a crackling fire, cuddling with the little ones, and taking in the beauty of the family garden and of the Santa Barbara good life. Here in our garden alone we've got pomegranates, oranges, and tangerines in full season, with persimmons on the out and next year's avocados just coming in.
With my nephew and new little niece along, my sister asked if we could incorporate one of her new family traditions for her kids--having a birthday cake on Christmas day in celebration of the Christ Child's birthday. Since I'm the designated baker in the family, and since I'm usually responsible for preparing Christmas brunch, I thought I'd make her a more wholesome cake that would fit in at the breakfast table rather than as a dessert for later in the day. And didn't it turn out to be a delicious and festive birthday cake! Hearty from the whole wheat flour, low in fat and yet moist from the persimmon purée (thanks to my mom for prepping our persimmons!), and topped with a tangy, fluffy topping of non-fat Greek yogurt and whipped vanilla cream, this a cake you can feel good about indulging in, whether it be breakfast or any time of day.
Wishing you a very happy holiday season and all the best for a healthy and prosperous new year!
Persimmon Breakfast Cake with Fluffy Cream and Yogurt Whipped Topping
Adapted from David Lebovitz
For the cake
2 cups (280 g) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cups (210 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (4 ounces/110 g) melted butter
1 2/3 cups (415 ml) persimmon purée
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60 ml) brandy
For the whipped topping
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup (25 g) pecans, toasted and crumbled
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 10-cup (2.5-liter) Bundt cake (or other shaped baking pan) with butter.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and granulated sugar. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, persimmon purée, eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and brandy.
Make a well in the center of the flour, then add the persimmon mixture and gently stir just until everything is moistened.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool 10-15 minutes until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and let cool completely, then transfer to a serving plate. (Can be made ahead; wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature 2 days or refrigerated if stored longer.)
To make the whipped topping, place the heavy cream in a chilled bowl and beat on high. Just as soft peaks begin to form, add the vanilla and sugar and continue beating to mix in thoroughly. Place the Greek yogurt in another bowl, then gently fold the whipped cream into the yogurt in 3 separate additions.