(Orange Cardamom Spiced Honey'd Fig Olive Oil Tea Cake - recipe in post)
I've always been good at throwing meals together - a little of this, a pinch of that, and dinner is served. With baking, however, I'm a little more cautious. I'm unsure, at times, and rely on recipes and exact measurements as my training wheels. This is where most bakers begin, until they get the hang of things. I can finally say, now, that I've begun to do just that. For this cake, I pushed off with abandon, on a mission to play with flavors and create something uniquely my own.
I'll admit that the title of my creation is a bit of a mouthful... but it is one of my proudest successes. The flavors are light, and not too sweet. The cake slightly dense, but with a delicate crumb. Every element harrmonious, yet distinct at the same time. I could've eaten the entire thing on my own, had I not been so eager to share my sweet success.
This was my second recipe using my Honey'd Fig Preserves, and I am so pleased with the results. The addition of figs to the batter reminds me of English Sticky Toffee Pudding, though less rich and dense. This cake is lighter and more delicate than the average dessert cake, and would be perfect served with a cup of tea or coffee. To sweeten it up, serve with a scoop of Honey'd Fig & Goat Cheese Ice Cream. It doesn't get much better than that!
Orange Cardamom Spiced Honey'd Fig Olive Oil Tea Cake
(Inspired by Giada's Almond Citrus Olive Oil Cake)
Makes one 9'' cake
5-6 fresh figs, thinly sliced*
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond or hazelnut flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
6 cardamom pods, seeds of
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. orange zest
2 TBSP buttermilk
1/4 cup honey'd fig preserves (click for recipe, or use store-bought fig jam)
1/2 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
*Figs are a precious summer treat, but this cake could easily be made with other seasonal fruits. Try slices of apricots, plums, nectarines, or citrus in place of the figs, and substitute an appropriate jam or preserve to match. Swap the ginger and cardamom for cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices to make this cake your own!
Preheat oven to 350f, and lightly oil a 9inch cake pan. Lay thinly sliced figs evenly over the bottom of the pan, overlapping slightly. Set aside.
Sift flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and ginger into a large bowl. Open the cardamom pods, and grind the seeds in a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or in a bowl with the back of a spoon - they don't have to be fine, just broken up. Add them to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the eggs, honey, sugar, and zest until fluffy and pale. Add the buttermilk and jam, and beat to combine. While mixing, drizzle in the olive oil - the mixture will be quite thin, but don't worry.
Fold dry ingredients into the wet, until barely moistened. Pour into prepared pan, over the top of the figs. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpic comes out just barely clean, being careful not to over-bake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for at least 30-40 minutes.
Place a plate or serving platter over the top of the pan, and invert the cake onto the plate, flipping it fig-side up. Serve drizzled with honey, or with a scoop of honey'd fig and goat cheese ice cream.