A great fig should look like it’s just about to burst its skin. When squeezed lightly it should give a little and not spring back. It must be almost unctuously sweet, soft and wet.
I was rewarded for a chilly early morning visit to the markets this weekend with a bounty of fresh figs, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries from a stall holder who was desperate to sell her excess produce before closing time. Fresh figs are a special occasion treat at our place, and to have enough to use in baking a cake is a rarity. Rich and sweet and unctuous, with a sharp tang of raspberry and subtle heat of fresh ginger, the cake was perfect for afternoon tea on a sunny, but cool autumn afternoon.
Makes one 20 cm cake (serves 8 – 10)
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup sugar
120 g butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
4-6 fresh figs
60-80 g fresh raspberries
thick cream and edible gold glitter, to serve
Preheat oven to 175 C. Lightly grease the base and sides of a 20 cm spring-form tin. In a medium sized bowl combine the almond meal, flour and sugar. In a smaller bowl whisk together the melted butter, vanilla extract, ginger and eggs. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and whisk together. Pour into the tin and gently tap the tin on the table to even the filling out. Trim the stems off the figs and slice in half. Place the figs, cut side up, around the outside of the cake, and then place the raspberries in the centre. Bake for 30 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes away clean. Take out of the oven and cool on a wire cake rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with thick cream. I sprinkled edible gold glitter over the cake (it can be found in cake decorating shops) but plain icing sugar would also look pretty. Keeps well for two or three days in an airtight container.