Saturday, September 12, 2009

Upside-down Fresh Fig Cake

We have two fig trees (a Misson Fig and a Turkish Fig) that I bought from Magnolia Nursey about 6 or 7 years ago and the last three years, we have had figs appear but not ever enough to make anything with and the figs were nothing to write home - or even blog - about.  Pathetic figs!!

I am not sure which tree is which but I think that the one on the left is the Turkish Fig Tree.

This year, the fig trees are all grown up and they are LOADED with figs - especially the Turkish fig tree. 

When my mother-in-law was here, we cute a few fresh figs and then drizzled them with balsamic syrup and added them to the mezze - she and John loved them!

Figs, however, are really perishable and you have to eat them right way or they get over ripe over night. 

Faced with about 14 figs today that I have to use, I think I will make a fig cake as opposed to a fig tart... 

For a lighter, more summery dessert I added lemon zest to the batter and a little cardamom to the topping. Next time, I'll enhance the citrus flavors by adding some lemon juice as well. 


Upside-down Fresh Fig Cake 

Makes 6 servings 


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon cardamom

10 fresh figs, stems removed, cut in half


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

I usually line the pan with a strip of nonstick foil and leave  some hanging out on each side to facilitate removal of the cake from the pan but you can use butter and parchment if you prefer:

Butter a 9-inch cake pan with 2-inch sides. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat or in the microwave, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and honey until smooth. Pour the sauce into the prepared cake pan. Arrange the figs, cut sides down, in concentric circles over the sauce. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons butter with sugar and vanilla until lightened in color and texture, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until well combined after each. Beating on low speed just until combined after each addition, add dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk in 2 parts.

Spoon the batter evenly over the figs.

Bake the cake until golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes.

Transfer the cake to a rack and cool in the pan for 50 minutes.

Run a thin knife around the sides of the pan to loosen.

Place a serving platter on top of the pan and invert the cake. Gently lift off the pan and remove the non-stick foil or parchment paper.

Spoon over the cake any of the sauce that has run off, and serve warm.

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