Fig and ginger cake
makes / 1 cake
5 dried figs, stems removed and quartered
125g plain flour
25g (¼ cup) almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra, for greasing
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
70g ginger pieces from the ginger syrup, finely chopped, see below ½ tbsp honey
1 tbsp dark rum
200g caster sugar
200g fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Make the ginger syrup:
1. Cut a piece of baking paper to match the size of a large, heavy saucepan’s lid. Make a little hole in the middle, forming a otoshi-buta (drop lid).
2. Combine the sugar and 400ml water in a large saucepan and simmer over a high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the ginger. Place the drop lid on the surface of the liquid. Bring it to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 20–30 minutes.
3. Once the syrup has cooled, store it in a sterilised glass jar and in a cool place or the refrigerator. It keeps for up to 3 months.
Make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 175C and grease a 21cm loaf tin.
2. In a small bowl, cover the figs with warm water. Let them soak for 30 minutes, or until they turn soft, then drain. If you are in a hurry, use hot water and soak them for at least 10–15 minutes.
3. Sift the flour, almond meal and baking powder into a bowl.
4. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy (5–8 minutes if beating by hand, 3–5 minutes if using an electric mixer). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Sift in the flour mixture and fold it in with a spatula. Once the flour is well incorporated, fold in the figs and ginger.
6. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7. While the cake bakes, combine the honey and rum in a small bowl and mix well.
8. Take the cake out of the oven. While the cake is still hot, brush the honey-rum mixture over the top. Allow the cake to cool before you serve it.