In this recipe, almond cake is layered with a thick mascarpone cream and a fig-red wine reduction. A bath of red wine with orange juice and orange zest rehydrates the dried figs, and cooks down to a thick reduction for drizzling over top mascarpone cream. The light, not-too-sweet mascarpone cream balances the intense, tart figs and wine. Moist almond cake is the perfect neutral vehicle to bring it all back down to earth. This is the perfect way to finish a dinner party — or any dinner.
Here are 3 tips for how to make this red wine fig cake.
1. For the cake, start with room temperature ingredients. Cake batter recipes that use a lot of almond flour are more prone to splitting. This can happen when cold eggs and milk hit room-temperature butter, curdling it. All-purpose flour is much more forgiving and smooths things out well when this happens, which is why I included half of a cup in this recipe.
2. A note on mascarpone cream: It’s a pretty simple set of ingredients and directions, but things can go awry in two ways. One, heavy cream whips best when it’s cold, and as demonstrated above, ingredients mix together best when they are at the same temperature, so make sure both the mascarpone and heavy cream are both straight from the fridge. This topping is done just when the heavy cream and mascarpone are evenly mixed. The goal isn’t to whip a lot of air into it, so don’t over-mix or it will split! Also, spring for a good quality mascarpone; I found some cheaper varieties didn’t mix well and tended to curdle.
3. The fig topping should be thick. Just after finishing cooking, the fig topping will actually loosen up a bit, since some of the moisture will exit the figs and kind of re-hyrdate the sauce, that’s why it’s important to make sure you cook the mixture until it’s very thick — otherwise it will just seep into the mascarpone cream.
1cupSun-Maid and Orchard Choice California Dried Figsstems removed and halved
1cupdry red wine(237 milliliters)
1/2cupfresh orange juice(118 milliliters)
3thick strips orange zest
¼cupgranulated sugar(27 grams)
2tablespoonsunsaltedroasted pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cake tin and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Dust flour on the sides of the pan to prevent sticking and tap off any excess.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy.
Add in one egg and beat on medium just until incorporated. Repeat with the other egg. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat in the vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add all the flour mixture. Just before the flour is totally incorporated, with the mixer still on low, drizzle in the milk. Stop the mixer when the batter is smooth and homogenous.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth it out so it’s evenly distributed.
Bake for 28-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, the sides of the cake are pulling away from the tin, and the cake’s center springs back when pressed lightly.
Let the cake cool in its tin for about 5 minutes. Run a knife along the cake’s edges to loosen it from the sides of the tin. Gently flip the cake out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. Using the wire rack, flip the cake onto your serving plate.
Red wine fig topping
While the cake is baking and cooling, prepare the red wine fig topping. To a medium size saucepan over medium-heat, add the wine, orange juice, orange zest, sugar and a pinch of salt.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and add in the dried figs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the figs have absorbed some of the liquid and the mixture becomes thick and syrupy. Scraping the bottom of the pan should leave a clear strip that holds for a few seconds. Remove the orange zest strips.
Set figs aside to cool and thicken slightly. Cover once cooled.
Make the mascarpone cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or using a hand mixer, stir the mascarpone with the honey just to loosen it up slightly.
With the mixer running on medium speed, pour in the heavy cream. Continue whisking just until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Do not over-whisk or you will curdle the cream.
Spread the mascarpone cream all over the top of the cake. Place the figs evenly across the surface, then drizzle with any remaining red wine reduction. Scatter some chopped pistachios across the top, if desired.
Did you make this red wine fig cake? I want to see! Tag me on TikTok and Instagram @easygayoven.