There is something about the fig that is just sultry. The short season makes them sought out, coveted and lusted after in the market. The tease of a handful of precious, perfect figs hidden between the everyday market items waiting for your eyes to spot them is exciting when they start coming into season. And when you splurge a little for them, bring them home, and then devour them its a short, passionate affair that burns out as quick as the spark drew fire.The figs won’t be there next week seducing you. There will be a wistful glance at the section stocked high with abundant important produce where the figs sat, luring you, only a few short days before. But the figs will be gone.
Fruit, sexy? That’s taboo. And yet, I can’t think of a better expatiation of our passion towards figs and the pure tantalizing pull they have over us.
Why are figs only in the market for a few weeks?
With only a few figs carefully transported back to my cabin in Maine from recent travels, I wanted to make the best use of them. Showcasing them and sharing them without deconstructing them into something else. And so, the Drunken Fig Layer Cake with Salted Honey Butter Frosting recipe came to be. I poured over cake recipes. Not wanting just a white cake, craving the light spring of a sponge cake, but the moisture of a traditional layer cake. I wanted something light like angel food cake.
A cake that danced on your tongue while classic flavors joined as you tasted the first bite.
After a while and several ideas later, I chose the base from a coconut cake, reminded of how light they are. I built from the idea of adding bourbon to keep it less sweet and more mature for the palate. I decided to brush a mix of honey and bourbon over the cooling cakes to add moisture after testing recipes.
Using a fig jam for the filling meant I wouldn’t overwhelm the bon vivant with sugary-sweet cheap promises, but make them hunt out and enjoy the classic fig flavors.
The salted honey butter frosting would be light and scarcely applied around the edges, allowing the layers and filling to peek through, just enough. The salt is meant to balance the honey and bring this full circle for the sense, slowing things down. Making each bite last as the flavors build.
The sliced figs atop, drizzled with high-quality local honey, sprinkled with salt are meant to be plucked off and savored one by one.
Whether you indulge or not is entirely up to you.
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- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg, plus 5 egg whites
- 1 cup honey, divided
- 1/2 cup bourbon, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 12 tbsp butter, room temperature
- For the filling
- 1 16 oz jar fig jam
- For the
- 16 tbsp butter, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup honey, divided
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- For Garnish
- room temperature honey
- Large flake sea salt
- fresh figs, sliced in half
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Adjust the oven racks to the middle top and the middle bottom if your oven allows. Cut sheets of parchment to line 3 cake pans. Grease the pans, add the parchment, grease the parchment and set the pans aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg and egg whites, 3/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup bourbon, and the vanilla until combined.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until combined, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Slowly add in the egg mixture on the lowest speed. Scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula again.
- Finally, in small batches, mix in the flour mixture until combined.
- Make sure everything has been combined with a few stirs with the spatula and divide evenly in the prepared cake pans.
- Meanwhile, combine the remaining honey and bourbon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to low allowing the mixture to simmer and reduce a bit for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat to cool.
- Bake, with two cakes on the top rack and one on the bottom, rotating once halfway through cook time, for 25-30 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Place the cake pans on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes before carefully turning out.
- Poke a few small holes in the cake with a toothpick and using a pastry brush, brush a bit of the honey bourbon mixture over each cake.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely before layering.
- When cooled, spread half of the fig jam evenly over one layer.
- Stack the next layer on and trim, if needed.
- Spread the remaining jam atop the second layer and top with the final layer.
- In a clean bowl in your stand mixer, whip the butter until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar 1/4 cup at a time, alternating with a bit of the honey each time. Scrape down the sides as needed through the process to ensure even mixing.
- Add the salt and whip until everything is combined, light and fluffy.
- Crumb coat your cake and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes if adding a traditional layer of frosting.
- Alternatively, crumb coat the sides of the cake and place the remainder on top, swirling and creating a divot for the sliced figs.
- Arrange the fresh figs on the cake as desired and drizzle with honey. Sprinkle a hefty pinch of large flake seas salt atop right before serving, or on each individual slice as it is cut.
- Store the Drunken Fig Layer Cake with Salted Honey Butter Frosting in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 655Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 814mgCarbohydrates: 96gFiber: 1gSugar: 68gProtein: 5g