If you are fortunate enough to have a fig tree, you will never starve. Well, at least while the figs are in season.
We eat much of our fig bounty right off the tree, along with freezing and drying several for later enjoyment. In fact, when we are all swimming, I’ll hop out of the pool to pick some figs and stuff chunks into the mouths of all the eagerly waiting males. After all that, there’s still plenty left over to play with.
This particular cake combines an upside-down style recipe with a traditional yiaourtopita (yah-oar-TOH-pee-tah), which is a Greek cake made with Greek yogurt. In the end, this gives the final product an almost steamed pudding texture that is super moist, lightly sweet, and bursting with fig flavor. The syrup that forms as the figs bake at the bottom of the cake dribbles in once the cake is flipped over. It’s just all sorts of summer goodness.
Fresh Fig & Honey Yiaourtopita (Greek Yogurt Cake) Recipe
This cake is obviously perfect for dessert, but we unabashedly enjoyed it with our morning coffee. It’s got figs and Greek yogurt, so clearly it’s breakfast food, right?
For the fig topping:
- 1/4 cup butter (regular with salt)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. Metaxa or other brandy
- 6 – 8 fresh figs (any color), stems removed, cut in half along the “equator”
For the cake:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cake flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter (regular with salt) at room temp.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup milk (whole preferred)
- 1 cup plain, full fat Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a 9 inch round cake pan, or 8 x 8 inch square pan, that is at least 2-3 inches deep put the first four ingredients for the fig topping. Mix the contents up as best as possible and place in the oven while it is warming to melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, stir everything together and place back into the oven for a few minutes until everything is bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven and place the fig halves cut side down into sugar mixture, using as many figs as can fit without being overly crowded. Set aside.
In a small bowl mix together the flours and baking powder and set aside. I measure flour by fluffing it up with a whisk first, then scooping it into the measuring cup.
In a larger bowl beat the butter until fluffy. Add each of the remaining ingredients one at a time (you can do sugar and honey together, as well as milk and yogurt), beating in between until completely mixed. Continue to beat until the mixture is very fluffy, which should take only a couple of minutes.
Gently fold the flour mixture a little at a time into the wet ingredients. Stir only until they are combined. There will likely be small lumps still, but that is fine. Overmixing will make your cake tough so don’t do it.
Gently add the cake batter to the pan with the figs. You want to be sure to get batter around each fig, but without pushing them out of place. You are going to fill your cake pan nearly to the top. If your pan is not deep enough, do not put all the batter in. (You can bake any leftover batter in a separate, smaller pan, just grease with a little butter and be sure to watch it carefully as it will likely take little time to fully bake.)
Place the cake into the oven on a rack set in the middle and bake for about 45 minutes. The top of the cake will likely have risen over the edge of the pan, but shouldn’t (hopefully!) have spilled over. The color should be brown and the surface will likely have cracked. Inserting a knife or toothpick to check if it is done will be no use. The steam from the cooking figs will keep the batter from ever getting dry, so you will have to use time and color as your cue.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool on a rack for 10 minutes. This gives the syrup on the bottom a chance to thicken a little and the cake to “solidify”. Gently loosen the sides of the cake with a thin knife or spatula. Center a heat proof platter over the top of the cake and then flip both cake pan and platter over so that the cake will drop onto the platter. Allow it to sit for a moment so that the syrup can drizzle down into the cake, then carefully remove the pan straight up, jiggling as needed to get the cake out. If any pieces of figs or cake stuck to the pan, just loosen them and fit them back into place as best as possible.
The cake should be allowed to cool to room temperature. It will taste even better if you have patience enough to wait till the next day to eat it. It freezes well, just let it come to room temperature before serving. Tastes great with morning coffee, afternoon tea, after dinner dessert, or nibbled throughout the day when no one is watching. Enjoy!