I love this time of the year when the summer gives way a little to autumn. There is something about the golden light and the warm hazy afternoons that I adore. This cake celebrates this time of the year perfectly. A light, buttery sponge base reminiscent of summer topped with lashings of tart and cool creme fraîche and seasonal figs.
September sees the introduction of fig season. Fresh figs are at their best now through to October and are in available in abundance and normally quite cheaply in supermarkets and farm shops. I managed to pick up 8 recently for £2.00 in my local shop. I thought that was pretty good value but can guarantee they will get cheaper as the season continues.
Figs don’t ripen after picking so be sure to buy your figs ripe. Choose figs that are dark in colour, plump and soft with unbroken skins. Figs are notoriously difficult to ship so for all my followers in the Mediterranean make the most of fig season whilst you can. Here in Blighty, we will never get the best figs available so pick carefully in your farm shop or local store and you will find some very tasty sumptuous and decadent spheres.
Technically a single fig is a syconium (a fleshy hollow receptacle) containing over 1,000 tiny fruits that we think of as seeds.
There are hundreds of varieties of figs ranging in colour from purplish-black to yellowish-green. Fig trees can grow 15 meters tall and rely on fig wasps for pollination. The wasps pollinate the figs as they move from tree to tree laying their eggs.
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g softened butter
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 200g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp milk
- Creme fraîche
- 2 figs cut into quarters
- Preheat oven to Gas 5/170 C and butter and line with greaseproof paper a cake tin.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the beaten eggs, flour, baking powder and milk until you have a smooth batter.
- Pour the mixture into your greased and lined tin and even the surface with a spatula.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes in your preheated oven. Check after 25 minutes. If a skewer comes out clean when it's inserted it is done. If not then put back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
- Turn onto a cooling rack and leave to fool completely.
- Once cool top your cake with as much creme fraîche as desired and decorate with fig quarters.
- Serve a slice with a pot of tea or as dessert.
- Add a dessert spoon of honey to your creme fraîche to sweeten if desired. You could also slice your sponge in half and fill with fig jam.