Fig and Caramel Cake

Words: Jess Spiro

South Africa’s warm climate is ideal for growing figs, which are native to the Middle East. They grow beautifully in the summertime and you can tell if they are ripe by their skin which should be slightly soft, and have a gentle bed in its neck. They are delicious fresh, with cheese but make a perfect jam or preserve. Try them in this sticky and comforting caramel cake.

Serves: 8
Difficulty: easy
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes


175 g castor sugar
¼ C (60 ml) water
250 g fresh figs, stalks trimmed and halved


150 g plain flour
2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
½ tsp (2.5 ml) salt
175 g butter, softened
175 g castor sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
¼ C (60 ml) ground almonds

To serve

Plain, double thick yoghurt


Preheat the oven to 180 ºC and line a 24 cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper and lightly grease with butter.


Place the castor sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to medium to bring to the boil until the syrup starts to turn brown around the edges. Then, reduce the heat again to allow it to caramelise slowly.

Don’t stir the sugar at all while it’s caramelising, simply swirl the pan to colour evenly. The caramel should be a rich brown colour, not a light tan. Once ready, pour into the buttered tin; set aside and leave to cool. Once cooled, place the figs cut side down into the caramel in concentric circles.


Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. In a large bowl, or using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until combined, for about 3 minutes. Then add the eggs and the vanilla essence and slowly mix to combine. Lastly, add the flour mixture and the ground almonds and combine.

Spread the mixture over the fruit and caramel, don’t stress if the mixture may seem a little sparse– just keep working it until it covers all of the fruit and reaches the edge of the cake tin.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool on a cake rack for 5 minutes then run a knife around the edge of the tin; remove the tin and turn out onto a platter. Should any pieces of fruit stick to the greaseproof paper, use a spatula to place it back onto the cake.

To Serve

Serve warm or at room temperature with double thick yoghurt.

To find out what else is in season currently, click here for our Seasonal Fruit and Veggie Guide.

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