Recipe File: Fig Cake

Get kids excited about figs with this fun and rustic dessert.

Baking in the wintertime (especially in the PNW) is my jam, and I often use it as a weekend activity with the kiddos to pass the time. I recently whipped up this rustic, fruity dessert with my daughter Edie. The cake was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe, which we personalized to fit our tastes. We used fresh figs, which the recipe calls for, but don’t be afraid to try dried fruit as well, such as figs, apricots or even prunes! An addition of semi-sweet chocolate chips made the cake a pinch more exciting and, when it’s eaten still warm, the chocolate just melts in your mouth. 

Pro tip: This cake is pretty rich and a little goes a long way when you serve it. In fact, I portioned just half of it for us, while the rest was made into a care package for my daughter Layla’s teachers. They couldn’t have been more grateful, scoring us some brownie (I mean, fig) points!


Fig Cake

2 sticks (1 cup) of unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes, divided

6 small figs, halved (you can also used dried figs, apricots or plums; approximately 4 ounces)

1 ¼ cups sugar, divided

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided


2 ¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, divided

¼ teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan or Pyrex-style glass dish.

2. Toss fresh figs with ½ cup of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt and set aside. (If using dried fruit, there’s no need to add sugar.)

3. In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of flour, ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Add half of the butter (½ cup) and pulse until crumbs form. Coat your hands in flour and press dough into bottom of the pan. If it’s too soft, refrigerate for 10-15 minutes. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and then let cool for about 15 minutes.

4. Using your food processor, pulse the remaining ½ cup butter, ½ cup sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt with baking powder until combined. Add the remaining flour (1 ¼ cups), eggs, and vanilla extract, and process until smooth. Spread evenly over baked crust.

5. Top with prepared fruit and chocolate chips.

6. Bake for about 1 hour and cool for about 15 minutes.
Enjoy still warm!

Judith Rich
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