Those early nights are slowly starting to creep in; the temperatures are slowing declining. T-shirts have been stowed away, and chunky-knit jumpers are making a gradual arrival. I know it might seem a bit dramatic, but I really do adore Autumn and everything the season has to offer. Whilst I’m on the subject, someone called me dramatic the other day. It was by no means the first time and I am sure it won’t be the last, but I took it as a compliment and I think it was meant as one. People often make a fuss when you make a big deal over something trivial but, when it comes to the things we love the most, I see no reason we cannot stretch that little bit further. This is exactly how I feel when it comes to Autumn.
I am aware that I posted a spiced apple cake not too long ago but, for me, Autumn means—amongst other things—using copious amounts of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise in practically everything I make. I mean, I’m even tempted to try Nigella Lawson’s cinnamon prawn recipe!
Anyway… I developed this recipe as a result of a impulse buy on my fiancé’s part. Aldi had ‘ready to eat’ figs on offer (four for less than a pound!) and he had decided we needed three packs. Along with the figs cam the question: “Ryan, what can you do with these? I love figs.”
Now, I’m sure I could have come up with something savoury but my sweet tooth was on top form at the time and I just could not resist pairing the ripe figs with two of my favourite Autumn flavours: cinnamon, and star anise.
And so, this is what I came up with: my caramelised fig and cinnamon cake.
Of course, no autumnal upside down cake would be complete without a salty, sweet caramel sauce to pair it with so there’s a recipe for that too! Give it a try, the weather is perfect for it (and you know we love to talk about the weather!)
Caramelised Fig and Cinnamon Cake
For the cake:
- 6 figs ripe
- 200 g butter softened
- 200 g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 200 g plain flour sifted
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon ground
- ½ tsp. star anise ground
For the salted caramel sauce:
- 150 ml double cream
- 40 g butter
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. coarse salt
- Preheat the oven to 190° then grease and line a 9” round tin with butter and baking parchment.
- Cut the figs into half and place cut-side down in the base of the cake tin.
- In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale.
- Next, add you eggs one at a time—beating between the addition of each egg to avoid splitting. Beat the mixture for 2-3 minutes to incorporate plenty of air.
- Sift in your flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and star anise, and fold until combined. The mix should be dropping consistency—this means that, if you take a scoop of batter on a wooden spoon, it should fall off without needing to really shake the spoon. It should also leave a ‘V’ shape in the batter left on the spoon.
- Pour the batter over the figs in your cake tin and tap lightly on the work surface to help the cake get in between all the halved figs.
- Bake on the middle shelf for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer pierced in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Turn the cake out (upside down, so the figs are on top) and leave to fully cool on a wire rack.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add your cream, butter, and sugar and mix together until combined, before placing on a medium-high heat.
- This bit is important: do not stir your sauce! Swirl the saucepan and allow to bubble away until the sauce thicken to a gooey, caramel consistency (about 4-5 minutes). This will ensure a smooth sauce with no crystallisation.
- Take the pan off the heat, sprinkle in salt, and decant your sauce into a serving jug (or spoon directly over your cooled cake!)
- I like to serve this cake warm, with either double cream or cinnamon-flavour ice cream. Go ahead, try it!