The summer of 2016 is the summer when I learned to love figs. Thanks to some friends who have a huge fig tree that produces the sweetest fruits, I’ve been lucky to have an abundance of figs to eat on their own and to use in baked goods. The latest fig-themed dessert to come out of my oven is a Fig and Almond Cake. This hearty but delicate cake perfumed with almond extract is nutty, tender, and barely sweet. Figs are scattered on top of the cake batter and sprinkled with a bit of sugar to caramelize in the oven. The cake is best eaten the day that it’s baked as it tends to get mushy pretty quickly because of the moisture from the figs.
If you want to learn a little more about figs, check out this article on how figs get pollinated. A bit of a warning though, the details are a bit of a horror movie, and depending on how easily grossed out your are, you may never want to eat a fig again. So remember, you’ve been warned.
Gorgeous figs from a friend’s tree
The cake comes out looking beautiful with figs scattered over the top of the cake batter [even though I put my figs “wrong side” (cut side down ) up].
Fig and Almond Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake
(from NYT Cooking)
4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing pan
1 cup natural raw almonds (not blanched)
¼ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon almond extract
12 to 14 ripe figs
- Heat the oven to 375° F.
- Butter or spray a 9-inch fluted tart pan or pie pan (I used one with a removable bottom, and that helped ensure that the cake stayed intact when I removed the outside of the pan); set aside.
- Put almonds and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor and grind to a coarse powder. The finer you ground the almonds, the less crunchy the cake will be.
- Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; pulse to combine.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, honey, and almond extract.
- Add the dry ingredients (the almond mixture) to the wet ingredients, and stir together until batter is just mixed (don’t overmix).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Remove the stem from each fig, and cut the fig in half.
- Arrange the fig halves cut-side up over the batter. Don’t leave a large space between figs as they will shrink when they bake. It’s OK if the figs are touching each other.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the figs.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake is golden outside and dry at center when probed with a cake tester.
- Cool before serving.
Note: This cake is best when eaten on the day that it’s baked.