Friday, October 4, 2019

Lovely Bakes: Lemon Blackberry Fig Cake

Fun Fact:  I had never actually eaten figs until this summer.

Basically, I guess I've always kind of been aware that figs were 'a thing', but up until about 4 months ago, if you mentioned figs to me, I would immediately think of fig newton cookies, and the thought would stop there.

So this summer, as we were coming down to the wire on wedding planning, we were looking for pomegranates to decorate the tables for our reception, and our florist suggested we also look for figs as an alternative.  And up until the week before the wedding, I guess I never contemplated that both of these fruits actually have a season, and it wasn't July!   While I was easily able to find pomegranates at Whole Foods here in Illinois in May/ June, the week before the wedding out in Washington we visited SEVEN different markets/ grocery stores and had essentially given up all hope and were going to call it when we were at the Pike Place Market empty handed.  Then Andrew pointed out one more fruit stand across the market and we were like 'might as well just see', and they actually. had. figs. ♥♥


So up until then, I had never bought fresh figs, or ever eaten them or really been... aware they were a thing you could eat fresh as a snack?

And honestly, the ones we got for the wedding were for decoration and I didn't eat them there either!

So fast forward about a month as we're heading to Andrew's grandparents' house for Labor Day, and I'm making a cheese plate and realizing that I have a bunch of fresh figs (because I kept meaning to make this cake post and things kept coming up!  So I probably went through like 3 cartons of figs in the fridge before this actually ended up coming together!), and I was like... can figs go on a cheese plate?

Turns out, yes you can and they are delicious!

I don't know why I was ever nervous to try them, they're great!


And so by now if you're still reading, you're probably wondering when I'm going to get to talking about the cake here!

Well, it's a new favorite for me for late summer/ early fall.   The cake recipe comes from my favorite cake cookbook from Martha Stewart, Cupcakes, which is an awesome book with so many different cake recipes that easily transition between cake and cupcakes.  There are so many recipes in this book, and I've tried a ton of them and they all have turned out great.  The one for this cake is Martha's Meyer Lemon Cupcakes, and I've just poured the batter into 9" cake pans instead and let it bake a little longer than the recipe says.  

It's just so good.  The cake is a little denser than some other cakes, almost pound cake like, but not quite, and it is fresh from the lemon zest and has just the perfect amount of saltiness to keep you coming back for more.  Her recipe includes direction for making your own lemon curd for the filling, but I just bought mine in a jar from my local grocery store, and it was perfect. 


The frosting I made  came from a cooking class I took ages ago with Viking Cooking School and is a White Chocolate Buttercream frosting that I put my own spin on.   I couldn't find their recipe online to link to, but essentially what I did was take their White Chocolate buttercream, which is so smooth and light and delicious, and then took about 10 blackberries and separated the little berry pods from their cores and added the juicy berry pods to my frosting in the mixer.  It added a touch of blackberry flavor and texture to the frosting, and it turned it a lovely light lavender color!

I will also say that this has hands down been the most successful experience for me to date on frosting a cake.  Usually it ends up messy and with me getting all huffy about why the frosting is messing up the cake, and there ends up being cake chunks mixing into the frosting and its all a big lumpy mess.  This time I had some sort of epiphany as I was finishing baking the cakes.

What I ended up doing— partially on accident by the way —was taking my cake layers, leveling them with the bread knife, adding my filling and sticking that whole thing in the fridge overnight.  It was getting late, and I figured I would just let it be in the fridge overnight and I'd make the frosting the next day.

Turns out, that's a great way to do it!  Having the cakes be cold and the frosting be very workable and room temperature means that your cakes will stay solid, and it will be easy to smooth out and work your frosting.  It happened almost on accident, and I'll be doing it this way from now on!

Finally, the last step after frosting your creation is to use some fresh berries and cut figs to decorate your early fall cake!


Until Next Time, 

— The Lovely Red Fox

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