Sunday, October 25, 2015

Buttermilk Fig Cake

Figs are in season at the end of the summer. Since they do so well teamed with spices, I really think of them as a winter item. We all know that figs have good nutritional value. I am not sure why there are not more desserts made with them. The only thing that most of us can recall with this item as an ingredient is fig newtons.

After trying this recipe, I consider this cake as a wonderful alternative to the fig cookies. Rich, moist and spicy, it easily finds a place beside a cup of tea. The other good point about this cake is that it is a converted recipe that is low in fat, having only 3 grams per slice. The recipe comes from a spa and resort in Austin. We all know that even the idea of something fatty and sugary at a spa resort is not welcome.

It is a light dessert but really delivers on flavor and the texture. One bite reveals a myriad of rich spices with chewy figs and the crunch of nuts.The glaze is soaked up by the cake top and edges which give it a nice burst of sweetness.

Now for those that are unfamiliar with figs, they do have seeds. So every once in a while you will come across a fig seed in this cake.  If you do not mind the seeds of strawberries or blackberries, then you will be fine.  However, since there are some that abstain from the small seeded fruits-I have to give fair warning.

Buttermilk Fig Cake
adapted from Lake Austin Spa Resort

2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 tbs canola oil
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
7.5 oz baby food prunes (about 3 jars)
1 1/2 cups chopped preserved figs
1/3 cup chopped pecans


1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tbs light butter
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Prepare a springform pan by greasing the interior. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the first 7 ingredients and set aside. Fill another bowl with the eggs and egg whites.Whisk until blended and a little foamy on top. Then mix the oil, sugar, prunes and vanilla into the eggs.

Take 1/3 of the sifted ingredients and fold into the wet batter. Stir in 1/3 cup of the buttermilk. Repeat the process, ending by blending the last addition of the flour. Lastly, fold in the nuts and chopped figs.

Empty the batter into the prepared pan and bake until tester comes out clean.  Bake time is approximately 55 minutes. After baking, place on rack to cool for 15 minutes, then unmold ring.  Glaze cake when completely cool.

The glaze can be made while the cake is cooling. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add buttermilk and sugar. Stir and let cook until sugar is dissolved. Sift in the cornstarch and baking soda, stirring quickly so no lumps form. Add the butter and mix until butter is completely melted and blended. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract.  Let cool completely.

Once each component (cake and glaze) is at room temperature, give the glaze a stir and then drizzle over cake. Let sit until glaze is slightly soaked into cake, then slice and serve.

Tips and Notes:
1. If you cannot find preserved figs, then used dried figs. Let them simmer in a mix of water and pure maple syrup for about 45 minutes, then remove from heat and cover. Let sit for about 2 hours and then drain and dice.
2. Glaze is supposed to be really thin and sticky, not like the standard sweet glaze that dries hard.
                                            **LAST YEAR:Banana Nutella Bars**