March 22, 2013 by dgarnett2013
Fig & Anise Cake: Adapted from Carole Bloom’s The Essential Baker by Kuidaore
Makes one 8-inch round cake or 9 inch bundt bake
- 290g plain white flour, plus extra for dusting the pan
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 3 Tbsp anise seeds
- 100 gm dried figs, coarsely chopped
- 2 Tbsp Armagnac (optional)
- 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the pan
- 340g caster sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- Fig or Apricot jam to glaze (optional)
Center a rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
Grease a 8 x 3-inch round cake pan or a 9 x 4 bundt pan (if using the latter, you will have a little too much batter) with a little softened unsalted butter. Dust pan with a little cake flour, shaking out any excess. Set aside.
Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Add the anise seeds and pine nuts, tossing together well. Set the bowl of dry ingredients aside.
In a small bowl, toss the chopped dried figs and Armagnac together. Set aside.
Place the softened unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the caster sugar in a gradual stream, creaming together well, stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula.
Add the eggs one at a time to the butter-and-sugar mixture, stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula. Beat until smooth. Add the vanilla bean paste and blend well.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the chopped figs (together with their soaking liquid), dividing the flour mixture into 3 parts and the figs into 2 parts, and starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for another 20 seconds.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake pan.
Use the silicone spatula to smooth and even the top. Bake for 1 hour and 15 to 25 minutes; after the first 45 minutes, cover the cake with a piece of aluminum foil if the top is browning too rapidly. The cake is done when a skewer inserted in the center emerges clean.
Remove pan from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert the pan onto the rack and leave for a few moments so the cake drops out of the pan. Remove the pan and let cake cool completely.
If desired, finish with a dusting of icing sugar, or brush on a glaze simply made by heating some sieved preserves (fig or apricot would work).