Fig and walnut cake

Serves Icon
Time 01 Hour 25 Minutes
  • 200g whole dried figs, tips removed, chopped
  • 300ml water
  • 12g bicarbonate of (baking) soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g white sugar
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 180g unsalted butter, melted plus extra to grease baking pan
  • 200g Greek yoghurt, vanilla flavour (alternatively use plain Greek yoghurt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (extract)
  • 240g 00 flour, plus 1 tablespoon to grease baking pan (alternatively use plain, all-purpose flour) – see note in step 5
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 16g Italian baking powder (such as Lievito Bertolini), sifted
  • 100g walnuts, chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • Icing (confectioners') sugar, to serve

Requires: 9-inch round baking pan and hand blender (alternatively use a blender)

How to Make It
Step 1

Preheat oven to 180°C conventional oven (400° Fahrenheit/Gas 6). Grease a 9-inch round cake pan by lightly buttering the base and sides with butter. Add a heaped tablespoon of 00 flour, then turn and shake the pan to coat the butter in flour on the sides of the baking pan.

Tip: for best results, use an Anodized Aluminum cake pan.

Step 2

Place the figs and water in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes to soften the figs. Remove the saucepan with figs from the heat. Add the bicarbonate of (baking) soda.

Step 3

Use a hand blender to blend the figs until smooth. Alternatively, use a regular blender or food processor.

Step 4

Using a stand mixer or hand beater, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. With the mixer (or hand beater) running, add the egg yolks, one at a time. Add the white and brown sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition.

Step 5

Beat in the butter, pouring a little at a time until all combined. Add one tablespoon of the Greek yoghurt at a time, continually beating until well combined, then add the vanilla essence.

Step 6

Use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour, one tablespoon at a time.

Note: 00 is a powder-fine Italian type of flour. It is made from soft wheat varieties and is frequently used in Italian desserts and pastas. 00 flour is available in most supermarkets, Italian food stores and gourmet delicatessens.

Step 7

Stir in the grated lemon zest, lemon juice and sifted baking powder. Stir in the blended fig mixture and chopped walnuts until well combined.

Step 8

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer to a serving plate.

Step 9

Once the Fig and walnut cake has completely cooled, dust with sifted icing (confectioners’) sugar before serving. Buon appetito!


This cake is delectable. Writing it out by hand first helped me appreciate the meticulous, well reasoned instructions. The only thing I altered was the amount of lemon juice and zest. I doubled it. I always prefer Meyer lemons for baking. Thanks.

Catherine Leniston
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