A hit with our guests, this fig cake is one of our winter specialties enjoyed at high tea in our Botswana camps. Not only is the cake beautifully presented, it also tastes as good as it looks. Freedom Nxele, our Botswana Premier Chef Trainer, is currently experimenting with the recipe to bring us a few new surprises. If we are lucky, we’ll get to enjoy it once again on this year’s winter menu.
Here’s what you’ll need:
225 g dried or preserved figs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup brandy or water
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons slivered almonds, chopped and toasted
1/2 cup almond paste (make your own)
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
14 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup of granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rum
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
60 g white chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
6-8 fresh figs for garnish or preserved
1. Roll almond paste into a half-inch diameter rope, cut rope into one-inch pieces.
2. Bring figs, sugar, brandy, and water to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and figs are very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Stir in chopped almonds and almond paste pieces and cool until ready to use. Grease and flour 9×5 loaf pan. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Whisk coconut milk and both extracts in measuring cup.
2. In the bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of coconut milk mixture. Mix on low until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add fig-almond mixture in chunks of various sizes. Using rubber spatula, fold until mixture is evenly distributed throughout the batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Place cake in cold oven. Adjust oven temperature to 180 C and bake for one hour. Allow to cool.
3. Bring coconut milk, honey, rum and salt to a simmer. Turn off heat and whisk in white chocolate. Add cream cheese, one tablespoon at a time, whisk until glaze is smooth and creamy. Cool for a few minutes until thickens.
4. Drizzle glaze over top of cake and allow to drip over the sides. Decorate with fresh figs, almond slivers and edible flowers.
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