I’ve started to write a list of recipes to post that I use time and time again, that are family favourites, great for entertaining, simple to pull together and some that are stored ready for autumn-winter including chutneys for cheese boards and to accompany those cosy comforting curries. This will also help me for quick reference! And stop me hunting through notebooks looking for a recipe, which is exactly what I done with this Ottolenghi recipe, I hadn’t written any details in my reference book I looked through cookbooks then I eventually found it scribbled amongst recipes that are ready to go on my blog! So after no further ado I’ve baked it and sat straight down to write it up!
This cake is everything I want a cake to be, it’s laid back, rustic, serves as an anytime cake but its also great for entertaining when accompanied by a side of figs cooked in red wine and it’s simple to bake and of course it’s delicious. Figs are perfectly paired with almonds and star anise, what’s not to love!
It makes a good size cake for 8- 10 servings. Today I tried scaling it down to make a slightly smaller one and it worked perfectly although I’m not giving you that recipe in case it doesn’t work for you but I can say with the help of a pen and paper I cut it down by a third. Below is the original recipe.
Please make sure you read through the recipe before you start to take note that the oven is turned down after 15 minutes of cooking!!! I can’t stress enough how important it is to read through a complete recipe before you start!! Set timers, make notes anything to help you remember, I’ve made the mistake of getting distracted and forgetting to turn an oven down! When I’m baking I really don’t move far from the kitchen, all ovens are different so keep an eye on what you’ve lovingly spent time preparing.
Just one more thing if you can’t get ground star anise or you haven’t got a spice grinder swap for cinnamon it will still be delicious.
You will need:
- 200g unsalted butter ~ room temperature
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 180g ground almonds
- 100g plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste
- 1 tsp ground star anise
- 100g Greek yoghurt
- 12 figs
If you want to make the side of figs in red wine
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 6 tbsp red wine
- 6 ripe figs quartered
Greek yoghurt to serve.
Heat oven to 200c/ 180 fan/ gas mark 6
Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 24cm loose-based cake tin with baking parchment.
Put the butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl and using a beater to mix them until light, fluffy and pale. Beat the eggs lightly, then, with the machine running on medium speed add them gradually to the bowl only adding more once the previous addition is completely incorporated. Take your time with this bit.
Once all the egg is in, mix together the ground almonds, flour, salt, ground star anise and vanilla and fold it into the batter. Mix until the batter is smooth then fold in the yoghurt.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level roughly with a pallet knife or spoon. Cut each fig vertically into four wedges and arrange in circles on top of the cake, slightly immersed in the batter.
Bake for 15 minutes, then REDUCE the oven to 170c/ 150 fan/ gas 3 and continue baking until it sets about 40-45 minutes longer. Check by inserting a skewer in the cake. It’s done if it comes out clean.
Remove cake from the oven and leave it to cool down before taking it out of the tin and sprinkling with a little caster sugar.
The cake can be eaten as it is or to turn it into something very special serve with the syrupy warm figs.
Figs in red wine
Put three tablespoons of caster sugar in a medium saucepan and put on a high heat until the sugar starts to caramelise.
Remove from the heat, carefully add the red wine, it will spit a bit then return to the heat and let the caramel dissolve in the wine.
Add the fig quarters and quickly toss them around just to warm them up. Spoon a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt over each slice of cake plus a few warm figs and their juice.
I haven’t got any photos with the syrupy figs so you’ll have to trust me on this one! With the red wine figs and Greek yoghurt you have a delicious end to a supper with friends.
As always let me know if you give this recipe a go, I love to hear your feedback.