I drink coffee all the time. At breakfast. After breakfast. In the afternoon. At night. Coffee is great on its own. But it is even better paired with foods that highlight some of its more subtle flavors. Some coffees can be complex, with individual tasting notes difficult to pinpoint. Others are more straight forward, with obvious flavor-forward profiles. When we first sampled the Colombian Huila "El Porvenir" microlot, the intense, almost berry juiciness of this coffee was immediately apparent. However, how to describe the flavors? Blackberry? Plum?
At the grocery store this week there was a huge crop of fresh Black Mission figs. I was immediately drawn to them. One of my best memories is of the fig tree in the backyard where I grew up, which, for years, produced more fruit than we could eat. Every year, we would pick pounds of figs off the tree and eat them fresh, and my dad would dry the rest and save them in big paper bags in the fridge which I would regularly dive into and consume.
So, naturally, when confronted with a beautiful display of figs at the grocery store, I couldn't help myself. I bought several and ate many on the spot, but the rest I made into this delicious cake. If you can find the figs, the rest of the recipe is pretty foolproof. I know because my four-year-old "helped" make it, and it turned out great! The flavors -- sweet caramel, figs, and orange zest -- all pair delightfully well with the our Colombian coffee and, as it turns out, were just the tasting notes I was looking for to describe this very special coffee.
3 Tbs butter
Zest and juice of half an orange
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 pint fresh figs (about 12), stems removed and halved
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs (room temperature)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat your oven to 350F. In a small bowl, melt 3 Tbs of butter in the microwave. Add in the juice of half an orange and the brown sugar. Mix it together and then pour into a 9" round cake pan. Cram as many fig halves into the pan as you can, arranging them cut side down.
Now, cream together the sugar and the two sticks of butter. When it is light in color, add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each to incorporate. Then add the sour cream.
Next mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl: orange zest, flour, baking soda, salt. Dump it into the bowl with the butter mixture and stir until combined. Pour it over your figs in the pan and smooth the top over.
Bake for 40 minutes--it's ready when the juices are bubbling around the outside of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool, then run a knife around edge of the pan and then invert it onto a plate. It should come out cleanly, et voila! Fig cake.