The Engagement: Persimmon Spice Cake

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

-Persimmons announce the arrival of fall, amongst other things.-

I'm told by many of female friends that most women have been planning their wedding since they were little girls marrying off their Barbie dolls. Many of them admit they are, in fact, some of these women. They know the china pattern, the first song, how they'll dance with their father, and what the dress will look like down to a sequin-sewn T. Some women already have their favorite florist on speed dial just in case. I know bakers who attest that some brides in question have called them about cake flavors before even informing the parents about the big news.

The fairer sex may just be a tad crazy, it seems.

Men (well, maybe most men, I can't speak on behalf of my sex or sexual preference) never think about this. I certainly never have past the fact of, "Dear Lord, if I ever want to do one of these giant circus weddings with 300 people please let the flower-and-glitter-laden gazebo I take my vows under collapse on top of me." Because, honestly, I'm not a wedding fan; and though I have been to some rather lovely ones and enjoyed myself I have had no desire to really take part in the whole affair.

Now, apparently, I have to do another wedding. Mine.

Because BF proposed.

And I said yes.

-Tungsten with an abalone shell band. Because I know 99.9% of you want to know. The other 0.01% are my straight male readers.-

So BF Fiancée, has done the deed, the family members on both sides have been called. Cheers all around because I'm the happiest boy in the world right now. I got the Masters, the travel, the book deal, and the boy. Life is good. Like hardcore, knock-on-wood, finding $20 in your pocket, thank you baby Jesus good.

Fiancée and I were having our first night to just sit down and unwind since I had returned to China. We had a lovely night at home watching movies and eating a dish I was testing for the cookbook. Eventually we retired for the night. Suddenly he grabbed me close and he told me he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

Then in the comfort and warmth of our home he got on one knee and asked me to marry him.

Never have I met someone who matches me so well, who can make me laugh, who can charm my parents, who can calm me down when I panic, who thinks about my needs, who sets me straight or humors me when I need it and knows which response to give, who takes out the trash without being asked, who can make a fine cocktail, who supports me in everything I do, who makes my rockets fly, and who enjoys cooking and eating an epic meal.


-He's also very good at home repair and making salsa. Both ideal traits in a spouse.-

It was probably the easiest questions ever asked of me.

So yes, now we have a wedding to plan. (Who am I kidding? I'm asking a friend in the planning biz to do all that craziness for me). How one even goes about this I have no idea. My lack of ovaries never prepared me for this and as much as you think two gays might have this sort of thing down pat, we apparently are going to have our pink cards rejected on the notion that table seating seems beyond insane to me.

All we know is we want it to be small, intimate, and informal. Oh, and we want tacos. Tacos kick ass.

Still, right now, I think we're just happy enjoying being engaged. It gives us time to reflect about us and our future. It gives us time to enjoy each other because somehow things magically change after marriage.

(Note that it's a marriage, not a gay marriage. It's not like I gay park my car. I just park it. California is having that Prop 8 legal battle right now; fuck you anyone who voted yes on passing that homophobic law. We would like to sign a piece of paper and have equal tax treatment, thank you. Till then, civil union it seems or be patient and see what the courts say.)

-But seriously, WTF?-

Another part of enjoying this engagement time is stopping every once and a while and just baking together. This simple persimmon spice cake is one such thing. I made it the day after the engagement. Persimmons so fresh and husky with fragrant, natural spice adorn the top. Classic spices such as ginger and cloves give it a warmth and aroma that fills the room. It's an upside-down cake as well, and is therefore soaked with caramel flavored by the fruit.

I've taken to calling it engagement cake. I'm becoming smitten with that word all of the sudden. You understand, right? (Just to be clear I mean the word "engagement," but I'm equally smitten with the word "cake" as one usually entails that the other will be occurring at some point in the future.)

Today, our first day engaged, was spent home putzing together on the couch. We watched the overcast clouds pass by, we talked about nothing in particular, and fielded calls from overjoyed and supportive family and friends. We also ate a lot of engagement cake, which, right now, I think is my new favorite cake of all.


Upside-Down Persimmon Spice Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 persimmons, peeled and sliced thinly
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices in a bowl and set aside.

2. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and sprinkle in 6 tablespoons of the sugar and cook, stirring until it comes to a boil. Pour into a 8x2-inch circular pan. Place the persimmon slices inside in a circular or sunburst pattern.

3. Using a stand mixer beat butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for 30 seconds each and being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom. Add the vanilla extract and mix in for 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low and add 1/2 the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated, Add the milk and mix in. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Pour batter over persimmons and level the top.

4. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cake is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove it from the oven and run a kinfe around the sides. Carefully turn the cake out onto a plate. If some of the persimmon slices stick to the pan scrape them out and place them on the cake. Serve.

106 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I am about to celebrate my 8th wedding anniversary so am feeling quite loved up atm and you reminded me of that wonderful day when my husband proposed. Bliss. Enjoy every minute x

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  2. Congratulations! The ring is beautiful.

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  3. Congratulations! (If California fails you, may I recommend Vermont?)

    ...too bad persimmons don't really happen in Ohio.

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  4. Congratulations! How wonderful – good thoughts your way for you and fiance, and don't let what others want out of your wedding stress you :).

    And love love love love LOVE the ring.....BF, no wait, fiance, has exquisite taste!

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  5. Yay yay yay yay yay yay! Congratulations!

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  6. What wonderful news!!!!
    Congrats to you both!! I wish y'all many years of bliss and happiness!
    Best of luck in all the ensuing madness and remember it's ok to just take some time to breathe.

    Take care,
    Richard T.

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  7. Congratulations! I adore the idea of engagement cake. :)

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  8. Congratulations!!!! I hope you have a wonderful life together.

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  9. Congratulations! I'm so excited for you two, and this cake looks amazing!

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  10. OMG! Congratulations, truly. The ring is gorgeous, and you must be so excited!

    (Also, that persimmon cake looks delish! Is there a certain persimmon that you use, like the fuyu kind or the jelly flesh kind?)

    Once again, though, congratulations! I just got back from a wedding in Japan, and it was lovely. I'm betting yours will be, too.

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  11. Just wanted to say congrats! Your food blog was one of the first I started reading and have always loved your food and stories. Wish you both the best!

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  12. Congratulations and all the best to both of you! I'm coming up on my 27th anniversary with my husband - a marriage is a roller coaster ride everyone should get to ride!

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  13. Delurking to say congratulations and wish you both every happiness! :)

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  14. So very deliriously happy for you both!

    (Also I have a serious need for that cake in my life. Right. Now.)

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  15. Even though I pretty much already knew this story, I got a little misty-eyed like the sap that I am. I am so entirely HAPPY for you both!

    I can't WAIT to plan with you!

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  16. Congratulations and best wishes! I'm thrilled for you. Enjoy every minute of your engagement time. And I love that you guys cook together.

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  17. Congratulations!!!!

    And I second Lizzie. Vermont is lovely in early September. Or well, anytime really. Not that I'm biased or anything. ;)

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  18. Congratulations! I am so happy for you I am bouncing in my chair.

    Can't wait to make that cake.

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  19. Congratulations Garret! You are so lucky to have found someone who is your best friend to spend the rest of your life with :)

    Love the ring and the cake!

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  20. Congratulations..he sounds perfect. Well, and of course he got a great person too. Best of luck on the wedding.

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  21. Congrats! I will admit that I was NEVER that girl. My barbies were living in sin in the apartment I'd created for them in the attic of their dollhouse.

    Never the less, I'm happy for you. It's quite the list of accomplishments. Was the engagement a surprise or did you know it was coming?

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  22. Garrett, omg! Congratulations! I wish you both a lifetime of happiness together. :)

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  23. Awwww, that's so awesome! Congratulations to you and your fiancee :) The man has wonderful taste, both in the ring and in you.

    If California doesn't get their heads out of their asses, I'd like to make note that Canada will happily recognize your union ;)

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  24. You two are so cute, congrats! I love that your engagement ring is the same model as my wedding ring. We eloped, I highly recommend it.

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  25. Congratulations! I have been a lurker on your blog since you guest posted on Simply Recipes. I love the way you interweave your personal life with the food you cook, it's awesome! Congrats again!

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  26. De-lurking to say how happy I am for you and your fiance! Love your blog and always enjoy your stories--can't wait to see how this latest chapter plays out for you!

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  27. Oh, Garrett!!

