Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Buttermilk Fig Cake

While visiting friends in Columbia, South Carolina, I found myself sitting at the bar of a Five Points local favorite coffee shop. They were screening a film, a documentary about a wonderful choir of elderly folks singing rock songs. There was a glass cake stand in front of us, with a final slice of buttermilk fig cake. The next day I was working in Five Points and went back and got that slice to share with a friend during our shift. I knew I had to recreate it.

The originial was done in a springform pan, and baked by the owner's mother. For my version, I decided to make my first bundt. Here it is:

for the cake:
2 cups flour
3 tsp apple pie spice
1/2 tsp pink himalayan salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 and 1/2 cups raw turbinado sugar
1 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
about 8 ounces fig preserves or fig butter

preheat oven to 325. butter and flour a bundt pan. in a large mixing bowl, blend dry ingredients. stir in eggs, butter, and buttermilk, blending well. stir in vanilla and fig paste. pour into prepared bundt and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. let it cool, say a prayer, and flip onto a
clean plate.

for the glaze:
1 cup raw turbinado sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tblsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp vanilla
4 tblsp butter

bring all ingredients to a boil and cook, whisking, for three minutes. poke holes into the cake with a fork before drizzling.
glaze ingredients waiting for their moment.
Since our guests who came for Easter dinner loaned us the Bundt pan, I just prepared the batter beforehand and greased the pan, poured, and popped into the oven once they arrived. I prepped the glaze by sticking all the ingredients in the pan on the stove and waited until the cake was cooling to fire it up to a boil, after we'd eaten the meal... a method which worked pretty well but I was distracted from my whisking so the texture did not come out quite right. However, I was so pleased with the way the cake came out, that didn't really phase me at all. The glaze made more than we needed. The extra is sure to be featured in many mornings' oatmeals.

This is definitely the best dessert I've ever made. A few of the recipes I saw in my research called for fresh figs, but my feelings towards figs make it hard to imagine ever having enough uneaten fresh figs to want to make something out of them- so I'll probably be bound to stick to preserves. If I make it again, I might experiment with subbing out a portion of the flour for spelt or a non-grain flour. However, this is one of those things that's not meant to be healthy, it's just meant to be good.

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