Fig & Almond Cake

Fresh figs are in season and I'm loving it. It's funny because as a child I had access to my neighbor's fig tree and had no interest in eating them. I thought they were an odd fruit. It's nice that I can get them in the local grocery store but I find that they don't keep for very long, even in the refrigerator. So when this latest batch was on the verge of going bad, I started looking for a recipe to use them.


In the past I've made fig jam and fig compotes but that's not what I what I had in mind. Then I came across this recipe in the New York Times. It was just what I was looking for - a simple recipe with ingredients that I had readily on hand. I love that it's not too sweet, perfect with a little dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream on the side.


I've since made this cake and used some honeyed Italian plums that I'd canned and it's delicious. I think it would also work well with fresh peaches or plums. It also reminds me of one of my favorite tarts from a lovely local bakery, Tatte. They make a delicious pear frangipane tart that I crave (thankfully I don't live right next to one or I'd be there everyday.) In the winter I think I'll replace the figs with pears.

Pear Frangipane Tart from Tatte Bakery
and inspiration for another version of this cake

This recipe is almost gluten-free with only ¼ cup of flour. Unfortunately I don't know enough about the alchemy of baking to know how to substitute the flour in this recipe but I'm sure it can be done.

I'm definitely making this again. It's so simple and presents beautifully. It's great for an afternoon tea and I'd like to even think it'd be great for breakfast (okay, not really but maybe as part of a Sunday brunch).

Fig & Almond Cake

From the New York Times

4 tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing pan
1 cup natural raw almonds (not blanched)
¼ cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon almond extract
12-14 ripe figs

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan or pie pan; set aside. (I used a 9-inch cake pan that I buttered and lined/butter the bottom with parchment paper.)

Put almonds and ¼ cup sugar in a food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; pulse to combine.

In a mixing bowl whisk together eggs, melted butter, honey, and almond extract. Add almond mixture and beat for a minute until batter is just mixed. Pour batter into pan.

Remove stem from each fig and cut in half. Arrange fig halves cut-side up over the batter. Sprinkle figs with sugar and bake for 30 minutes, until golden outside and dry at center when probed with a cake tester.

Cool before serving.


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