Figs are plentiful in the height of summer here in Sydney. I love cooking with seasonal fruit, particularly at this time of year when there are a multitude of summer fruits available. Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, pineapples and mangoes, peaches and nectarines, my absolute favourite passionfruit, and of course delicious figs.
This recipe for walnut cake is based on my almond cake recipe that I usually make with stone fruit. I have a couple of versions on this blog. This time, I used walnuts, as I was looking for a robust flavour to go with some caramelised figs. In the almond cake recipe, I use bought ground almonds, whereas in this recipe I take whole walnuts and whizz them in the food processor to make ground walnuts with some little nutty bits still remaining. This gives the cake a nice texture.
The cake is drizzled with a coffee caramel syrup, and figs which have been poached in this syrup are placed on top. I also put some fresh figs on top which worked well too. But I think the caramelised figs are nicer!
100g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
3 free range eggs
I teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 teaspoon almond essence
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons caster sugar
75mls good coffee liqueur- I used Mr Black from Botanica Distillery in NSW, a cold brew coffee liquor. Any liqueur is fine!
A few splashes of water up to 50mls to thin syrup to pouring consistency
3 figs, cut in half for poaching, or 2 or 3 fresh figs.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan forced. Grease a 20cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper.
Put the walnuts into a food processor and pulse, stopping every so often to make sure you don’t over process. You want some chunky bits as well as some fine ground walnuts. Set aside, but don’t bother washing the processor!
Combine butter and sugar in a food processor, with vanilla extract or paste and almond essence. Add the eggs one at a time and pulse well.
Fold in ground walnuts, plain flour, baking powder and salt.
Put the mixture into the springform and bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.
While the cake is baking, make the caramel.
For the coffee caramel, put the caster sugar in a small frying pan or saucepan and dissolve the sugar gently over a low heat. Don’t stir the sugar or it will crystallise! Once the sugar is dissolved, cook until it turns light brown, sort of tea coloured. Take it off the heat and add the coffee liqueur carefully, as the caramel is hot. You can add some water if the syrup is too thick. If the caramel has already turned to toffee, don’t worry. Just gently heat the caramel with the liqueur over low heat and the toffee will dissolve.
Put 6 of the fig halves into the coffee syrup and poach for a couple of minutes over a low heat until the figs are slightly softened.
Once the cake is out of the oven, and while it is still hot, pierce the top a few times with a skewer and pour a few teaspoonfuls of the syrup over the cake.
Serve the cake with the poached figs on top, with a little more syrup drizzled over the figs, and Greek yoghurt or whipped cream or creme fraiche. Or decorate the cake with the plain figs, or a combination of poached and fresh, and a little of the syrup and yoghurt or cream. Either way it’s delicious!