Fresh Fig Yogurt Cake
for the cake:
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 3 figs mashed about 1/4 cup mashed figs
- ¾ cup plain whole Greek yogurt. at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- pinch salt
for the topping:
- 7-8 figs, halved enough to cover top of cake
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 8x8 baking pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, or bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, mashed figs, yogurt and vanilla until smooth.
- Beat in the dry ingredients until smooth.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.
- Top with halved figs (cut side up) and sprinkle with slivered almonds and then sugar.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick or thin knife inserted in the middle comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
- Cool, in pan, in wire rack. Slice.
Years ago we got a “mini” fig tree called Little Miss Figgy from a city tree giveaway. We were told it only gets to be about 5 feet tall and about as wide which was very appealing as we already had one fig tree in the yarn that was very tall and we are both too short to easily pick most of the figs.
We brought it home and planted it fairly close to the house but many more feet than necessary for growth and maneuverability. As you may guess, the tree did not top out at 5 feet but is about three times that in height and width. We have to limbo to get out the backdoor at the height of fig season. It also produces fruit twice a year–a few in June and then a ton in September. Which is great! We really focused on planting expensive or hard-to-find fruit (like figs, berries, pawpaws, and beach plums) when planning our yard but it can be a lot to keep up with.
This year we cut the tree back quite a bit in the spring but it grew bigger than ever and the figs are popping. Every time we go outside there are more figs to rescue from hungry birds.
This cake is my attempt to use up some of them. You can freeze figs but I don’t love how they defrost so I’m really trying to use them up fresh.
To maximize flavor and fig consumption I mashed figs into the batter and added a layer of them on top. This hardly made a dent in my harvest but the cake is very good. I got the idea for the almonds and sugar on top from a plum snacking cake I discovered while writing the forgotten fruit dessert book my agent was unable to sell (call me, publishers) and it was a great touch. A little crunch and caramelization make the cake feel extra special while requiring very little effort. I am not a huge nuts in baked goods person as I am sure you can tell from the thousands of nut-free recipes I’ve posted here but a little bit on top is nice and festive looking.
I really enjoy a cake that doesn’t require icing from a labor standpoint so topping it with fruit is really the way to go. Fresh figs really caramelize so nicely in the oven while retaining their color and texture. I also like the yield of an 8×8 inch cake– enough that you can have a couple of slices but not so big you need an occasion to make it.
Warning–the cake will puff up as it cooks and you may end up with a sunken fig or two, especially if you have some big, heavy figs like I do. That’s okay–that’s just part of the charm of cooking with fresh fruit.