Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Frances O'Neal's fig cake

How good it is to have friends who know you so well that whenever they have a chance they send you your favorite food magazines! My friends in England and Canada are very good at this! This time Fabricia who lives in Canada sent me the April issue of Gourmet magazine. Every time I receive a food magazine I read it over and over again.

I like to read when we travel. We visit my parents who live two hours away and my in-laws who live three hours away once a month and we take turns driving, but I love it when my husband offers to drive and I can catch up with my reading. Then I make a list of the recipes to be tried and keep it inside the cover of the magazine to start working on them over the next few weeks.
Each magazine of mine has a list of must-try recipes inside...

And who gets to try my recipes? My family and the small group that meets once a week here.

This fig cake featured in the magazine is from the Back Porch Restaurant and Wine on Ocracoke Island, outer banks of North Carolina. All I needed to use some homemade figs in syrup that my sister-in-law made for my brother and they gracefully shared two jars with me.

I grew up with fig trees in our backyard and I remember that I used to help my mom to clean green figs with a cloth to make preserved figs in syrup. Food memories last forever...

I want to try this same recipe with other fruits like cranberries, blueberries, strawberries and dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, dates etc.

Frances O'Neal's fig cake
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, April 2009

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup preserved figs in syrup, drained and chopped
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C) with rack in middle. Generously butter a 10 cup bundt pan (I used a tube pan).

2) Sift together flour, salt and spices.

3) Beat eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Add oil and beat 1 minute. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour.

4) Stir together baking soda and water until dissolved, then stir into batter along with vanilla, figs and nuts.

5) Pour batter into pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely in pan, about 2 hours. Garnish with confectioners sugar or serve with a cream cheese icing.

Green figs in syrup


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This sounds perfect! :) The cake looks gorgeous.

You are so lucky you can read in the car, Cris! I can't - it makes me sick!

Andrea said...

Oh how pretty! My boys love figs. I should try this for them!

Shreya said...

Looks so yum!:-) that garnish looks loverly too!

Abby said...

I love that photo of the figs! And the doily on the cake is beautiful.

My next-door neighbor has 100-plus-year-old fig trees in her yard that she CUTS DOWN EVERY YEAR because she hates them. I bet her not to so that I can make fig preserves, but she just can't stand them. Oy.

And yay for the Outer Banks! I live in N.C.

Tangled Noodle said...

How beautiful - both the cake and the green figs! I have never eaten a fresh fig before (or any kind of whole fig, for that matter). Your cakes are always my favorite. I will have to try this!

Donna-FFW said...

How gorgeous is this cake. First time to your blog.. LOVE it, so many good things here.. Nice to meet you.

Cheffie-Mom said...

YUM! YUM! YUM! Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Your cake looks stunning! I'm inspired to try making it. Wow!


littlepurpleroom said...

I have 2 jars of figs in the pantry that are almost 2 years old. I decided to do something with them and googled "1 cup figs 2c. flour recipe" and you popped up. YAY ! I'm making this cake this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out. Looks perfect for us.
Thank you.