Fresh-Fig Cake With Honey Cream-Cheese Frosting
This dense and deeply figgy cake, adapted from Eli's Table in Manhattan, gets its complex flavor from a combination of fresh figs and fig jam, seasoned generously with cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. It’s then filled and topped with cream cheese frosting that is sweetened with a combination of confectioners’ sugar for lightness and honey for richness. Over all, it’s a bit like carrot cake, except softer and sweeter. You can make the cake two to three days ahead and store it, well wrapped or under a cake dome, in the refrigerator. It gets even moister as it sits. If you can’t get fresh figs, chopped peeled apple works nicely as a substitute.
- Serves: 12 persons
- Butter, for greasing the pan
- 3cups/384 grams all-purpose flour, more for flouring the pan
- 1teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½teaspoon ground ginger
- ½teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¾teaspoon baking soda
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½cups/300 grams granulated sugar
- 4large eggs
- ¾cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2tablespoons buttermilk or plain yogurt
- ¾cup/116 grams chopped fresh figs (3 to 4 figs)
- ¾cup/225 grams fig jam
- ¾cup/85 grams chopped pecans or walnuts
- 12tablespoons/180 grams unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
- 2cups/16 ounces/454 grams cream cheese, softened
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3tablespoons/60 grams honey
- 1teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ⅔cups/450 grams confectioners’ sugar
- 1cup sliced fresh figs (about 5 figs)
Step 1Make the cake: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 10-inch cake pan (or two 9-inch pans), and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Step 2In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, baking soda and salt.
Step 3Using an electric mixer, whisk to combine sugar and eggs until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Whisk in oil and buttermilk or yogurt to combine.
Step 4Using a rubber spatula, gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture just until combined. Fold in figs, jam and pecans.
Step 5Scrape into prepared cake pan and bake until browned and springy to the touch, about 65 to 75 minutes (or 35 to 45 minutes for the 9-inch pans). If the top gets too dark before the cake is finished baking, cover it with foil. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Step 6While cake is cooling, make the frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and salt on low speed until smooth. Beat in honey and vanilla, then beat in confectioners’ sugar.
Step 7To assemble the cake, remove cooled cake from pan and peel off parchment paper. Slice cake in half horizontally, so you end up with 2 layers. (You don’t need to do this for the 9-inch cakes.) Spread half the frosting between the layers, sandwiching it. Dollop remaining frosting in a thick layer on top of the cake, leaving a 1-inch border on the top of the cake, the sides, bare. Chill until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with sliced figs.