Fresh Fig Cake
People don’t typically invite former professional chefs over to dinner. I’m totally serious. That sounds funny I know, but it’s true. I have other chef friends who say the same. Honestly, it’s a thing. Truthfully, what people should know is that chefs make excellent guests because they eat everything and are extremely appreciative of not having to cook themselves. People also don’t tend to invite former chefs to fun, trendy one-off cooking classes. That one I understand a bit more. But I have a close friend who invited me. And we had a blast.
A group of four of us went to Cavallo Point Cooking School located in one of my favorite Bay Area hotels, Cavallo Point. There we joined a group of 16 others from around the area for a fun hands-on cooking class led by head chef Tony Adams. It brought me back. Years ago, in New York, I did the very same thing Tony did.
The cooking class focus that day was “Brunch” and the elaborate menu had a bounty of organic offerings from the San Francisco Bay Area. Our group made homemade pork-maple sausage, fresh mozzarella, grilled lobster tails, steak with fresh truffle sauce, and lovely individual fresh fig cakes for dessert.
The menu was fantastic, but I fell in love with the fresh fig cake. While I tend to prefer savory over sweet, this cake was simple but outstanding, especially for the fig lover in me. Chef Tony included this lovely little cake for both its seasonality and simplicity. He also plugged its reliability. A “foolproof dessert“, something every home cook needs in their dessert arsenal.
Hands down, the fresh fig cake was our favorite dish that day, and so I promised my friends I would blog about it. This is Tony’s recipe, almost verbatim, I have not changed much, although I use a few more fresh figs than he did. Chef Tony served his cake with homemade whipped cream, and while that was tasty, I prefer vanilla ice cream. But either way, it’s a fantastic little seasonal cake that does not disappoint.
Recipe: Fresh Fig Cake
- For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 10-14 fresh figs, quartered
- For the Cake:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
- 1 1/3 cups whole milk
- Vanilla ice cream (optional)
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 8 standard-size ramekins, place on a baking sheet, and set aside.
- Step 2 For the Topping: In a small saucepan melt the butter and mix in the brown sugar. Divide the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins. Place several pieces of fig in each ramekin and set aside.
- Step 3 For the Cake: In a medium mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Place near your workstation.
- Step 4 In the bowl of an electric mixer, such as a KitchenAid, fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and beat well until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix in the vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture and milk alternating as you go. Mix well.
- Step 5 Pour the batter into the ramekins. Place in the oven and bake until firm or a cake tester inserted comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before inverting and serving. Top with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream.