I recently visited a friend (Dr Joe) who added an interesting mystery ingredient to his cake (bay leaves) and was pleasantly surprised by the result. I love experimenting with food, but tend to be a more traditional baker. So I decided to dabble in the unknown and create something different in the oven inspired by Dr Joe.
Food for me needs to be appetising from the name, to the plate and finally to the tastebuds. So when we prepared a dish called Compote (a fruit concoction of stewed fruit in syrup) in class recently I wasn't too keen. To top it all off it included figs which I'm not a fan of. I love cooking by taste (also my excuse to eat from the bowl or pot), so I had to try the dish. I decided to start with the with the elusive fig glaring at me and was instantly hooked. A light bulb went off and I decided that figs need to be in my spicy cake.
I seized the opportunity this weekend to try out this new recipe bubbling in my head when I invited this friend over. He enjoyed it so much he had two slices!
Here is my take on one of the year's biggest food trends (http://www.foodabletv.com/blog/2014/1/17/foodie-flavor-figs).
Upside Down Spicy Fig cake (serves 8 to 12)
1 tin of figs in syrup (415g with syrup)
approx. 12 fresh sage leaves
400ml (220g) sifted self raising flour
5ml sifted baking powder
120g margarine (room temperature)
150ml (120g) Castor sugar
100ml full cream milk
5ml vanilla essence
1/4 vanilla pod (split open)
1 stick of cinnamon (not the entire coil, about a 5cm X 1cm piece)
1 tbsp unsweetened rose water
1 tub of sour cream
125mls icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1. Grease an empty round 23 cm springform pan
2. Line the bottom only with grease proof paper and grease again
3. Strain the tinned figs and reserve the syrup for later use
4. Half the figs lengthwise and arrange the figs in the tin as shown above
5. Wash sage leaves and pat dry with paper towel and arrange as shown above6. Add sifted self raising flour, sifted baking powder, cut up margarine (room temperature), castor sugar, eggs, full cream milk and vanilla essence to one large bowl in this order.
7. Beat with an electric beater for approximately 2 - 3 minutes on high until smooth
8. Carefully spoon mixture oven the figs and sage leaves. Take care not to disturb the arrangement.
9. Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for approximately 30 minutes and remove from oven when done
10. While the cake is baking prepare the syrup.
Add fig syrup from step 3, lemon, vanilla pod, cinnamon, clove and rose water to sauce pan and bring to the boil
Boil for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until the syrup coats a spoon
Remove from heat completely and strain to remove spices and lemon.
11. Flip cake onto serving dish
12. Gently remove all the sage leaves
13. Carefully spoon the syrup only over the cake and leave to cool.
Mix sour cream, icing sugar and vanilla essence and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before use.
Serve with a generous dollop of the sour cream .
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