Autumn Fig, Yogurt & Olive Oil Cake

 This simple stir-cake is my favorite cake for late summer and fall. Using heirloom wheat or spelt gives the cake a delicately earthy flavor and is delicious with olive oil though melted butter can be substituted. The figs flavor intensifies when baked and almost tastes like fig leather.

This simple stir-cake is my favorite cake for late summer and fall. Using heirloom wheat or spelt gives the cake a delicately earthy flavor and is delicious with olive oil though melted butter can be substituted. The figs flavor intensifies when baked and almost tastes like fig leather.

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For best outcome, everything should be room temperature including eggs and yogurt before you begin.

8 servings or 12 muffins

  • 1 cup heirloom, spelt, or whole wheat  flour

  • 3/4 cup ground almonds

  • 1/2 tsp. each cinnamon and cardamom

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 3/4 to 1 cup organic sugar

  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or kefir

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp orange flower water (optional)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 basket fresh green or purple figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

  • 1/4 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts, optional

  • Sweetened crème fraîche to serve with cake (optional)

A 9-inch cast iron skillet,  cake pan with removable bottom, or standard muffin tin with paper liners

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F and line the bottom of your pan with parchment paper or put cupcake liners in cupcake tin.

  2. In a bowl to fit the dry ingredients, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt well.

  3. In a medium bowl, put the sugar, spices and lemon zest. Working with your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar to release the lemon oil. Massage until the sugar is moist and aromatic.

  4. Add the yogurt or kefir, eggs, vanilla and orange flower water to the bowl and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very well blended.

  5. Whisk in half of the dry ingredients until smooth. Now add the remaining flour and the walnuts and with a spatula, stir and fold in the remaining flour just until blended.

  6. Scrape the batter into the pan, smooth the top and place the figs on the batter gently, cut side up in a pattern. If using the muffin tins, place two or three fig halves on each filled cup.

  7. For the cake, bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack, cool. If using the cake pan, cool for 10 minutes, run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and un-mold to cool right-side up.

  8. For the muffins, bake for 18-24 minutes, testing with a toothpick at 18 minutes.

Serve cake with a little sweetened crème fraîche

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Very adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan