Persimmon & Rooibos Teacake

Rooibos or Red Bush Tea pairs perfectly with the intense sweetness of persimmons. Rooibos is my tea of choice during autumn so it seemed natural to use it for this late autumn persimmon cake. Pears or cooking apples could also be used if persimmon is unavailable. 


  • 1/2 cup dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 150 ml hot strong-brewed rooibos tea or earl grey*
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 50 g soft butter or coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond meal (flour)
  • 1 cup white flour (gluten-free use 3/4 cup rice flour + 1/4 cup tapioca flour)
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spiced
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 firm non-astringent persimmons, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar


  • Preheat oven 170°C. Line the base of a 22cm cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides.
  • Combine the dates and raisins in a jug, pour over the brewed rooibos tea. Set aside for 20-30 minutes to plump up the fruit. Place the tea infused dried fruit, eggs and soft butter in a food processor and blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • Combine the almond meal, flour, spice, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix through the chopped persimmon and pour over the egg mixture. Fold together until well combined then pour into the prepared tin. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sugar. Bake for 40 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the tin and cool on a rack. Serve warm with natural yogurt.


*To make a strong brew Rooibos Tea - combine either 1 tea bag OR 1 teaspoon loose leaf tea in a tea strainer, with 1 cup boiling water. Brew for 10 minutes, then strain.

I love persimmons. Most fruit I can happily miss out on as the children gobble up the fruit bowl. However, when it comes to a sweet and crunchy persimmon, tactics may need to be employed i.e. hiding them in my office. It is the one fruit I specifically go to the farmers’ market in search of at this time of year. I know exactly where I can get my annual fix, I make a beeline for my favourite organic growers Brent & Kevin. And I fill two bags, one with jumbo bunches of kale, parsley, fennel and celeriac. The other designated solely for persimmon.

So, with my intense love for persimmons it may sound totally ludicrous to then tell you we once had a persimmon tree in the garden that we cut down. It was in a bit of a strange location, like right in the centre of our lawn! But that wasn’t why we cut it down – if it’s your favourite fruit you make allowances. No, the thing is there are two types of persimmons and they are very different. There is the sweet crunchy variety (my favourite), and the astringent variety, which can only be eaten once they are almost jelly like. They are not my cup of tea at all, there is something about the texture that doesn’t do it for me. Sadly the tree in the middle of our lawn was the astringent variety, so it had to go to make room for the trampoline.

When you are buying persimmons it is best to buy them direct from the grower so you can ask them what type they are – or a knowledgeable green grocer you can trust. To bite into an astringent persimmon thinking it is the crunchy variety is not an enjoyable experience – imagine hundreds of tiny feathers glued to the roof of your mouth and tongue. And for this teacake recipe it is imperative to use the crunchy version. As it cooks the fruit softens just perfectly to compliment the cake texture. If you can’t get your hands on persimmons or perhaps it is the wrong season where you are, this cake can be made with beurre bosc pears, granny smith apples, apricots, plums… any firm fleshed fruit.

Persimmon & Red Bush Teacake | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

Persimmon & Red Bush Teacake | HOMEGROWN KITCHEN

persimmon cake-210



Join the Conversation

  1. Sounds like some interesting flavours Nicola – I will definitely give this a go as I love persimmons and it’s great to see back. I must admit, I am rather partial to the older variety too though. I ate them regularly when I was living in Italy for a little while. They were often served cut open as a dessert treat – a bit like a jelly. My lovely old Uncle had a beautiful tree of that variety in Mangaweka and he used to take photos of it throughout the season as it was so beautiful (maybe because of the very cold climate up there)…..the birds used to have a field day with it.

    1. When we had our tree I had several friends who would come and harvest the fruit as they loved the texture. And the tree was gorgeous it had the most amazing coloured burnt orange leaves, so it was kind of sad to see it go… Enjoy the cake 🙂

  2. Making this now while stuffing my face with persimmons! Just wondering where those lovely ceramic tea cups are from? Are they a local potter? And those autumn leaves are making me nostalgic for westcoast Canadaian autumns. We don’t really get the colourful change of seasons here in Wellington. xx

    1. The ceramic cups are from Paul Melser, he is based in Wairarapa so nice and close to you. I love his wood fired pottery.
      We are pretty lucky in Nelson to have some lovely autumn colours, I love going leave collecting with the kids.
      Enjoy the cake! x

  3. My favourite fruit too Nicola. Just live on them at this time of the year. can’t get enough of them. This cake sounds divine.

    1. It is a pity the season is so damn short!

  4. Persimmons are my daughter’s favorite fruit as well! Unfortunatelly, they are not completely hardy and therefore difficult to grow here. We have one small North American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) in the garden (the fruits are much smaller and very astringent before completely soft) but so far we have harvested just a handful of persimmons. This year the tree was hit by a late spring frost and I’m not yet sure it will recover. I certainly envy you living in a climate where you can grow persimmons and feijoas 🙂
    Tha cake looks like a great flavor-combo!

  5. Hi there, if I don’t have rooibos tea, would is a suitable substitute what would work for this cake please?

    1. It would also be lovely with Earl Grey or Lady Gray tea. Maybe even green tea depending on the fruit used. Enjoy!

  6. michaelwray says:

    When you say “place the tea-infused fruit” into the blender, should that include the tea as well or just the fruit?

    1. michaelwray says:

      I went with leaving the tea in there and the consistency seemed right. Now cooling on a rack.

    2. Hi, yes I mean fruit plus the tea. It is quite a wet mix but cooks up beautifully 🙂 Happy cooking 🙂

  7. Hi Nicola, would Granny Smith apples work? Thank you ☺️

    1. Hi Emily, yes granny smith and other cooking apples or even pears are fine in this recipe. You can also use other teas such as Earl Grey. Enjoy 🙂

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