Figs, red wine, chocolate, cake…need I say more? Whether you need a last minute Thanksgiving dessert, just love all of the above, or would like a new baking project, this is one of my new favorite fall desserts. And while fresh figs are in season right now (yay!) and make a beautiful cake topping, the cake actually utilizes dried figs, so no need to worry about fig season, this can be made year round.
Let’s talk figs and wine first. Dried figs can be found in the dried fruit/nut area of most grocery stores. I also came across these dried golden figs in the produce department as well. Either one works fine. The golden one has a much less figgy flavor. I preferred the brownish/black mission figs in the cake. They delivered that nostalgic Fig Newton flavor.
One of my favorite wineries, Chamisal Vineyards kindly provided me with their lovely Edna Valley Pinot Noir for recipe testing. If you are ever in the Central Coast of California (or live in a state they can ship to), check them out. Not only do they have amazing wines, the staff is also welcoming and knowledgeable, no snooty pretentiousness there. We’ve spent many an afternoon picnicking with friends and family on their patio area at the tasting room.
You can, of course, use a different Pinot Noir or other fruity red wine in this recipe. The figs soak in the wine to soften them up, and then both the wine and figs will get added to the cake. So don’t discard or drink the wine!
The cake gets mixed with the creaming method: first the butter and sugars get whisked together, then the eggs and vanilla get added in.
Whisk together the dry ingredients, making sure to sift the cocoa powder to remove any clumps.
The flour mixture will get added in alternately with the reserved wine. Then the figs get added in at the very end.
Bake until done. 40 minutes was the precise amount of time for my oven. Make sure to test cake doneness with a toothpick or small wooden skewer inserted in the middle between the inner tube and outer rim of the cake pan.
Since the cake itself has a lot of flavor, I didn’t want a frosting or glaze that would take away the focus from it. A simple drizzle of melted chocolate was all it needed.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments. Happy baking!
Fig, Red Wine and Chocolate Cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time: 30 minutes
198 g. (7 oz.) dried figs
342 g. (1 1/2 cups / 360 ml) Pinot Noir or fruity red wine
230 g. (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
114 g. (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
160 g. (3/4 cup) brown sugar, light or dark
3 large eggs, room temperature
5 g. (1 tsp.) vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
300 g. (2 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
1 g. (1 tsp.) espresso powder
4 g. (1 tsp.) baking powder
4 g. (1 tsp.) baking soda
7 g. (1 1/4 tsp.) kosher salt
12 g. (2 Tbsp.) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
12 g. (2 Tbsp.) regular unsweetened cocoa powder
84 g. (3 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate
Remove stems from figs and finely chop. Place in a medium size bowl and pour wine over them, making sure all the figs are completely immersed. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.
Once figs are done soaking, strain and reserve both the figs and wine.
Preheat oven to 400º F. Grease and flour a standard size Bundt pan.
Set up the Ankarsrum mixer with the plastic whipping bowl and the single wire whisks. Cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium high speed (5 o’clock) for 4 minutes, stopping and scraping down sides and middle tube halfway through.
Reduce speed to low (1 o’clock) and add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla bean paste. Increase speed back to medium high and beat for 1 minute.
Place the flour, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Sift the cocoa into flour mixture and whisk dry ingredients together.
Add 1/3 of flour mixture to butter mixture, mix on lowest speed (12 o’clock) until almost combined and then add 1/3 of reserved red wine, again mixing on lowest speed until almost combined. Repeat with remaining flour and red wine, alternating a 1/3 at a time, with last addition mix until fully combined. Scrape down sides and inner tube of plastic whipping bowl as needed to help thoroughly combine ingredients.
Add reserved figs and mix just until incorporated throughout batter.
Spoon batter into prepared bake pan, gently spreading down the top to create an even layer.
Bake for 40 minutes, until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the middle (middle between outer edge and inner tube of Bundt pan) comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes and then gently turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler over low heat, stirring frequently till melted. Alternately, place in a microwave safe small bowl and heat at 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until fully melted.
Using a whisk or fork, drizzle chocolate over cake. Let chocolate set before serving. Cake will keep up to 3 days, covered, at room temperature.
Yield: 1 Bundt cake
WHOLE WHEAT VERSION
-Replace all purpose flour with 283 g. (2 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour. If milling at home, a soft wheat is preferred. Spelt also works well.
-If desired, replace the granulated sugar with 86 g. (1/2 cup) Sucanat with Honey, aka honey granules.
-If desired, replace the brown sugar with 113 g. (3/4 cup) Sucanat.
-Follow instructions above.
GLUTEN FREE VERSION
-Replace all purpose flour with equal parts of a measure for measure/cup for cup gluten free flour blend.
-Follow instructions above.
-Gluten free baked goods are best when eaten the day they are made.