For various reasons, I haven’t baked much in the latter half of this year (not as much compared to last year and earlier this year, anyway). It helps to have people to bake for, and also the time for it.
It was a colleague / work friend’s birthday on Monday, so I thought I’d bake something on Sunday and bring it in to work. I really didn’t feel like trying out a new recipe, so I thought about my tried and trusted recipes, and of course I stopped at fig cake. I don’t think I know anyone who likes dried figs as much as I do, so I kind of think of this as something I bake for myself as much as for anyone else. This is my sort of comfort food (well, I probably have a lot of other “sorts” of comfort food…)
Anyway, I brought the little cakes in to work (I’d baked them in a muffin tray, rather than as one big cake – long story – not really; I’ll explain below), and people really liked them. I had a couple of people asking for the recipe, so I figured I might as well post it here (“for posterity”, as a friend would say).
But I have to give you more of a preamble first.
Technically, I’ve only made this once before (last year), but I’ve kind of made it twice before because it’s based on a sticky date pudding recipe. I don’t remember where the sticky date pudding recipe was from, but after the success of that random baking episode, and after what could possibly be called a “stroke of inspiration” (or maybe I was just craving dried figs), I had the idea of substituting the dates for figs. I mean, I kind of just figured that they were similar enough that it’d work fine.
The sticky date pudding recipe I followed was for individual, single-serve puddings, so when I made the fig pudding/cake, I just stuck with the same plan (hence why it wasn’t just one big cake). Also, it’s kind of (physically) easier to bring in cupcakes/muffins than it is to transport a whole, intact cake. Well, that’s what I’m going with anyway.
Of course, me being me, and not wanting to be confined too tightly within the boundaries of a recipe, I tweaked it a little bit (by which I mean I added wine and allspice because I happened to have those on hand). However, I don’t think I can call it a “pudding”, even if it’s based on a pudding recipe. It’s is certainly more like a cake or muffin.
And, finally, before I proceed with the recipe, I’ve got to say that it really felt so good to bake again, and to bake something familiar. I mean, the recipe is so easy, but it’s involved enough to be satisfying. I was thinking that this could be my “signature recipe” but now that I’ve shared it around, I’m kind of just hoping that someone else will make it and bring it in to work…
- 320g dried figs, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 60g butter (+ extra to grease muffin tray)
- 200g self-raising flour (sifted)
- 100g brown sugar (or adjust, depending on how sweet the figs are, and personal taste, I suppose)
- 2 eggs, briefly whisked
- 1 tsp cinnamon & allspice (combined, not 1 tsp each)
- 8 Tbsp fortified wine (approx. – it’s ok if you go a bit over)
- Grease muffin tray. Preheat oven to 180 C (or you can do this after preparing the fig mix, like I did, because I prefer to cook at quite a leisurely pace, so turning on the oven later is not a big deal (and also saves gas))
- Put figs and wine in a saucepan with ~130mL water. Bring to the boil, and stir continuously until most of the liquid is absorbed/evaporated.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in bicarb, vanilla and spices. Stir in butter until all melted. Set aside to cool a bit (this is when I go and turn on the oven, and grease the tray, and measure the rest of the ingredients)
- Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Make a well in the centre, and add in the fig mix and two eggs. Stir gently until just combined.
- Transfer to muffin tray, and bake for ~20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
I think they’re best eaten warm (just like sticky date pudding) but room temperature is fine too.