    A million congrats to you & yours! So happy for you!

    Sit back and soak it allll up. This is the good life. The feeling you have right now, the one that makes everything feel like it's in the right place, is gold.

    Sending much love! xo
    Christina

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  28. precious! you deserve a lifetime of happiness in your marriage.

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  29. Come on up to Canada and enjoy some great local veggies, better beer and the right to get married nice and thoroughly. Congratulations :D

    I'm making your tomato soup cupcakes this evening with my partner, I tricked him with them the first time I made them and they've been an autumn tradition ever since.

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  30. YAY!!!! Congratulations! Such exciting news. I think persimmons make a perfect engagement cake.

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  31. YAY! Awesome news. I hope you'll get the whole marriage and not just the half marriage, civil thing. In the meantime, I'll lift my cup of coffee to you and congratulate you on this exciting time in your life!

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  32. Congratulations Garrett and soon-to-be Garrett's husband!!! I am very happy for you :)

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  33. Congratulations! And remember its your wedding so you get to make it be however you want it to be (well, make you= the two of you and that is more accurate).

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  34. Congratulations!! Sigh, so romantic.I confess, while ogling this engagement cake, and wondering what the odds are of finding persimmons that aren't rock hard or rotten in my local grocery store, my child brain thought "Wonder what they will come up with for their wedding cake?" Not to put pressure on you or anything. The cake(s) are the best part!

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  35. Congratulations!!!! I'm so happy for you!

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  36. Yay! I'm so happy for you! I'm a girl who kinda hates weddings, but I LOVE the outcome of the events! The joining of two people in love. It doesn't get better than that!

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  37. Congratulations!! I love the ring and can't wait to hear about what you'll be eating at the wedding!

    @lizzie - You might be surprised to know that persimmons are actually native to the southern half of Ohio. Depending on where you live, you might be able to grow one in your yard!

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  38. Congratulations =D You must be very excited. May you have many years of married bliss ahead of you. I've been following your blog for a while and love your posts!! xx

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  39. Congratulations! That is such wonderful news. I so enjoy reading your blog and your recipes are divine.

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  40. Congrats! It's an absolutely gorgeous ring. I hope your marriage is as wonderful as mine (which is awecome, btw ;))

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  41. Congratulations to you both!! I can't wait to hear about the wedding and hopefully see some photos of the whole affair! (And obviously the treats! Are you taking the back seat and letting someone else do the baking?!)

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  42. Very Happy for you! Best of luck. Take your time in planning...and Massachusetts will gladly have you since CA can't get it together.

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  43. Dan highly approves of the taco idea. He's still kind of bitter that we couldn't have fried ravioli at our wedding...

    Congrats and so many hugs to you!

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  44. Congratulations, Garrett! How absolutely wonderful for you both!

    P.S. I've been looking for a good persimmon recipe; this is definitely the best one I've found! Thanks!

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  45. Best wishes! I'm a chick who is missing the "bride gene". When I got married I wanted to elope to vegas but hubbie insisted on a wedding with the family. In the long run I'm really glad we did it his way.
    I guess I've never seen a persimmon before because I thought they were heirloom tomatoes!

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  46. Fabulous news! Congratulations!
    Gorgeous ring. We need to know all about the food you're planning for your big event too. Tell us more about those tacos...

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  47. Oh god, congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!! How exciting.

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  48. I have been reading your blog for two years now, and I am so happy for you that I was beaming all day! You and the bf are perfect I'm just so damn happy that you found each other. Best wishes.

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  49. Congratulations! The ring is gorgeous, the cake looks delightful, and I hope you're enjoying every minute!

    Not everyone has the wedding-planning bug. After my husband and I set the date, I just called my mother and said "hey, can you plan my wedding?" and gave her a (very small [18 people]) guest list and my budget. She did everything else. Which is good, because if I'd tried to think about it I'd have gotten overwhelmed and run off to the local courthouse.

    Congratulations again!

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  50. Congratulations! I've been reading your blog for years and credit you as inspiration for starting my own finally. I am thrilled you've found happiness with such a complementary partner. It truly is a wonderful feeling. I wish you two all the happiness in the world.

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  51. Congratulations! I hope you'll share all the photos and pains of planning with us. I was married once, so I know how overwhelming it can be. But it can also be so much fun!

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  52. Congratulations! I've never commented before, but now feels like the right time :). So happy for the two of you! Reading your blog always makes my day.

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  53. I'm so happy for you (I seriously squealed out loud when I read the first bit of this post in my feedreader)... congratulations! ^_^

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  54. Congratulations! How wonderful...

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  55. Yahoo! Congratulations to you both :)

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  56. Congrats, Garrett! My advice for wedding planning AND wedding day - just have fun!

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  57. Congratulations Garrett and BF!! I have been reading your wonderful blog for quite a while and this is the perfect time to comment. I hope you have the most fun wedding and years of happy marriage ahead. Don't stress! Loved the gay parking comment - you crack me up!

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  58. Congratulations to you both!!

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  59. I've been reading for awhile and haven't really commented before, but I;m delurking to say SO HAPPY for you both!!!!!!!!!! How exciting! When I saw the post title I thought, hmmm... then I scrolled down with mounting excitement till I saw your engagement ring. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

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  60. Congratulations! I wish you and your future husband many years of happiness and joy. And lots of delicious persimmon cake :)

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  61. Congratulations you guys! (And the cake looks delicious!)

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  62. And he makes AWESOME sushi! He's a catch, for sure (and so are you, duh). Congrats! Love you both. :)

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  63. Congrats, Garrett!

    I was never the type to plan my wedding to the t. I have been planning the food, but to be fair, my dad's a caterer, and I worked for him for 4 years, so it comes naturally. In any case, this is all to say, congrats, and I hope you and fiance are super happy together. The Persimmon spice cake looks fabulous, and I've never tried persimmons.

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  64. Congratulations!!! The ring and the accompanying story is beautiful!

    If getting married in CA doesn't work out, come visit DC :)

    Best of luck to you both.

    - Maggie

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  65. Congratulations! I always enjoy reading your blog, best wishes for you and your soon-to-be husband! Also, that cake looks wonderful! :)

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  66. Congratulations!!

    I'm definitely NOT one of those women who have been planning their weddings since they were kids. I did play with Barbies but I don't think I ever had a Barbie wedding, even!

    so I definitely support the idea of asking someone else to take care of the wedding planning :)

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  67. Congratulations!! That's wonderful news!! :D Good wishes to both of you!

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  68. Congratulations! May you both have a long and happy life together!

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  69. This is such wonderful news. Congratulations. I love the idea of calling it "engagement cake!" Reminds me of Ina Garten's "engagement chicken," which is a lemon chicken recipe the women of her staff swears will get you a ring (two of them make the dish and had a fiance within the week).

    Unrelated, because even in engagement bliss I like to keep you on your toes: NO sequins on a wedding dress. Not acceptable in the 80s, not acceptable now. No sequins!

    Again, congratulations. Post moved me to tears.

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  70. This whole food poisoning business I've been dealing with for the past few days has been killing me and has left me saying congrats 2 days late!

    Well, big, big, big congratulations! You really deserve it all! So happy for you both! :)

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  71. OMG GARRETT! Just got your FB message and thought I'd take a quick peek at VG before I responded and here it is ... THE news of all news! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

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  72. How wonderful! Congratulations to you and Fiancee. And yes, it truly stinks that (for now) you can't be married here in California. All the more reason to fight that horrible piece of legislation and make sure it's just a regretable footnote in our history books. I'm still giggling about the whole "gay parking" thing.

    I hated the wedding planning and let my mom do most of it. We did have tacos (and margaritas) at the reception though. Because they do kick ass.

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  73. Congratulations Garrett!!!! I'm so happy for you two!!!

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  74. Congrats to you!! I must make this cake. My BF proposed on Sunday. Don't you just want to walk around and tell the world you're engaged??? I sure do!!

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  75. Congratulations! What an awesome sweet, sweet proposal! We wish you the best!

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  76. Whoo hoo!!! Garrett, that is absolutely, fabulously fantastic!!! I am so happy for you and the fiance. And I really like the ring! That fiance of yours has good taste.

    As for women and weddings, not all of use straight girls are like that. I was just so happy that my husband chose me, I didn't care about the dress, the music, the flowers etc. The food? Well, I did care about that. But the cake, not quite as much. I just wanted a good party and that's that.

