Roasted Fig & Almond Cake

The wind carries a chill, an edge that scents the air with a hint of sweet decay, a reminder of events soon to unfold. The sun rises later each morning, streaking the sky with bold hues of fuchsia and orange on the morning drive to work. Rain drizzles from the sky in lazy streams, the clouds both blue and weary. Autumn has arrived, unpacking her bags slowly and settling in for the next few months without fanfare.

Even though I may dismay over the end of summer and her beautiful weather, the change of the seasons has a way of breathing new life into an old rhythm. The start to a new school year, the warm embrace of the oven, and the appearance of fall fruits at the market have given the transition a gentle touch.

Last weekend, in my haste to enjoy as much fall produce asI could carry, I purchased too many figs at the market... again. While fresh, ripe figs are delicious, my personal favorite are figs that have been cooked down so the flavor concentrates and the fruit releases its sweet juices. With this in mind, I sliced my fig bounty in half, brushing the open face with honey and roasting them in the oven until they started sizzling. Half of the figs were chopped and folded into a honey sweetened almond cake batter and the rest were pressed on top in concentric circles.

This cake may be a simple one, without glaze or icing, but when the slices are topped with a honey sweetened yogurt before serving, each fig-filled forkful is a celebration of the new season.

This Roasted Fig and Almond Cake brings out the warm flavors of fall. Figs are brushed with honey and roasted to concentrate the flavor. The roasted figs are then baked into an almond cake, which is sweetened with additional honey and spiced with a touch of cinnamon. The honey caramelizes and a toasted almond flavor emerges, adding another layer of dimension to the cake's final figgy flavor. Serve with honey sweetened yogurt and a mug of warm, milky tea.

One Year Ago: Blueberry Honey Scones 
Two Years Ago: Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Calm of the Coast, & Espresso Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
Three Years Ago: Vanilla Ice Cream Cake, Honeyed Apricot Granola Bars, & Chocolate Banana Chip Cookies
Four Years Ago: Caramelized Leek Biscuits, Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, Cinnamon Roll Cookies, Bourbon Peach Jam, Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Scones, & Brown Butter Pear Muffins
Five Years Ago: Zucchini Bread, Lemon Blueberry Scones, 3 Milk Coconut Cake, Tomato Basil Tart, & Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread
Six Years Ago: Bittersweet Chocolate Pear Cake, Strawberry Shortcake, Brown Sugar Coconut Bubble Tea, & Cinnamon Chocolate Banana Bread

Roasted Fig & Almond Cake

Yields 9-inch cake

24 ounces (680 grams) ripe fresh figs, de-stemmed and cut in half
3/4 cup (255 grams) honey, divided
12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (112 grams) almond flour
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Place figs face up on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the figs with 1/4 cup honey. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they release juices and are fragrant. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and remaining 1/2 cup honey until uniform. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until uniform. Stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Fold in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

Roughly chop half of the roasted figs into bite-sized pieces. Fold chopped pieces into the cake batter. Pour cake batter into greased 9-inch cake pan. Top the cake batter with remaining fig halves, placing them in a circular pattern.

Bake cake for 40-45 minutes, or until cake is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Serve with honey sweetened yogurt, if desired.