Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Olive oil sponge with figs

I love figs.  Love, love, love them!  I can type 'love' a couple more times here, but you get the idea.  I grew up with a fig tree in our backyard and I can still remember the sweetness and the juiciness of being perched in a branch, eating fresh, sun-ripened figs.  I also remember paying some very hard earned pennies for a single fig in London once, because I just simply could not resist.  

Unfortunately figs do not do to well where we live now and I have to wait until the ones from the Cape ripen and end up on our supermarket shelves.  When I get some, I usually finish the whole punnet, by myself, in the car before even reaching the end of town.  Luckily for me, it is only me and my father who share the affinity for this biblical fruit.  Hardly any takers around.

I have to admit I seldom think of anything to do with them other than eat them as is.  I have used them sliced on pizza before, but that is about it.  I always look at the recipes, bookmark them, but as mentioned before, the figs seldom make it home and alas.

However, the other day my eye caught this recipe on Phillippa Cheifitz' blog.  The post was hard for a figaholic like myself to miss, as it was titled:  'Fig, figs and more figs'. And for a change I had some figs to spare.  I love stumbling upon a recipe like this.  One that is sort of scribbled and then the revelation when it comes out of the oven.  It is a really good cake, light and not rich and just dotted with the figs for some tartness. 

We were on our way to visit a friend for a play date and this made for a perfect treat to take along.

Phillippa's blog has a few more ideas with figs and one of these days I might just try them too.  Maybe, I should start buying two punnets instead of one....

Olive oil sponge with figs 
Note:  I used a simple syrup, infused with some ginger instead of masala wine.  The original recipe called for cinnamon sugar over the top, but I used vanilla sugar instead.  
Also, taste the olive oil as a bitter oil will affect the taste of the cake.

3 eggs
¾ cup sugar
85ml olive oil
85ml masala wine 
1½ cups flour
2tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 figs quartered

Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale and fluffy.  You want to be able to write an eight with a spoon that will stay visible for a second or two.  Beat in the oil and wine/syrup.  Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt and then sift over the egg mixture.  Gently beat the flour into the egg mixture.  Pour into a 20cm cake tin, lined with baking paper and smeared with some oil.  Press the figs into the batter and bake at 190ºC for 40 minutes.  Cover the top with some baking paper after 30 minutes if it seems to brown too quickly.  Remove and let cool.  Sprinkle with the sugar and nuts.

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