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A Fig Cake for Fall

(recipe, Katie Hickey)

Ingredients

  1. ¾ cup ruby port (I used Muscato)
  2. 1 cup honey, divided (OR fig poaching liquid plus enough honey to equal 1 cup- this is what I did when I made it)
  3. 2 thin slices lemon
  4. ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  5. 16 to 20 fresh figs, stemmed and halved (I used Calimyrna)
  6. 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  7. ½ cup yellow cornmeal, preferably medium grind
  8. 2 tsp. baking powder
  9. ¼ tsp. salt
  10. ¼ cup sugar
  11. grated zest 1 lemon
  12. 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, at room temperature
  13. 3 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
  14. 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  15. 3½ tsp. sugar

Steps

  1. . Stir the port and ½ cup honey together in small saucepan. Add lemon slices and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat. Add figs, cover, and cook 4-6 minutes, or until figs are soft but not falling apart. Using a slotted spoon, transfer figs to a bowl. Raise the heat to medium and cook the liquid for 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened; the syrup should coat a metal spoon. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. 2. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the paper. Dust the inside of the pan with flour, tapping out the excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  3. 3. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  4. 4. In a separate bowl, add sugar and lemon zest; rub together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist. Add butter. Using a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Pour in remaining ½ cup honey, and the vanilla extract; beat for 2 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low, add dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. The batter will be fairly thick. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and jiggle the pan from side to side to even out the batter. Scatter poached figs over the top.
  5. 5. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before running a blunt knife around the edges and releasing the sides of the pan. Cool the cake slightly before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Drizzle slices with wine sauce.