Hot Water Gingerbread Cake with Persimmon

As I’ve mentioned several times, I am a Southern girl at heart. So, when I come across a recipe that is from real Southern great-grandmother (Nanny), I immediately wanted to make and eat it and somehow ingest all the Southern goodness.

My friend and fellow PhD-in-a-weird-theoretical-arts-field, Jenifer is a real Southern Girl from Arkansas. I am a bit jealous. She is an academic and a poet. And she is an amazing baker and cook. She often posts family recipes on her site, Experience(d) Collector. When she posted her made-over recipe for her Nanny’s gingerbread, I knew I had to adapt it to gluten-free and share with you as my December 1st seasonal treat. Thanks, Jenifer!

This cake is rich, moist, and full-flavored. The persimmons add a light fruit taste and texture. If you can’t find persimmons, don’t worry–you may omit them. But, if you can find them, use them. Not only are they pretty–like bright orange tomatoes–they have a very subtle flavor. I think they taste kind of like a low-key cross between a mango and an apricot, without the perfume-y notes. And their color is perfect for this time of year–a bit of bright light to pierce the increasingly longer dark nights (and in Seattle, dark days):

This cake is quite simple and easy to make. It’s a nice cake for afternoon tea and chatting with pals (which is how Girlfriend eats it), or for a taste-of-the-season breakfast (which is how dAhub eats it). I eat it in the same way Jenifer does, with a cup of tea while I’m writing.

Hot Water Gingerbread with Persimmon, Gluten-Free
-adapted from the Experience(d) Collector, with thanks to Nanny

2 cups (280g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1/2 cup (115g) cornmeal (be sure it’s gluten-free)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick; 4 oz; 115g) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 cup (235ml) molasses
2 extra large eggs
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 cup (235 ml) boiling water
2 fresh persimmons, ripe but firm, peeled and diced
extra butter and tapioca flour for pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8×8 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, spices, baking soda, and baking powder; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Add granulated sugar, beat until fluffy.  Add molasses, continue to beat.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add flour mixture, beat until just combined.

Pour boiling water over mixture, carefully beat until just combined.  Add persimmons, mix until just incorporated.  Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 50 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Let sit in pan for about 5 minutes before removing cake to a wire rack to cool–although this cake is very nice warm with a bit of whipped cream on the side.


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  1. Carin says


    Can your flour mix be substituted with Bob’s Red Mill gf flour mix (adding xanthum gum when necessary) in your recipes?

    • says

      Carin: Yes! Just add about 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour. Be aware that Bob’s GF Mix has bean flour, so the resulting baked item might taste a bit like bean. :) Happy baking!

  2. says

    Just made this last night. So yummy! It came out REALLY moist, like I wasn’t sure if I had baked it enough, but I think part of the problem was that I didn’t cut the persimmon small enough so it made big pockets of wet instead of distributing more evenly. Super tasty though. Can’t wait to try another recipe tonight. Just got your book and am looking forward to working my way through it!

  3. says

    Hi Jeanne! I made this on Tuesday and it is still moist and delicious. The only reason it isn’t totally gone is that my household is tiny–just two people and cat, and the cat doesn’t eat gingerbread. My gluten free cake efforts have been stellar in no small part to the techniques I’ve learned from your site. I’m just going to say it: gluten free cakes are better than gluten-full cakes. My mind is blown!

    • admin says


      Oh, I’m so glad–thanks for letting me know! And I agree–the gf cakes I’ve made have gotten rave reviews. I have had people tell me that they want to start baking gf because that must be the secret to good cake–yay!!



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