Earlier elders of our family were of the opinion that baking cakes is a painstakingly strenuous procedure, and hence nobody dared to bake cakes at home. We usually devour the cakes bought from the reputed bakery in our locality, and we also had an opportunity to relish home-baked cakes on every Christmas shared by our neighbors & friends. Home-baked cakes are undeniably special & precious as it is rare to find such soft scrumptious old-fashioned Christmas cakes like dark brown fruit cake, pale yellow semolina cake, etc. even in the city’s premier bakery.
Today I have baked a cardamom flavored dark fruit cake using fresh figs caramelized in jaggery syrup and glazed with aromatic ghee. Fig cake tastes tantalizingly delicious when served with mango or strawberry ice cream.
I have prepared a guilt-free fruit cake using whole wheat flour & millet flour sweetened by banana & jaggery. In other words I baked a cake without maida (bleached flour), butter, refined sugar, and eggs, and the recipe for upside down fig cake is as below:
Ingredients for dry mixture:
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup of millet flour (I used foxtail millet flour)
- 1 and 1/4 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
Ingredients for wet mixture:
- 6 bananas (mashed into 1 and 1/2 cup of pulp)
- 3/4 cup of powdered jaggery
- 2 cardamoms (powdered)
- 1/2 cup of neutral oil (I used sunflower oil)
Ingredients for fruit glaze:
- 7 fresh figs
- 1 tbsp of ghee
- 1/4 cup of powdered jaggery
- In a food processor add bananas, powdered jaggery, cardamom powder, and oil and blend together.
- Sieve wheat flour, millet flour, baking powder & baking soda through a fine mesh.
- Add banana mixture into the flour and mix well.
- You may have to add 1/4 cup of water or milk to get the right consistency.
- Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.
- Cut figs into halves lengthwise after washing them.
- Meanwhile heat a pan with ghee in medium flame.
- Add powdered jaggery and stir until melted away.
- Now place all the halved figs (cut sides facing down) over the syrup.
- Cook them for few minutes until figs are nicely coated in the syrup and remove from heat.
- Pour the syrup into a 9″ round baking dish and arrange the figs cut sides down.
- Spoon the cake batter over the syrup slowly without disturbing the arrangement of figs.
- Place the cake dish inside the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted comes out clean and leave aside until it cools down.
- Run a knife around the cake to loosen it before inverting onto a serving plate.
- Serve warm or at room temperature along with a dollop of ice cream.
Tips & Tweaks:
- Fig cake tastes even more delicious if you pour jaggery syrup over the cake, so you can prepare the syrup in large quantity while sauteing figs & use the leftover syrup while serving.
- You may add richness to this fruit cake by sprinkling chopped nuts into the syrup or by adding finely chopped figs into the batter.
- You may add 50 ml of any fruit juice of your choice or a tsp of rose water into the syrup to enhance the flavor after removing from heat.
- You may need to adjust the quantity of banana until you get 1 and 1/2 cup of pulp and also adjust the quantity of jaggery according to the sweetness of banana.
- I have kept the baking dish on a high roasting rack mainly for the beautiful brown color and hence I had to reduce the temperature to 170 degrees Celsius after some time to prevent the cake getting cracked on its surface. But you can safely bake at 180 degrees by placing the dish on the low baking rack.