My husband's great-grandfather Giovanni was an avid and skilled gardener. He often comes up in family conversations, especially how he had twenty bee hives, how he would check on his bees every ten days without fail, how huge his honey extractor was, and how he would ever have on hand a little bear jar of honey to gift. One legacy of him remains in the fig trees in our backyard. They were branches from his very own fig trees that my in-laws replanted and cultivated until they became full-grown trees of their own.
In years past, the fig trees have been spotty about producing figs. Granted, they aren't tended to as attentively as they could (ought?) to be. For starters, we never insulate them through the winter as is commonly recommended.
This year, however, they are producing what seems a complete bounty compared to the past. Perhaps this is due to the mild winter we had and the currently stalling fall. Whatever the reason, there are enough ripening that my husband mentioned to me this morning that I really ought to pick them. So I did.
As more than a few of the figs were verging on overripe (splitting at their ends is a telltale sign) and my toddler daughter stuck her thumb into at least one of them, I figured (pun not intended) I would bake something with them.
Surprisingly, there did not seem to be an inundation of fresh fig recipes when I searched online. Most called for throwing them into salads or on top of flatbread pizzas. Others were for tarts, which I wasn't in the going for. More often than not, a promising recipe ended up calling for dried not fresh figs (homemade fig newtons -- yum!). But, I eventually found this recipe for a simple (that is, suitable for breakfast) cake which I tweaked. Here it is:
Honey Almond Fig Cake
2 cups flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
13 tbs butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup greek yogurt
2 cups fresh figs, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 10-inch tube pan.
2. In small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and honey until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add almond extract and mix well. Add yogurt and beat until combined. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in chopped figs.
4. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. Remove cake from pan and serve.
Almond flavor -- I love almond, so could easily have upped the almond extract to 3/4 tsp. But, it came through nicely at 1/2 tsp. Most people might find more too overpowering.
Honey flavor -- I used raw, unfiltered honey. Even with 1/4 c. it came through and smelled especially delicious while baking. If I were serving for guests or as dessert, I would warm some honey and brush it on top of the cake as soon as it came out of the oven.
Fig flavor -- depends on how much you like fresh figs! My husband thought it could have used more. I thought there was just enough. We ended up agreeing that the figs could have been cut smaller. Next time I would cut each half into 6-8 pieces rather than 4-6.
Overall -- a yummy cake that is dense, not too sweet, and perfect for breakfast or a light dessert. It is hard to overcook due to all the yogurt and moisture from the figs. It made me think of this recipe (a personal favorite) as far as texture, sweetness, ease of making, as well as being an excellent base cake recipe which would pair well with numerous fruits (chopped apples or peaches or plums come to mind).