Yesterday I found a fig tree down a lane way near my house and not just any fig tree. A massively lush, full of fruit, over the fence hanging fig tree. I couldn't believe my eyes! Although they weren't ready for eating, I simply adore the small underripe fruit and the dark green leaves so sneakily picked a few branches to arrange in a vase for home. I later found out the tree belongs to a friend and have been given full summer fig picking rights! Expect some figgy recipes in a few months!
Figs remind me so much of my time spent in Florence – often seen in the market, or as part of aperitivo and often seen in paintings in the Uffizzi gallery. They must be picked ripe, almost bursting, as they won't continue to ripen once they have been pulled from the tree. The honey in this recipe gives the cake a subtle sweetness and a dense crumb. Be sure to cook the cake no longer than needed as it will dry out – a few crumbs on your testing skewer is most acceptable. As well as the figs, both ripe and unripe, I adorned the cake with blackberries and new season grapes. Keep the cake refrigerated if not eating immediately, however do bring it to room temperature before serving.
MAKES 1 CAKE
100g 70% chocolate, roughly broken
125g runny honey
100g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
150ml extra virgin olive oil
100g natural yoghurt
150g self-raising flour, sifted
50g dutch-press cocoa powder, sifted
MASCARPONE AND THYME FROSTING
100g natural yoghurt
two sprigs of thyme, leaves only
150g icing sugar, sifted
Seasonal fruit eg. figs, grapes and blackberries
1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and line a 20cm baking tin.
2. Place the chocolate and honey in a heat proof bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Stir to combine. Set aside to cool briefly.
3. In a large bowl, place the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, oil and yoghurt. Whisk until smooth and well incorporated. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the flour and cocoa powder until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out nearly clean. Cool in tin for ten minutes and turn onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
5. For frosting, place mascarpone, yoghurt, thyme leaves and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until light, fluffy and thick (approximately 2-3 minutes). Spread frosting generously on cooled cake, and top with desired fruit.