A quick sun-drenched & mosquito-bitten holiday post from Skiathos, Greece where we are currently on holiday. Skiathos (where some of the movie Mamma Mia was filmed) is my father’s birthplace and I have been spending most of my summers here since I was a little girl.
There’s several pine trees dotted around the house in Xanemos, as well as a few fig trees probably planted by my grandfather well over 80 years ago. One tree in particular is so prolific that you can gather baskets full of ripe figs daily. Figs are not the type of fruit that keeps well however – they go bad almost immediately. This quick cake was thrown together as a way to use just a few of the figs (over) enthusiastically harvested by Anya. The recipe is a twist on the retro classic Pineapple upside down cake – it isn’t a ‘pretty‘ cake but what it lacks in elegance it more than makes up for in flavour.
|An embarrassment of figs.|
For the cake
100g | 7 tbsp softened unsalted butter
100g | scant 1/2 cup golden caster sugar
100g | heaping 3/4 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
2 tbsp Muscat (or dark Rum)
4-5 fresh figs (depending on size)
For the topping
60g | 4 tbsp butter
60g | 1/4 cup golden caster sugar
3 tbsp Muscat (or dark Rum)
Preheat the oven to 180C | 350F. Whisk the egg whites until you get stiff peaks then set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar together for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time and whisk until completely combined. Reduce the speed and slowly add the flower, vanilla extract and Muscat and mix until just combined.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the meringue and mix to loosen the batter. Gently fold the remaining egg whites.
Put all the ingredients for the topping in a small pot and melt over low heat. Brush the topping over the bottom and sides of the cake tin (I used a loaf tin but you can use a deep 20cm | 8 inch round cake tin). Thinly slice the figs then line the bottom (and sides if you are using a loaf tin) of your tin. Pour the batter over the figs and level.
Bake for 35-45 minutes until cake is firm on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Cool before inverting onto a plate. The cake is quite fragile so best chill for an hour before slicing.
This is heavenly on it’s own and even better with some Greek yogurt or even vanilla ice cream on the side.