The Wonderful Fig

Each season, the overwhelming harvest of figs makes me frantic. They are at the farmers’ market, the orphaned neighbor’s tree, and in my own yard, bursting forth on a daily basis in tantalizing shades of greens and purples. Plump and juicy they are too delicious and voluminous to be left untended. So I pick and pick and pick, and this year, over several weeks, it was Fig-Onion Relish, Fig Marmalade, Fig Jam, Fig-Apple Compote and Figs in a Jar. Of course there are the baked goods, one of which was so greatly received, I share it now. The revered fig recipe is cuddled up in a fancy pan, to boot! I left off the glaze for the photo so you can have a better look at these morsels.

Fig Cakes with Almond and Vanilla Glaze                                                 

Fig Cakes with Vanilla Glaze

Serves 12


  • For the cakes:
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 8-10 fat, ripe figs, stems removed and chopped (use a couple more if your figs are smaller)
  • ¼ cup fig or raspberry jam (optional)
  • For the glaze:
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon buttermilk, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds


  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F, and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a mini cake pan with non-stick cooking spray, and set aside.*
  2. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon and sugar to a large bowl, whisking to combine. Add buttermilk, eggs, butter, vanilla extract and almond extract to a small bowl, whisking to combine.
  3. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir just until combined. Stir in the chopped figs. Divide the batter between the 6 wells of the mini cake pan (2 batches needed here), and bake until the tops of the cakes are lightly golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center of one cake comes out clean (18 – 22 minutes).
  4. Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and let cook for 10 minutes. Gently tap the pan on the counter to release the cakes. Turn the cakes out on to the cooling rack (so the flat side is down), and let cool completely before glazing. Wipe pan clean, and repeat with a second batch.
  5. To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth and pourable, Add a little more buttermilk if the mixture seems to thick (but add sparingly).
  6. Once the cakes are cool, drizzle each cake with vanilla glaze. Start in the middle, and let the glaze run down the sides. Then sprinkle each cake with chopped toasted almonds. Cakes are best enjoyed immediately, but if you want to enjoy them later, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and glaze right before serving.

*If you don’t have a mini cake pan, simply prepare this cake in a 10-inch round cake pan, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 375°F.


Adapted from: Recipe by Kitchen Konfidence at





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