Fig and Yoghurt Cake

This is the last recipe in my fig series this year. It’s strange because the figs from my tree have now been used up, but now the supermarkets are full of figs. This is a recipe from Ottolenghi’s website and of course as you would expect, the cake is delicious, moist and flavoursome. The star anise gives the cake that special Ottolenghi twist. Perfect for afternoon tea on autumnal sunny day, or in fact any day and any weather!

Ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar, plus 1 tsp extra
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 180g ground almonds
  • 100g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla pod or ½ tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp ground star anise
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • 12 figs

Directions

  • Heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Line the bottom and sides of a 24cm loose-based cake tin with baking parchment.
  • Put the butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl, and use a beater to work them well until they turn light and pale.
  • Beat the eggs lightly, then, with the machine on medium speed, add them gradually to the bowl, just a dribble at a time, adding more only once the previous addition is fully incorporated.
  • Once all the egg is in, mix together the almonds, flour, salt, vanilla and anise, and fold into the batter. Mix until the batter is smooth, then fold in the yogurt.
  • Pour the batter into the lined tin and level roughly with a palette knife or a spoon.
  • Cut each fig vertically into four long wedges, and arrange in circles on top of the cake, just slightly immersed in the batter.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170C/340F/gas mark 3 and continue baking until it sets – about 40-45 minutes longer. Check this by inserting a skewer in the cake: it’s done if it comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool down before taking it out of the tin and sprinkling with a teaspoon of caster sugar.

Plum and Almond Friands

 

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Friands are small French cakes which apparently are hugely popular in Australia. I get really excited when I make things which are so easy, look really impressive and taste delicious. I can’t wait to tell everyone! These cakes are divine and so quick to make, they can be on the table within the hour and eaten even faster! I’m really trying hard not to be greedy, but with such temptation, it’s very difficult! I think the plum on the top of the cake makes a great transition into autumn. It has a lovely tang in contrast to the sweetness of the cake. I also think these would make a great present, I mean who wouldn’t be thrilled to receive a box of these?

Ingredients

(From: Waitrose Summer Harvest 2015)

Makes 12

125g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

50g plain flour

115g icing sugar

75g ground almonds

4 medium egg whites

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3 large plums, stoned and cut into thick wedges

Icing sugar for dusting

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas Mark 6.
  • Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with a little butter, then line the bases with circles of baking parchment.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl and add the ground almonds. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Stir the almond extract and melted butter into the flour mixture and mix to combine.
  • Using a large metal spoon, fold a quarter of the egg whites into the flour and butter mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remainder until it is just combined.
  • Divide the mixture into the holes in the tins. Arrange the plums on the top and bake for 15-18 minutes. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar.

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