Taking inspiration from Ottolenghi’s fig cake recipe, this easy dessert makes the most of in-season figs. Rich tender figs sinking into the beautifully browned top and soft buttery centre of this delicious cake.
Figs are one of the most delicious fruits. The only thing better than a fresh fig, is one stolen from the tree that grew in my zia’s (Italian auntie’s) garden when I was little.
The trees would be covered in nets to protect them from the birds above, but they were no match for little fingers reaching up from underneath.
This cake also reminds me of Italian apple cakes that my other auntie would make in wintertime. So if figs aren’t in season, you could try this with apples or stone fruit like plums or apricots.
The original Ottolenghi recipe uses Star Anise powder instead of Allspice which is also delicious. If you have extra figs, these can be cooked into a sugar syrup and spooned over the cake for a truly decadent dessert.
How to Make a Fig and Yoghurt Cake
Here’s what you need:
– 200g unsalted butter – chopped
– 200g caster sugar, plus 1 tsp extra
– 3 large free-range eggs
– Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla paste
– 1 tsp Orange Blossom Water*
– 180g almond meal
– 100g plain flour
– ½ tsp salt
– 1 tsp ground Allspice
– 100g Greek yoghurt
– 8-12 figs
– Greek yoghurt to serve
* Orange Blossom Water is an ingredient that may be a little harder to find, so you can make the cake without it. If you can find it, this essence adds a lovely floral note to the finished cake.
Fig & Yoghurt Cake – here’s what you do:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 200ºC. Line the bottom and sides of a 20-24cm springform cake tin with baking paper.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until they turn light and pale. This takes a few minutes and is easier if your butter is at room temperature.
3. Beat the eggs lightly, and add the vanilla and orange blossom water. Add the egg mixture in small parts, slowly, into the butter and sugar. Wait for it to combine before adding in more egg. Keep going until all the egg is mixed in.
4. Mix all the dry ingredients together – the almond meal, flour, salt, and allspice. Fold them gently into the batter. Mix until the batter is smooth, then fold in the yogurt.
5. Pour the batter into your cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula or spoon. Cut each fig in half and arrange in circles on top of the cake, just slightly immersed in the batter.
6. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170ºC and continue baking until it sets – about 40-45 minutes longer. Use a toothpick or skewer to check if the cake is done. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
7. Allow the cake to cool and sprinkle a teaspoon of caster sugar over the surface of the figs. Serve with some extra Greek yoghurt.
This cake keeps surprisingly well for a few days in an airtight container but we haven’t been able to keep it around for longer than that.
We’ve since also cooked this in a long, shallow flan tray to make a smaller teacake slice which is great for lunchboxes.
The big test was when we brought it over for lunch at our Italian auntie and uncle’s house – they asked for a second slice so we consider this the biggest sign of success.
Check out some of our other delicious recipes here:
For another classic Italian recipe, my family recipe for gnocchi
Jim’s recipe for taralli, a wonderful crunchy snack from Puglia in southern Italy
My amazingly easy and popular recipe for lemon meringue semifreddo
Jim’s more-addictive-than-smack roast potatoes
Grew up eating figs, in jam and alone, but never crossed my mind of making them into cake. But, it actually looks very good and with the touch of greek yogurt, I just know it’s going to be good. Also, never heard of Orange Blossom Water, in what type of stores could I find it?
Hi Amy. Figs are the best, aren’t they? They never used to be available fresh in the UK so we only ever had dried ones, so you’re well ahead of me with that! I think orange blossom water – similar to rose water – should be available in your local supermarket in the baking section. Otherwise, you might be able to find it online. Hope the recipe works out for you!