Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Monday, September 24, 2007

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.

Fig Preserve Cake - the batter Fig Preserve Cake - The Preserves

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.

Fig Preserve Cake Slice

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.

Fig Preserve Cake With Fresh and Dried Figs

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.

Fig Preserve Cake Slice
Fig Preserve Cake with Buttermilk Glaze
Adapted from and @ngdarlen

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)
3 eggs
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

Buttermilk Glaze
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.

Fig Preserve Cake Slice

Buttermilk Glaze
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. =)


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Comments on "SHF No. 35 - The Beautiful Fig!"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/24/2007 8:00 PM) : 

Yes! First comment! Woohoo!

You are so funny! I just love your description of your reaction when eating a fresh fig. I think part of the problem is that the fresh figs we get here are nothing compared to the ones that you can get in Italy. We'll have to go there together one day so we can eat them together!

Your cake is just unbelievable. I love the preserves you made and how they baked up in the cake. And the pan you used is so pretty.

My sweet sister! Thanks so much for taking part in SHF #35!


Blogger Katie B. said ... (9/24/2007 8:12 PM) : 

Whoa figgy goodness! Your cake looks heavenly - so glossy and divine! And I love that you made it in the cathedral bundt cake pan! I have one and it rules!


Blogger LizNoVeggieGirl said ... (9/24/2007 8:13 PM) : 

haha!! I couldn't agree more about fresh figs - I despise them; but I LOOOOVE dried figs (the Turkish variety, to be exact) - and that's the variety of dried figs that I used for my OWN SHF #35 entry :0)

your cake is phenomenal - bravo on such a lovely presentation, and your choice for a fig-containing baked good!!


Blogger SteamyKitchen said ... (9/24/2007 9:13 PM) : 

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken!!!

oh I can't wait......


Blogger Proud Italian Cook said ... (9/24/2007 9:18 PM) : 

Your cake looks divine!!!! We are a family that loves figs, can't wait to try it out. Love the buttermilk glaze.YUM!!!!!!


Blogger Peabody said ... (9/24/2007 10:35 PM) : 

I much prefer the taste of dried over fresh(though a good fresh one is nice).
As always you have me laughing at my computer screen!
That cake turned out gorgeous!


Blogger Anh said ... (9/24/2007 11:12 PM) : 

Wonderful cake. It looks super-moist!


Blogger Belinda said ... (9/24/2007 11:27 PM) : 

hahaha, Lisa! I am the opposite of you...I love the honey sweet little figs I pick from my tree in the summer, and look forward to them all year long for that short window of opportunity to enjoy them, but dried figs?! No, thanks! lol Your cake looks divine though, Lisa, and I'll bet I'd probably even change my mind about dried figs if you would just send over a nice chunk of your glazed fig cake!! :-)


Blogger Helene said ... (9/25/2007 12:09 AM) : 

At least you did not tell me they smelled like a$$ like you usually do!! Glad I could help and I am thrilled to see that throwing the fresh ones in there like you thought turned out so good. That cake is stunning! The porpoises seemed to find our conversation interesting, they played around for a good 5 minutes. You have got to get your butt down here!


Blogger Elle said ... (9/25/2007 12:26 AM) : 

You are too funny girl! Waiting for that sugar and garlic is bound to be innovative :) This cake looks divine, especially with the dang glaze.


Blogger Karen Baking Soda said ... (9/25/2007 2:11 AM) : 

I was going on a fig hunt here, but now I've missed the deadline and read yr report..not so sure anymore, I don't even like the dried ones and I figured the fresh ones must be a lot better...Not? (Dates on the other hand are totally yummy).


Blogger Brittany said ... (9/25/2007 4:53 AM) : 

Oh my god that was one of the funniest posts I have ever read. Especially the kitty litter part. I tried my first fresh fig about 8 years ago. Like you my reaction was like "what the?? These taste weird!"..But slowly, over time, they have become an aquired taste. Don't give up them. Years form now, you may grow to love them.


Blogger Jenny said ... (9/25/2007 5:24 AM) : 

Ah, I feel better! Maybe the one time I tried a fresh fig it was ripe, and I just hated it. (Cause it was awful!)
The dried figs, however, are extra sweet that even my children like them.
Beautiful cake! Beautiful!
Looking forward to the chicken too.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/25/2007 6:00 AM) : 

Your description of your first taste of figs is hilarious. You know what , sis I hated fresh figs at first but after I figured out which ones taste the best , the hubby and I look forward to them as an after dinner treat. Unripe figs are yucky and so are overripe ones. You just have to get them just right. My current post of the figgy chicken has a short paragraph of how to pick 'em. but then again it might be an acquired taste ...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/25/2007 6:01 AM) : 

I'm drooling over that cake by the way and I'm sitting here with a cup of coffee with nothing to munch on!


Blogger Deborah said ... (9/25/2007 12:18 PM) : 

I've never had a fresh fig either, but now I'm scared that I won't be able to pick a good one. It sounds like you really have to know what you are doing...Your cake is gorgeous, and your post is hilarious, like always!


Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said ... (9/25/2007 2:48 PM) : 

Figgy Toledo! That is beautiful! Those cake molds are wonders but your cake is fantastic! Sounds like a winner.
Great write up on your first fresh fig bite! I really believe nobody but you could say it quite like that and so perfect. BUT I was very happy with my first bite of fresh figs and found I really love them.


Blogger Sara said ... (9/25/2007 7:54 PM) : 

So gorgeous. I like that it uses preserves - I would probably try this. I LOVE your cake tin! So pretty.


Blogger kellypea said ... (9/25/2007 8:45 PM) : 

OMG Lis, "My jaws seized..." I had to spend five minutes recovering. Especially after your amazing description of their physical beauty. I like the whole castle thing you have going on, and the dark, moist looking cake is gorgeous. But I just. can't. do. figs. Really. So that makes us even with your bean thing, right? Well, but then I drown everything in olive oil and you less than heart that, and...then there's the wine discrepancy. Hell, girl. It's gotta be the Italian food. And the garden. And your very sweet self.


Blogger Cynthia said ... (9/25/2007 10:20 PM) : 

I love how you used for fig for this event.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/26/2007 6:20 AM) : 

Phew, I'm shattered after all that. It's certainly a towering, sryupy beauty of a cake!


Blogger Lis said ... (9/26/2007 1:19 PM) : 

hehe thanks everyone.. my sis came for dinner last night so she took the last of it that didn't go to work - we both agreed, it tastes like a really moist fig newton - only better. :D



Blogger Kelly-Jane said ... (9/26/2007 2:39 PM) : 

Look at that cake! SO shiny and gorgeous :) I prefer dried figs to fresh, fresh are ok, but dried are so much tastier!


Blogger Anita said ... (9/27/2007 1:16 PM) : 

beautiful cake Lis - I love the mold too!! I agree with you that the first time I had raw figs I was not super impressed. Glad we overcome our initial impressions!!


Blogger Annemarie said ... (9/29/2007 11:10 AM) : 

This looks like my idea of a perfect, sticky, indulugent dessert. The husband is impressed too, I'll have you know - I sense baking this in my very near future.


Blogger Rose said ... (10/01/2007 1:00 PM) : 

This looks so moist and yummy!


Blogger Lady Amalthea said ... (10/18/2011 11:08 AM) : 

Ironically, I actually prefer fresh figs to dry! I find dried figs too sweet. But your cake sounded so good (and I loved combining 3 kinds of figs) that I made one too!


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