Sometimes, you come across food that may not adhere to the festive theme but while it lacks in one department, it makes up in another, i.e. making thorough use of the available seasonable produce.
The markets here are buzzing with boxes of fresh, ripe figs and strawberries and being the fruit lover that I am, I knew I had to get these beauties home!
Although, I have to agree, I have never been a fig – eater! It could be possible that the fruit scared me as a child with a not-so-appealing, rubber-flesh-like texture on the outside. You know how picky we can be with stuff as kids.
Cut to 2014 and you have to put up a fight with me if you’d like to separate me from this fruit!
With the exception of citrus fruits (because my love for them will never die), I now have two favourite fruits to gobble on during the winters – strawberries (Yes, strawberries in India are available from Dec – Feb! )And FIGS!
It was a random thought.
An urge to experiment.
I wanted my two favourite fruits in one.
I was warned but I had to do it anyway.
And I am so glad I did. I think whoever has said that people must listen to their hearts is probably unmistakably correct.
Because, it is from the heart that I bring to you this ridiculously moist tea cake with a golden brown crumb – like top dotted with sliced halves of figs with its nectar pooled in the centre of each half as it bakes. I call it the strawberry and Fig Buttermilk Cake.
The strawberries are left to macerate while the cake batter is being made and finally when mixed together and baked, it releases its signature candy like fruity flavour that makes up for the fact that sponge itself is basic vanilla based.
This strawberry and fig buttermilk cake is light and fruity; just something that will brighten up your gloomy winter evenings as you bite into a thick slice with a cup of warm coffee / tea and a good read!
- 200 grams raw sugar (or caster sugar)
- 200 grams strawberries, quartered.
- 4 Tbsp Milk
- ½ tsp lime juice
- 200 grams all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 200 grams salted butter (room temperature)
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 figs, each sliced into 4 slices.
- From the measured sugar, take 2 tbsp and mix with the strawberries and let it macerate at room temperature while you make the cake batter.
- In a clean metal bowl, mix together the milk and lime juice and let it sit for about 10 minutes while the cake batter is being made. This makes the buttermilk.
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
- Grease an 8” cake tin and place a circle of parchment paper at the base of the tin.
- Sift together the flour and baking powder in a bowl and keep it aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric hand beater or stand mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
- Add in the eggs one at a time beating on low speed between each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- Add the buttermilk that has been standing for 10 minutes into the batter and mix well until well incorporated.
- Add the flour and using a spatula or a metal spoon, fold the flour into the batter to avoid losing any air created.
- Once the batter is devoid of any floury lumps, add the strawberries and mix well.
- Pour into the prepared cake tin and place the fig slices on the top of the batter. Make sure that you press the slices slightly into the batter. This will make sure that the figs stay in place once the cake has been baked.
- Bake in a 170 degrees Celsius oven for 45 – 55 minutes or until a skewer entered in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Take it out of the oven. Let it sit for about 15 – 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let the cake cool for about 1 -2 hours before cutting into it.