It's fig season in France, which means gorgeous fig pastries start popping up all over Paris. Fig tarts are ubiquitous in pastry shop windows, and market stalls heave with the weight of both black and green fig varieties. I love to eat them fresh with a drizzle of honey atop greek yogurt for breakfast or in salads with goat cheese for a light supper.
They also pair well with chocolate and make sublimely enticing cake decorations. For an afternoon goûter recently, I baked a dark chocolate cake with cocoa buttercream topped with ripe figs and purple pansies. The cake was a hit with my guests and seconds were requested all around. Fig season is relatively short so plan on indulging frequently. I think my next baking project will be to research home-made fig newtons!
Fig and Chocolate Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup of Dutch processed cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of caster sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp of Vanilla extract
1 cup of Buttermilk
1 cup of coffee
Set oven to 350 F or 178C. Grease and flour two 8inch cake rounds. (I like to use cocoa powder instead of flour to dust pans)
Make a cup of strong coffee and set aside.
Combine the buttermilk, oil and coffee with the dry ingredients using a whisk to blend together.
Add the eggs one a time mixing until well incorporated.
Mix in the vanilla last and pour batter into pans. Bake between 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Cool cakes in pans for about 15minutes before turning out onto cooling rack to cool completely.
400grams of unsalted butter
400 grams of icing sugar
180 grams of dark chocolate
1/2 cup of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Chop dark chocolate finely and melt using the double broiler method and set aside.
Cream butter and icing sugar using the paddle attachment. Mix until pale and fluffy about 5 minutes.
With the mixer on low add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder.
Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix until well combined and the frosting is creamy.