Cake Walk

Fresh Fig Layer Cake with Caramel Icing

July 13, 2020

My Mom grew up eating fresh figs from a large, spreading fig tree that grew by her house in Southern Texas. She spoke wistfully of that tree, the cool of its shade, the scent and flavor of its fruit, and passed that fondness right down to me. I love fresh figs, the green ones, and the black ones, eaten right out of hand, or, sliced and served with prosciutto. But when I have a lot of figs, I make them into preserves, so good on toast, or, baked into this very moist cake. I’ve shared the recipe for the preserves (which make the perfect filling for my Not-Newton homemade fig bars) as well as a lovely single-layer version of the fig cake. But I also make it into this sweetie of a two-layer cake, glazed with caramel icing.


Fresh Fig Layer Cake with Caramel Icing

Fresh Fig Layer Cake with Caramel Icing


  • Ingredients for fig preserves:
  • 6 cups fresh, whole figs
  • 2 Tbsp baking soda
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 fresh lemon, seed, peel and pith removed
  • Fresh Fig Cake Ingredients
  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups fig preserves (recipe above)
  • Caramel Icing Ingredients
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup lightly-packed brown sugar (OR 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 grated cone of piloncillo sugar)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (to your taste)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups SIFTED powdered sugar


  1. Make preserves: Snip stem ends from figs and discard. Rinse trimmed figs in colander. Mix baking soda into ½ gallon cold water in a large pot. Place figs in the pot and swirl around. Drain figs in colander and rinse with fresh water. Combine figs, sugar, water and lemon in soup pot. Cook, stirring occasionalluy, over medium-low heat, until fig mixture reaches desired thickness—about 2 ½ to 3 hours. NOTE: I used a hand-held immersion blender at the end of cooking the preserves to blend any remaining pieces of lemon or fig. This recipe will use most of the preserves. Place the rest in a jar and refrigerate to mix in to yogurt or spread on toast later. The preserves will keep for one month to 6 weeks in the refrigerator; 6 months in the freezer.
  2. Make cake: Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add milk. With mixer on low, slowly add flour followed by dissolved baking soda. Beat in vanilla. Add fig preserves and beat until just blended. If using a stand mixer, be sure to scrape sides and bottom of bowl to ensure even mixing. Pour batter into two, 8 1/2 inch cake pans you have lined with parchment circles and greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes until cake layers spring back when touched in the center, and are deep golden brown. Cakes will flatten and pull away from sides of baking pans as they cool.
  3. Make Caramel Icing: In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add brown sugar and heat over low heat for 2 minutes, whisking. Stir in salt. Add cream and whisk until boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Sift in powdered sugar, whisking hard to incorporate until smooth and creamy.
  4. Assemble cake: Place bottom layer on serving plate. Pour a bit of icing on layer. Top with second layer and pour more icing over. It should spread and drip over the sides of the cake. To set, place cake in the fridge. Icing will set up quickly--you may have some left, delicious with sliced apples!

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