When I saw this new bake together from Abby Dodge, I thought oh that cake reminds me of one my mom makes with Italian plums. I will probably blog about that one when the particular variety becomes available in my area. Anyway, I love the idea of highlighting summer fruits but the problem I was having was picking one! Summer fruits are my favorites; I can just sit and eat bowls of berries, juicy peaches and sweet melons all day long. So I figured rather than trying to pick the fruit then work the cake around that, I’d let the fruit pick me and let the cake evolve from there.
A few weeks ago my husband and I joined Costco, yup we’re a little late to the party. We picked up a bunch of stuff on one of our trips including these:
When I got them home I had no idea what I was going to do with them, beyond the obvious: EAT THEM! I love fresh figs and enjoy doing all sorts of different things with them. As you can see I had quite a few so I wanted to do something with them, something different. For reasons I cannot fathom I hadn’t even thought of using them for this cake, even though the summer fruit cake project was on my mind. The idea finally came to my slow moving brain a few days later while staring at these beauties.
Now how to incorporate them was the next quandary. I could chop and fold them into the batter, I could slice and dot them across the top of the cake, I could do an upside down cake. All good ideas but none quite spoke to me.
I had an epiphany on my way to work a few days ago: figs in syrup! YES!
Now the analyst kicked in, running a variety of flavor combinations through my mind until I finally came up with honey, orange, cinnamon…something else, what? Ah, cardamom! Yes, you’ve heard how much I like cardamom in this post.
While the cake was in the oven I reduced some honey with the aromatics to about half and then let it cool a bit.
I then added the quartered figs and let them steep a while. After the cake was done, I spooned it over top and voila!
Here’s my take on Abby’s wonderful cake. I hope you give or a try, it was really quite tasty. In fact after I tasted it, it occurred to me that this would be a wonderful cake for Rosh Hashanah; different from my more traditional honey cake (you’ll have to wait for this one!), but deliciously appropriate none the less.
Let me know how it works out for you!
Recipe Adapted from Abby Dodge’s Summer Fruit Cake Your Way
Yield: 10 Servings
(Modification are in italics)
1 cup golden colored honey of your choice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 slices orange rind
1 piece cinnamon stick
pinch cardamom seeds (not the whole pod)
6 fresh figs, quartered
For the Cake
1 1/3 cups + 2 tbs (6 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg plus two egg whites, lightly beaten
2/3 cup (5 1/2 ounces) plain greek yogurt (I used non-fat but use what you prefer)
Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350°F degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9×2-inch round cake pan. Lightly flour the sides and line the bottom with a parchment or nonstick baking circle.
To Make the Fig-Honey Syrup
1. Place the honey, orange juice, orange rind, cinnamon stick, salt and cardamom seeds into a sauce pan and carefully bring to a boil. Allow to reduce to half and then remove from heat.
2. Let this sit so that it’s not boiling hot but still warm. Add the figs and gently stir into the honey. Allow to steep while cake cooks.
To Make the Cake
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, and salt until well blended.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, and sugar with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla to combine. Add the eggs beating on medium speed until just blended.
3. Using a wide rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients and the Greek yogurt alternately into the butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the cake pan and, holding onto both rack and plate, and invert the cake. Lift the pan up from the cake. Peel away the parchment. Place another wire rack on top of the cake and invert again so that it is right side up. When cool transfer to serving plate.
To Assemble The Cake
Remove the orange rind and cinnamon stick from the honey mixture. Carefully spoon over the cake and serve.
1. Storage – Cover the baked and cooled cake in plastic wrap and stow at room temperature for up to 5 days.
2. The cake and/or fig-honey syrup can be made a day early and stored separately. Slightly rewarm the honey to loosen it a bit before spooning over cake.