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  77. Congratulations! (I've been reading a while, but this is my first comment.) Wish you both the best of happiness.
    And that cake looks delicious!

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  78. Congrats!!! I love BF's digievolution to Fiancée, I genuinely giggled. The persimmons are just my cup of tea (i made a persimmon bread the other day with some unfortunate fuyus). Whenever I make this cake I'm sure my face is gonna split up in a smirk thinking about you guys.

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  79. This entire post made me so happy. I just got married in September and it couldn't have been more perfect. I love reading your blog because it's unique and interesting. =)

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  80. Congratulations Garrett and Fiancee!!!

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  81. Congratulations!! It moved me to tears. I'm so happy for you. Fiance has great taste in partner & in the ring design. I know you both will be so happy.
    Your persimmon cake looks much better than mine but I had the gooey, jelly type of persimmon in droves when I lived in CA.
    As for life-time planning of a wedding. No. I have the dress planned in my head only because I own an amazing piece of antique lace that I must use. everything else I'm handing off to my sister. Now she just has to find me the right person.
    Congratulations again.
    Ratty Hugs ~C8>

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  82. Congratulations! I am so happy for both of you!

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  83. Congratulations!! Such an exciting time! And this cake sounds amazing. I have never used persimmons before, but I will have to try and hunt some down to make this. Thanks for sharing!

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  84. Congratulations! So happy for you. Lovely ring and lovely cake. PLus you have total agreement on that homophobic law from someone who isnt even american. its disgusting. Enjoy being engaged :)

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  85. Congratulations and what a lovely ring! Hope everything turns out beautifully for you two!

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  86. I have been following your blog for 5ish years (I think...time flies) and am so excited for you, Garrett!

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  87. Wow! Congratulations, I'm so happy for you and your partner! Love the ring as well. Very unique and beautiful! You'll make a great father someday!

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  88. Congrats, and very nice ring, from one of your straight male readers.

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  89. Congratulations Garrett!

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  90. Congratulations Garrett!! I've been following your blog for a couple of years now and I feel like we're old friends, and I am ecstatic for you. ;) Beautiful engagement story. Much, much happiness to you and your fiancee.

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  91. Congrats to you and the now Fiancé from a fellow currently engaged! And yes, there definitely is a big divide in most men's and most women's ability to handle planning a wedding, although my (straight guy) fiancé seems to get an almost Machiavellian pleasure in planning seating arrangements that I never could.

    A few words of advice: go to a Bridal Expo (despite the heteronormative name) at least once, if only for the sheer amount of free food/cake/stuff you receive. It's somewhat overwhelming. Never have more than one cake tasting in a day, for that is the way to throwing up cupcakes. Go to as many Crate and Barrel registry parties as you can: even their brochures are LGBT inclusive and they have unlimited mimosas. Let me say it again, unlimited mimosas. Note that these are all food related, as this is by far the most fun part of wedding planning. Yay wedding tacos!

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  92. Congratulations! I am delurking to wish you the best; I even squealed when I read your wonderful news. Yay, just YAY!
    -Michelle

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  93. Congratulations to you guys! You can always come to D.C. and get married :)
    Love the photographs!

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  94. Congratulations :) so Happy for you!

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  95. Hey Garrett!

    It's me your faithful reader from India! Aishwarya :)
    I wanted to tell you, many many congratulations from my side!!
    I hope one day, BF proposes to me the same way your Fiancee did to you! We're 5 years running together, and we know that we'll be together forever, but I still want the down-on-one-knee proposal!

    Here's wishing you and fiancee a lifetime of joy, cookies, hugs, love and pumpkin cake!

    Take care!

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  96. Congratulations!! And thank you for the delicious recipe!

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  97. That was a lovely post, I'm not usually a cryer, but that one made me a little weepy.
    Congratulations, I wish you both a wonderful life together...

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  98. This is wonderful news! Big congrats, you deserve to be happy :)

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  99. Really appreciate able I never though that things can be understood in this way also. Totally relate and associate with the topic! Great site and great information. Thank you!

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  100. Lovely. Congratulations.

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  101. Congratulations to you Garrett and your fiance! May you have many happy years together. The ring is rather beautiful. I love your blog, it is so cool.

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Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.
~Garrett

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