Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fig, Yoghurt and Almond Cake

I'm leaving for Berlin today! I'm really exited about this short trip. It's been ages since I've been away on holiday. But before I leave, I have another scrumptious recipe for you. Ottolenghi just never disappoints me, even when it comes to cakes. And again, it's the combination of flavors which makes this cake special - the addition of ground star anise gives it a unique taste. Also, it has wonderfully moist and dense consistency. In the original recipe, this cake comes with an extra helping of figs and yoghurt which I left out because I think this cake already is a hit on its own, but I posted it for you anyway if you feel like giving it a try.

(from: here)

200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar, plus 1 tsp extra
3 large free-range eggs
180g ground almonds
100g plain flour
½ tsp salt
Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla pod or ½ tspvanilla paste
1 tsp ground star anise
100g Greek yoghurt
12 figs

For the extra figs:

3 tbsp caster sugar
6 tbsp red wine
6 ripe figs, quartered
Greek yogurt

Heat the oven to 200C. Line the bottom and sides of a 24cm loose-based cake tin with baking parchment. Put the butter and sugar in an electric mixer bowl, and use a beater to work them well until they turn light and pale. Beat the eggs lightly, then, with the machine on medium speed, add them gradually to the bowl, just a dribble at a time, adding more only once the previous addition is fully incorporated. Once all the egg is in, mix together the almonds, flour, salt, vanilla and anise, and fold into the batter. Mix until the batter is smooth, then fold in the yogurt.

Pour the batter into the lined tin and level roughly with a palette knife or a spoon. Cut each fig vertically into four long wedges, and arrange in circles on top of the cake, just slightly immersed in the batter. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170C and continue baking until it sets - about 40-45 minutes longer. Check this by inserting a skewer in the cake: it's done if it comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool down before taking it out of the tin and sprinkling with a teaspoon of caster sugar.

You can eat the cake just as it is, but the addition of warm, syrupy figs turns it into something very special. Once the cake is cool enough, divide it into portions. Put three tablespoons of caster sugar in a medium saucepan and put on a high heat until the sugar starts to caramelise. Remove from the heat, carefully add the wine - it will spit a bit - then return to the heat and let the caramel dissolve in the wine. Add the fig quarters and quickly toss them around just to warm them up. Spoon a generous dollop of Greek yogurt over each slice of cake, plus a few warm figs and their juice.

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