Fig Upside Down Cake
Fig season is upon us and I was desperate to do something with them. In all honesty, I have never actually cooked with figs before. I see them for those few, fleeting weeks every year in the grocery store and I stare at them longingly, not having a damn clue of what to do with them,
Figs are one of the oldest consumed fruits by humans in the world. Figs were noted in ancient Sumerian texts, the christian bible, symbolized fertility, peace, prosperity, and restoration throughout ancient and recent history. Figs were even found burried with Egyptian Pharaohs to sustain them through the afterlife.
Figs have been eaten for thousands of years, all over the world, and, until recently, the closest I had come to this fruit was a fig newton. This year I went ahead and purchasing a dozen figs with not a single notion of what to do with them. I didn't know if I should peel them, slice the ends off, or what. Can I eat them raw? What do I even do with this tear drop shaped thing?
Bake them in a cake, that’s what.
I have a new love, and it is olive oil cake. Have you ever made an olive oil cake?
Cake can sometimes be daunting, complicated, fussy, messy, and difficult to execute. Olive oil cake is not - I have made a few different versions, playing with the amount of ingredients, and every single version i’ve made has been delicious, moist (this word is only allowed when describing cake), and resilient.
Because the cake batter is somewhat loose, too much to suspend pieces of fig without them sinking to the bottom, I opted to just start with the fruit on the bottom! Upside-down fig cake it was, and I LOVE how this turned out. The cake is really mildly sweet, and the olive oil compliments the figs beautifully. I topped this with an apricot glaze and a whipped mascarpone cream on top.
An excellent end of summer treat!
Use a fresh extra virgin olive oil! Don’t use the bottle that has been sitting on your counter for 2 weeks. The fresher the better and it really does make a difference with the flavor profile.
This will be the perfect cake if you want something sweet, but not super rich. This is the anti-dessert, with both the cake and mascarpone cream being relatively light on sugar.
You can eat this cake the day of, however if you allow the cake to settle and absorb the apricot glaze overnight, you won’t regret it! This cake is almost better on day 2, I swear.
1 cup + 2 tbsp All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp Corn Starch
1/4 Cup Almond Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tbsp Sweet White Wine
3 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Sugar
1tbsp Lemon Zent
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2-3 Fresh figs, sliced into slim wedges
2 ripe Apricots
2/3 cup Sugar
Mascarpone Whipped Cream:
4 tbsp Mascarpone
1/2 Heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400.
Prepare an 8 inch cake pan by using a pastry brush to paint olive oil around the entirety of the bottom and then brush up the sides. Line with parchment paper at the bottom, and brush more olive oil onto the top of the parchment paper.
In a spiral pattern, layer your figs circularly along the bottom of the cake pan, then set the pan aside.
In a medium mixing bowl sift together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then set aside. In another smaller bowl, combine white wine, lemon juice, and vanilla, then set aside.
If using a stand mixer, use this mixing bowl to combine your sugar and lemon zest then mix together to allow the zest to flavor the sugar thoroughly. Then, whisk together the eggs with the sugar until the mixture has lightened in color slightly and thickened.
Pour one third of the dry ingredients into the eggs/sugar and whisk together gently until completely incorporated, then pour half of the wet ingredients. Continue alternating the dry and wet ingredients, mixing completely between each and ending with the dry ingredients.
Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan over the layer of figs. lift your cake pan 1-2 inches off of your counter and drop, then let the cake batter rest for 3-5 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to the top. Then use a toothpick to pop the air bubbles.
Place the cake in the oven a reduce the heat to 350.
Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Run a knife around the perimeter between the cake and the pan to loosen, then place the a plate or cake stand on top of the cake and flip completely. Then, gently loosen the cake pan off of the now upside down cake.
If your cake is domed at the time, you can re-flip the cake over (very carefully!!) and use a bread knife to flatten the top. You can then eat the cake scraps for quality control.
While the cake is cooling, you can make your apricot glaze.
Slice your apricots and place into a small saucepan along with the sugar. Then, place on the stove over medium heat, stirring regularly.
Allow the entire mixture to heat and boil for several minutes until the sugar has melted completely and the apricots have begun to break down.
Place a mesh strainer over a large heat proof bowl, then strain the apricot glaze through. Use a rubber spatula to move the solids around the strainer to get all of the glaze you can. Set the bowl aside too cool down.
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
In a large, wide bowl, place mascarpone, heavy whipping cream, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Use a whisk or hand mixture, to whip together until you get a thick, creamy consistency and stiff peeks!
If your apricot glaze has thickened, you may need to heat gently to bring to a more syrupy consistency. Brush your apricot glaze liberally over the top (which is the fig side) of the cake then cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes. Repeat brushing the glaze over the cake at least one more time (or two more times!).
You can serve right away with whipped cream, or wrap the cake in plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.