SHF No. 35 - The Beautiful Fig!
|When Ivonne told me, way back when, that she'd be hosting an upcoming, Sugar High Friday, I knew I'd participate regardless of the theme she chose. I knew back then, that whatever she'd choose would be a favorite of mine - and I was right. The fig! I love them! Turned on by my Dad when I was a wee girl, I've ate them often during my 40 *gasp!* years. But I've learned something about the fig through using them in this really pretty and delicious cake.|
I don't like figs after all. Go figure.
Okay well that's not entirely true. I love dried figs.. sweet, soft & crunchy. Just yummy - especially a fig stuffed with a lil mascarpone and then wrapped up in a paper thin, buttery slice of Proscuitto de Parma. *swoon* What I realized was, I'd never tasted a fresh fig before! They are gorgeous all dark purple and light green in spots (we're talking Mission Figs here) on the outside and then this amazing mauve like color on the inside.. SO PRETTY! But then when I popped one gorgeous lil slice of fresh fig into my mouth, I kinda stopped dead in my tracks. My jaws seized and my eyes kinda bulged a bit. The gag reflex started and I desperately looked for the garbage can. After I spat that thing out I wondered what the hell did I just put in my mouth? I don't recall dippin' into the litter box for a lil poo-poo platter.. I distinctly remember picking up a lil slice of beautiful fig.. what the hell?
Okay so maybe it wasn't that bad.. but I definitely do not like the slightly musty and otherwise unflavor of a fresh fig. They are not sweet like their lil dried selves. At least the fresh figs that I bought weren't. So I'm curious.. did I get a bad batch or is this the way figs uhh.. don't taste?
Well what the hell was I suppose to do with the lil carton I bought now? I thought about halving the rest and roasting them with a lil honey drizzled on top.. but I didn't want to hurt my honey. It's golden and sweet and nature's candy (oh wait, isn't that raisins?) no way did I want the unflavor to touch it.. of course I called my Guru. Sheesh, I don't think I make a move in my kitchen anymore without calling South Carolina for assistance. hee! I catch her as she, her hubby and her parents are out joy riding on their boat in the middle of the Atlantic, watching dolphins no less! But because she's a sweetheart she took the time to help me think of something to do with the remaining figs. Her suggestion was a sorbet - which was a good suggestion, but we realized I didn't have enough figs for the task. So then I asked, "well, what if I just dump them in the cake? Will the unflavor shine through and ruin it?" She didn't think it would, so that's what I did.
I also had a bag of dried Mission figs, so I chopped them up and added them as well.. what the hay, right? It's a Fig Extravaganza! so I'd better go all the way, yes?!
Well 45 minutes later, I pulled out a seriously gorgeous dark golden cake from my oven - which, by the way, smelled heavenly. I let it cool for a few minutes, then turned it out onto a plate and made the buttermilk glaze that I was suppose to drizzle over the top while still warm.
Heeee that was an experience.. not that it has much to do with this post, but I also, somehow, in my psychotic brain decided that it'd be a good time to finish up making dinner at the same time. I should have taken pics, but I was too embarrased. Firstly, I had decided to double the glaze recipe as I wanted extra to pool onto a plate before laying a slice down (always thinking of the photo!!) BUT I read the recipe wrong and QUADRUPLED the amount of buttermilk it called for.. I kept wondering to myself, "Why the frig is this stuff so thin?? Shouldn't it have thickened up a bit??" Yeah.. well no.. no amount of stirring and boiling was going to make that sauce thicken up. So I poured it down the sink and tried again, this time reading and following the instructions - a novel idea, dontcha think? :P
So I've got powdered sugar EVERYWHERE by now. I've got roasted veggies in a skillet next to the glaze and a big pot of Basmati rice on another burner - with my Garlic & Brown Sugar (because Yes! You Can Pair Garlic with Brown Sugar!) Chicken (that I'll be posting about in a couple days.. look forward to it, because it rocked, friends.. IT ROCKED!) removed from the crockpot and sitting in a roaster so I can crisp up the skin in a 450º oven. Every counter was completely filled with ingredients, a crock pot, dirty dishes, towels.. towels everywhere, and powdered sugar. Fakkin stuff is worse than flour.
But I digress.. this post is about the Fig Preserve Cake.. which was mighty delicious. Those fresh figs cooked nicely in the batter and were a tad sweet when I bit into one.. no musty unflavor to speak of. The dried figs added a lovely chew and the texture of this buttermilk based cake was outstanding.. so dense and creamy if you will. I loved it. I spiced the cake up with cinnamon and nutmeg to kick it up a notch and those flavors paired perfectly with the figs. This is a super easy cake to put together and you definitely get a big bang for little effort. As I was telling a friend, this cake is so good that I'll make it again and again using different fruits to suit my tastes. Right now I'm thinking pears or apples and cranberries around the end of November. :D And I'd also love to try this base recipe with smooshed bananas to compare it to my all-time favorite banana cake.
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice (I omitted)
1/2 tsp. ground cloves (I omitted)
1 c. vegetable oil (I used 1/2 c. canola oil & 1/2 c. pear sauce (like applesauce)
1 c. buttermilk
1 TBS. vanilla extract
1 c. fig preserves
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (I omitted)
I added - about 8 fresh Mission figs, chopped and about 15 chopped dried Mission figs
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. buttermilk
1 TBS. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
I added - 2 TBS. Grand Marnier (because my fig preserves had a lil orange in it so I thought the Grand Marnier would be nice.. it was. *hick*)
Combine first 8 ingredients in a large mixing bowl; add oil and eggs, beating well at medium speed with electric mixer.
Add buttermilk and vanilla, beating well.
Stir in preserves, fresh & dried figs and pecans or walnuts, if using.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan. (I used a 10 c. Bundt pan)
Bake at 350º F. for 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. At 45 minutes, my cake was a beautiful dark golden brown and completely done.
Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and place on serving platter.
Pour buttermilk glaze over cake while both are still warm.
Melt 1 TBS. butter in saucepan over low heat, add the buttermilk and the powdered sugar, heat till dissolved, then add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 TBS. Grand Marnier if using.
If the glaze is to thin or thick add powdered sugar or more buttermilk accordingly until you get the consistency you like.
So here it is, Ivonne! My contribution to Sugar High Friday - The Beautiful Fig! I'm delighted with the outcome and I hope you are too. =)