Crème Fraîche

Honey & Fig Cake

 
Life is unpredictable.
It changes with the seasons.
Even your coldest winter happens for the best of reasons.
And though it feels eternal, like all you ever do is freeze,
I promise spring is coming,
and with it, brand new leaves.
— Ernest Hemingway
 

After the many months of summer heat, the fall is very much welcomed. And with cooler temperatures, crisp air, and changing colors of leaves comes all of the wonderful fall recipes! 

We are in the season of hot drinks, pies, and warm spices. I will be utilizing all of what the fall season offers and sharing many recipes with you over the next few months. 

One of my goals that I had for myself and as part of starting this blog was to challenge myself each week. Big or small, do something new or uncomfortable. One way of accomplishing this goal has been to use an uncommon ingredient or kitchen technique. Each recipe I have shared on A Common Kitchen has been somewhat of a challenge for me but a welcomed one at that. 

One ingredient that I had never used before this week was Figs. Newly discovered, I quickly fell in love with this little fruit. I first saw them at Trader Joe's a couple weeks ago and made a mental note to do some research and use them in a recipe. 

I decided to make a delicate honey butter cake that has just a hint of freshly ground nutmeg in it. This cake tastes delicious and is perfectly moist. I chose to do a single layer cake because although I am excited to bake more fall oriented recipes, I still want to keep things fairly simple and a  triple layer frosted and decorated cake isn't exactly my definition of easy...

The frosting a simple crème fraîche buttercream. I chose to use crème fraîche because as I was doing research for this recipe I noticed that it is was common to pair figs with something tangy, such as a goat cheese or cream cheese. I have used crème fraîche in a lot of previous recipes and it is one of my favorite ways to add a slight tanginess to desserts. I highly recommend using Vermont Creamery Crème Fraîche. I specifically recommend this brand because the texture of it is the same as cream cheese, making it ideal for adding to buttercream. I have tried a few different brands and have found that some are the texture and looseness of sour cream which is too thin for a buttercream. You can buy Vermont Creamery's Crème Fraîche at Whole Foods as well as most chain grocery stores

This recipe is great because it is a single layer cake. As I mentioned above, I didn't want an overly complicated recipe this week. Layer cakes are beautiful and fun to make, but they are a lot of work, therefore we have the single layer cake this week. All you do is top the single layer with the crème fraîche buttercream, figs, pistachios, and honey. That's all. Slice and serve. 

The Honey Cake is moist and has a subtle honey flavor. The Crème Fraîche Buttercream has a perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness. And the Figs on top give the cake a fresh pop of flavor and look absolutely beautiful. 

I hope you enjoyed this weeks recipe as much as I did. If you try this recipe or any other from A Common Kitchen please share your photos with me on Instagram (@acommonkitchen, #acommonkitchen) or on Pinterest. Thanks for visiting the blog this week everyone!                     

-B

 


Honey & Fig Cake


Makes an 8 Inch Cake One Layer Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • 1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour

  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg

  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk

  • 1/4 Cup Local Honey

  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

  • 8 Tablespoons Butter, softened

  • ¾ Cup White Granulated Sugar

  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature

For the Frosting

  • 12 Tablespoons Butter, softened

  • 8 Tablespoons (half of an 8 ounce tub) of Crème Fraîche, softened slightly

  • 2 Cups Powder Sugar, sifted

  • ⅛ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg

  • 1 Tablespoon Milk

  • 3 Tablespoons Local Honey

  • ⅛ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

To Top

  • ½ Pound Fresh Figs, washed, dried, cut into quarters *see note

  • ¼ Cup Roughly Chopped Pistachios or Nut of Choice (optional)

  • Local Honey for drizzle

Directions: 

For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºf. Grease, flour, and line with parchment paper a 8 inch round (2 inch deep) aluminum cake pan.

  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk together and set aside.

  3. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, honey, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4-5 minutes.

  5. Add in the eggs, on at a time, mixing for 30 seconds in between each.

  6. Stop the mixer and add in ⅓ of the dry ingredients and ½ of the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed just until combined. Add the next ⅓ of the dry ingredients and the remaining ½ of the wet ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Now add in the final ⅓ of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer on to medium speed and mix for 15-20 seconds to ensure everything is fully combined but do not over-mix. You need to alternate between the dry and wet ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry or else the cake batter may separate.

  7. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan filling it ¾'s of the way full. (If you have any extra batter just pour it into some greased ramekins and enjoy an extra mini cake like I do sometimes!)

  8. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

  9. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes and then remove the cake from the pan and transfer it to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely.

For the Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and crème fraîche on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about five minutes.

  2. Stop the mixer and add in the powdered sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Turn the speed on to the lowest setting and mix until the powdered sugar is no longer creating a powder cloud. Slowly drizzle in the milk and the honey and turn the speed to medium-high and whip for 2-3 minutes or until the frosting is no longer grainy from the powdered sugar. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix again on medium-high speed for 30 seconds to ensure everything is combined fully.

To Assemble

  1. Place the cake layer onto a cake stand or serving plate.

  2. Scoop all of the frosting into the center of the cake and use a large spoon or offset spatula to swoosh around the frosting all the way to the edges of the cake.

  3. Top with the quartered figs, chopped nuts (if using) and drizzle with a little bit honey.

  4. Enjoy!

This cake is best if eaten the day it was made but I found that if stored in a container in the refrigerator, it still tastes delicious 4-5 days after. 

Notes:

* There are three main varieties of figs; Brown Turkey, Black Mission, and Green. You can use whichever variety of figs you have access to. I used Black Mission Figs from Trader Joe's.