I made this cake to celebrate abundant fresh figs in this area. I went to local market and spot two different kinds. Mission figs came the name as the Spanish mission settled in San Diego to grow these ficus. Calimyrna figs in Jaoquin Valley California have more nutty taste. I choose the mission figs as it has bloodied purple colour, blend nicely with ruby port.
I did not find any problem since I decided to follow strictly Dorie's recipe. The only difficulty I’ve got that I have to scan isles in Safeway to find ruby port. I couldn't find small bottle though, instead I had to buy Fairbank bottle probably enough for 5 years!
As mention the cake supposed to be on the fall seasion, but hey.. figs already come out in California so what's the problem? Dad Gordon in Weymouth must be envy that we found lots fresh figs in the end of July while his tree probably still on the green stage. Keep it up Dad otherwise the squirrel eat it all!
I agreed with suessschnabel that this cake lacked of spice. But to add positive feedback honey that put in actually quite good to replace sugar. It turned out that the batter looked not nice (Dorie mentioned it), I kept whisking but the batter not even getting smoother. I thought the lacked of sugar could be result bigger flakes of cake.
The sauce I produced slightly thicker than should be. I have to put some more water, heat it in microwave for one minute and served with the cake. Indeed, nice to enjoy the cake when weather little bit cool.
Final result : just like in the book page. WOW!
A Fig Cake for Fall
from "Baking - From my home to yours" by Dorie Greenspan
3/4 cup ruby port
1 cup honey, divided
2 thin slices lemon
16 - 20 fresh figs, stemmed and halved
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, preferably at room tempereatur
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the figs and sauce:
Stir the port and 1/2 cup of honey together in a small saucepan. Toss in the lemon slices and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat, add the figs, cover the pan and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until the figs are soft. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the figs to a bowl. Raise the heat and cook the poaching liquid until thickened. Set the sauce aside.
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust the insides with flour, tapping out the excess.
Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a bowl and rub them together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter. Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the eggs one by one ( one minutes difference), beating well after each addition. Pour in the remaining 1/2 cup honey, add the vanilla extract and beat for another 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Jiggle the pan from side to side to spread the batter evenly, then scatter the poached figs over the top.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges and remove the sides of the pan. Cool the cake to slightly warm or to room temperature before serving it with the sauce.