Spiced fig, coffee & hazelnut cake

Spiced fig, coffee & hazelnut cake

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(4 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 25 mins plus cooling and chilling

More effort

Serves 16

This sophisticated cake is gently spiced and full of treacly flavours from dried figs and muscovado sugar, finished with a cream cheese icing

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal535
  • fat32g
  • saturates18g
  • carbs54g
  • sugars44g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.6g
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    For the sponge

    • 4 dried figs, chopped into small pieces



      Although not juicy, the fig is an incredibly luscious fruit, with a delicate aroma and sweet…

    • 75ml hot strong coffee or espresso
    • 100g blanched hazelnuts
    • 200g slightly salted butter, very soft, plus a little for greasing
    • 225g light muscovado sugar
    • 200g plain flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
      Baking powder

      Baking powder

      bay-king pow-dah

      Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tsp mixed spice
    • 50g natural yogurt
    • 4 large eggs



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition packed with protein and a…

    For the icing

    • 250g pack slightly salted butter, very soft
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
    • 400g icing sugar
    • 250g tub full-fat cream cheese
    • 6 tbsp fig jam or conserve

    To decorate

    • 10-12 figs, halved or quartered



      Although not juicy, the fig is an incredibly luscious fruit, with a delicate aroma and sweet…

    • 200g caramel (Carnation or Bon Maman work well)



      This is white, granulated sugar melted until it browns, after which it sets clear and hard when…


    1. First, make the sponge. Put the dried figs in a bowl and pour over the coffee. Leave to soak for 30 mins. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-8 mins until golden brown and aromatic. Tip 75g of the nuts into a food processor (set aside the rest for later) and leave to cool for 10 mins. Meanwhile grease the base and sides of a 20 x 30cm rectangular cake tin with butter and line with baking parchment.

    2. Whizz the cooled nuts until finely chopped. Add the soaked figs and any remaining coffee, and whizz again to a paste. Add the remaining sponge ingredients to the processor with a good pinch of salt. Blend until well combined, scraping down the sides once or twice and blending again. Scrape into your cake tin, level the surface and bake for 25 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then flip onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment and leave to cool.

    3. While the cake cools, make the icing. Put the butter, vanilla and half the sugar in a large bowl. Roughly mash together with a spatula, then blend with an electric hand whisk until smooth. Add the cream cheese and the remaining icing sugar, mash, then blend again until smooth. Split the icing into 2 batches, one for layering and a crumb coat, and one for a final coat. You can chill the icing while the cake cools, but remove it from the fridge 15 mins before using to bring back to room temperature.

    4. Now assemble the cake. Transfer the cooled cake to a chopping board. Score the sponge at 10cm intervals along the length of the cake, marking out 3 sections, 20 x 10cm each. Cut through, then stack the cakes on top of each other to check they are the same size. Trim any uneven edges, then unstack.

    5. Put 1 sponge on a cake board or plate. Spread with a little icing and 3 tbsp fig jam, keeping the jam about 1cm from the edges. Top with another sponge, more icing and jam, then sandwich with the final sponge. Use a palette knife to cover the entire cake with the remaining first batch of icing (the crumb coat) – don’t worry if it’s a little messy. Make sure you fill any gaps between the layers with icing. Once covered, chill for at least 30 mins to firm up the icing. Chill the remaining icing too, but bring it out of the fridge 10-15 mins before the cake so it is ready for spreading.

    6. Decorate the cake. Remove it from the fridge and cover with the remaining icing. Use a palette knife to create smooth edges, or leave it fairly rough, if you like. Top the cake with the figs, pointy ends up. Put the caramel in a small piping bag, snip off the corner and drizzle over the top of the cake, encouraging it down the sides (or just drizzle it over with a spoon). Roughly chop the remaining toasted nuts and scatter over the top. Serve in slices with extra figs on the side, if you like. Keep leftovers in the fridge for 3 days, but bring to room temperature before eating.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    9th Jan, 2017
    This cake is incredible. Really easy to make and utterly delicious. Its going to be a layer in our wedding cake!
    1st Nov, 2016
    I enjoy baking and thought this cake looked amazing. It is amazing. Baked it for a sunday lunch treat pud and it went down a storm... used figs from a Christmas mix that were soaked in brandy so only added a little coffee- came out a treat! Will make again, its good alternative for people who don't like Christmas cake.
    3rd Feb, 2016
    At what point do I put in the flour?? Step 1 says make the sponge but I don't see instructions for that part?! Please help
    30th Oct, 2015
    This cake is delish! I made it in a round 20cm cake tin instead and just split it into two layers not three - it's stands up to be just over an inch if done like this so not as tall. I also didn't put the jam in the icing - still lush. And forgot the good pinch of salt altogether in the sponge mix but was still really nice. Will make it in the above shape next time. Nom nom
    21st Sep, 2015
    This cake was a hit - although not very portable! I had to shorten it by a few inches to fit into the tallest container that I have (without the figs on top). The recipe is a little bit stop and start especially at the end when you need to refrigerate to harden up the icing. I would suggest being a little bit more generous than described with the icing in the layers, you need to put in quite a lot to get it looking like the picture. I didn't notice that fig jam was required in the recipe so just made some while the cake was in the oven with dried figs, sugar, vanilla extract and a little bit of lemon juice.
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