Last year (2012) one of the ladies on Masterchef baked a fig cake on an elimination round, I think what sold it for me was her home made hot custard she served with it, but I didn't get a chance to make a batch of that. Since then I have been on the lookout for some reasonable purple ripe figs to invent a similar cake....
And finally I found them... at the Eveleigh Farmers Market in Newtown, Sydney Australia, open every Saturday from 8am til 1pm and has a large range of fresh fruit stalls, about half a dozen fresh meat variety stalls, 2 flower sellers, lots of baked good from fresh breads, cakes, marshmallows, patisseries, cupcakes and of course hot food and coffee.
So I arrived home with my loot of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, of course I cannot go without flowers! And I gorgeous cake was produced and in the oven within the hour! Check it out:
Sticky Fig and Caramel Cake
Cake :150g Butter - room temp
150g Castor Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean - seeds scraped (and reserve pod)
150g Plain Flour
5 tsp Baking Powder
1/3 cup Milk
Caramel Sauce :1/4 cup Castor Sugar
1/3 cup Pure Cream
1/3 cup Honey
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
5 Large or 8 Small Fresh Purple Figs
Preheat oven at 180 degrees. Line your springform round tin (I used a 12 inch) with 2 layers of aluminium foil in the base of the tin to ensure caramel doesn't ooze out. I would also recommend a baking paper insert (a circle cut to shape to stop it sticking).
I recommend making the cake batter first, so place the butter and sugar into your mixer and cream them together until they are pale and fluffy. Next crack your eggs into the bowl and mix them in thoroughly, and then add in your scraped vanilla pod seeds, beating them together.
Finally add in your flour and milk alternatively in three additions, and mix lightly until final addition is just combined. Leave aside as you now need to make your caramel sauce to layer in the tin first.
Take your prepared tin, cut your figs all in half and arrange cut side down into the pan. Then pour the caramel sauce over the figs, covering them evenly. After your have the caramel sauce layer in, then top with the cake batter, spread it evenly covering the sauce so none of it is exposed. Then place the tin onto a baking tray, in case of any leakage in the baking. Put into the oven and bake the cake for 40-50 minutes, and test it is cooked through as different caramel consistencies and differing sizes of figs with alter the cooking time.
I served my slice of gorgeous cake with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, it went so well with the caramel.