The second farm in The Farm Project is Ticonderoga Farms in Loudoun County, Virginia, which has been in their family for five generations. They grow figs, pumpkins, bamboo, flowers, Christmas trees, tomatoes, and other vegetables on their 1,000 acres. In addition, they raise free-range hens and sell the eggs and sell organic honey from their bee hives. They hold festivals in spring, summer, autumn, and winter celebrating each season and the things they grow. In 2011 they hosted their first Fig Lovers Feast, a celebration of the fig groves that they had planted eight years earlier which now have over 400 trees and produce enough figs to sell commercially. They grow five varieties of figs for commercial production and are experimenting with 10 other varieties. They provide figs to several high-end restaurants in Northern Virginia, including The Inn at Little Washington.
(Figs in the photo: Golden Delicious, Brown Turkey, Verte.)
The Fig Lovers Feast, September 2011.
I attended the Fig Lovers Feast as the official photographer, and in preparation for the event I brought home some of their figs and honey to test and create recipes, including this fig cake. For more fig recipes, visit the Ticonderoga Farms website.
This cake is dense and ultra moist, much like a holiday fruit cake, and like many fruit cakes taste best after resting overnight. Both the figs and the honey I used in this recipe are from Ticonderoga Farms. Their award-winning honey has a deep color and rich flavor, so I used just enough to glaze the cake. Any kind of fresh fig will work for the puree, but I think I prefer a lighter golden type of fig for the dried figs. Look for dried Calimyrna figs in your local grocery store, or if you are fortunate to have access to fresh figs, try drying them for a fun project.
- FIG PUREE
- 1 pound very ripe figs, rinsed, stems removed
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound/227 g) unsalted butter
- 2 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups fig puree
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups (360 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 5 ounces (142 g) dried figs, stems removed, chopped
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
- 1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 325° F/165° C. Set rack in the middle of the oven.
- FIG PUREE: Quarter the figs and process them in the food processor until the mixture is smooth.
- CAKE: In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it it light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well each time. Add the fig puree and vanilla extract, and mix until thoroughly combined.
- In the medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add to the fig mixture and stir gently, tossing in the chopped figs. Do not over mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, checking every 5 minutes after 1 hour has passed. When a tester comes out dry with just a few crumbs clinging, remove the pan from the oven. If the tester has no crumbs the cake will be dry.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- GLAZE: Warm the honey and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Brush the warm glaze over the warm cake, and then again after the cake has cooled.
- Allow the cake to rest overnight before serving. Store the cake in a cake keeper or on a cake stand with glass cover. The cake will stay moist for 2 to 3 days. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.
stand mixer with paddle attachment
12-cup Bundt pan, greased and floured
flour sifter or fine mesh strainer
Preparation Time includes cooling time.