Fig Newtons make me gag. They were my only fig exposure I had as a kid, so I assumed that I hated figs. Nine years ago in Woods Hole, Massachusetts Erin Lusk neglected to tell me that the cake her mother brought – a crusted bundt with a molten honeyed-spice laced interior – was Louisiana Fig Cake. Soon after the fig cake experience I tasted my first fresh fig. It was a soft, seductive Marilyn Monroe of fruits, nothing like the crumbly dry, cloying Newton. Now I look forward to the end of summer, when baskets of ready to bust figs show up at the store. For the other 11 months, I make this cake.
Louisiana Fig Cake
The Cake does bleed oil, but when I try to substitute apple sauce it looses its winning texture. Hold it on a bed of paper towels until you’re ready to serve it.
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup peanut (or canola) oil
1-12 ounce jar of fig preserves
1 cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and oil bundt pan.
2. In a large bowl, stir together first six ingredients. In a small bowl, mix together eggs and oil, and add to the dry ingredients. Stir together with fig preserves and chopped pecans until uniform, then transfer to bundt pan. The mixture will look like wet sand, the kind you might make drip sand castles out of.
3. Bake about 1 hour, until the cake collapses in on itself. This is perfectly normal. Allow the cake to cool completely. The cake can be difficult to remove, but with gentle prying it will release itself. Simple bundt pans (NOT like the one I used) or silpat pans help in this matter.