Upside-Down Almond Fig Cake
This simple and delicate fig cake takes fresh figs and a buttery almond cake batter that gets turned out into a beautiful, caramelized upside-down cake. It's the perfect cake for fig lovers during peak fig season and is incredibly easy to make.
Flavor - this cake is just the right amount of sweet with a nice balance of vanilla and almond flavor. Paired with the slight earthiness from the figs and caramelized notes, it's such a wonderful flavor! Top it with a drizzle of honey for an additional sweet touch and extra floral note to the elevate the fig cake.
Texture - the ripe figs paired with the brown sugar on the bottom of the pan turn caramelized and jammy, and are nestled into the moist, yet sturdy open crumb from the almond cake. The "upside-down" side is gooey, soft, and caramelized, and the other side gets crispy and chewy.
Seasonal - this fig and almond cake is such a treat because figs have quite a short season, so you'll likely only make it a few times a year! If you're a fig lover (especially if you have fig trees) you know you'll have an abundance of figs to use up. This is a truly perfect cake to make during late summer and early fall and would be perfect with your morning coffee. It's like an upscale version of coffee cake!
This cake uses the same base as my coconut almond cake, which is a TCP favorite!
- All-purpose flour. There is standard flour to supplement the almond flour for structural purposes.
- Almond flour. I find that finely ground produces the best results.
- Baking powder.
- Unsalted butter. Used at room temperature.
- Sugars. White sugar and brown sugar. You can use either light brown or dark brown sugar.
- Large eggs. At room temperature and whisked.
- Vanilla extract.
- Fresh figs. I used Brown Turkey Figs in this recipe, but use whatever fresh figs you have! Black Mission Figs or Calimyrna Figs (green with very pink insides) are also great options.
See the recipe card for full ingredients list and quantities.
Substitutions & Variations
- Substitute the all-purpose flour for Bob's Red Mill 1-1 Gluten Free Baking Flour to make it gluten-free.
- Brown the butter and let it re-solidify to room temperature to increase the fig cake flavor exponentially!
- Brighten the cake flavor with lemon zest or orange zest (about 1 tablespoon of each, creaming it in with the butter and sugars).
- Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract if you really want to bring out the almond flavor profile.
- Bake the cake in a springform pan (cheesecake pan) rather than a standard cake pan.
How to Make This Recipe
Before beginning, trim the tip of the stems off of the figs, then slice them in half along the stem. Additionally, set the oven temperature to 350℉/180℃ and grease (I just use cooking spray) a round cake pan, lining the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
One: Sprinkle brown sugar on the bottom of the prepared pan, then place the figs cut side down in concentric circles.
Two: In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using an electric mixer), cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then drizzle in the whisked eggs.
Three: Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) then mix until almost combined.
Four: Add the almond flour and fold it in by hand with a rubber spatula.
Five: Carefully pour the almond batter over the fig layer.
Six: Spread the top of the cake to meet the edges of the pan, then bake until set and golden brown.
Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 30-minutes, then turn it out onto a plate, serving platter, or cake stand.
Hot tip! Run an offset spatula around the outside of the cake (pushing outwards into the pan) to remove any potentially stuck pieces. After flipping, tap all over the bottom of the cake pan, then lift straight up.
How to Finish the Fig Almond Cake
While I really enjoy eating the cake as is, here's some of the best flavor combinations to finish the cake:
- Top it with fresh chopped figs.
- Drizzle it with honey (this is my favorite) or a bit of maple syrup.
- Add chopped pistachios.
- Add a generous dollop of greek yogurt (sweetened with a bit of honey) to the top of this delicious cake.
- Finish it with a simple caramel sauce.
- When arranging the figs, try to keep a bit of an empty border around the edges. This allows the cake to seep down, which helps with clean removal from the pan.
- Use room temperature butter and eggs for best results and the most even bake.
- Don't over-mix the batter once the flour has been added, this can result in a gummy cake rather than a light and open crumb.
- Try not to open the oven door until the cake is ready to be checked for doneness (and carefully close the oven door if it needs more bake time). Set the cake pan down gently and cool it in an area that is not overly drafty. Some of these factors can cause the center of the cake to fall.
Are figs good for baking?
Yes! They can be used fresh, dried, or in the form of fig preserves. They stand up well to the baking process and add a delicious earthy, naturally sweet flavor to baked goods.Why did my cake sink in the center?
Because this is quite a delicate crumb, it does have the potential to sink in the center. Be sure the center of the cake is fully baked, and take care not to knock it around or let it cool in an overly drafty area. That being said, it's totally fine if it sinks a bit, as the cake will get turned out and you won't even notice!
Store the almond fig cake lightly covered with foil (allowing a bit of air in - the cake is very moist) at room temperature for two days or in the fridge for three days.
This cake does not freeze well, so I don't recommend it.
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Upside-Down Almond Fig Cake
- ▢ 1 cup all-purpose flour 120g
- ▢ 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ▢ 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- ▢ 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature (226g)
- ▢ 1/2 cup granulated sugar 100g
- ▢ 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed (100g)
- ▢ 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
- ▢ 3 large eggs room temperature, whisked
- ▢ 1 cup finely ground almond flour 100g
- ▢ 1/3 cup brown sugar 67g
- ▢ 12 fresh figs stems removed and sliced in half
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/180℃ and grease and line a 9" cake pan with a round of parchment paper.
- Remove the stems from 12 figs and slice them in half along the stem. 12 fresh figs
- Sprinkle the ⅓ cup of brown sugar evenly over the bottom of the cake pan, then add the sliced figs cut side down, starting from the center and moving outwards. ⅓ cup brown sugar
- In the bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars on medium high speed for 4 minutes until light and fluffy.1 cup unsalted butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup light brown sugar
- Scrape down the sides, then with the mixer on low, add the vanilla and slowly pour in the whisked egg whites. Increase to medium speed for 30 seconds, then scrape down the sides again.2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract, 3 large eggs
- Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost combined, then fold in the almond flour by hand with a rubber spatula until a smooth batter forms.1 cup finely ground almond flour
- Gently pour the cake batter on top of the figs and spread it to meet the edges.
- Bake the cake for 45-55 minutes until the center is no longly jiggly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then turn it out* onto a serving platter. Top the cake or slices with fresh figs and a drizzle of honey.
- Try to keep a small border in between the figs and the edges of the pan. This allows the cake to flow down the edges and helps with easy removal when you flip the cake.
- *Run an offset spatula around the outside of the cake (pushing outwards into the pan) to remove any potentially stuck pieces. After flipping, tap all over the bottom of the cake pan, then lift straight up.
- Store the cake lightly covered (leave a bit of room for air to get in) at room temperature for two days, or refrigerate covered for 3-4 days. This cake does not freeze well.
- Flavor tip! Brown the butter and allow it to re-solidify to room temperature. This creates a super flavorful cake!