Fig and ginger cake

makes / 1 cake

The Western Star - - LIFE -

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

Ginger syrup:*

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.

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