Good news! I've joined a baking club! It's called The Cake Slice Bakers - it feels a bit like being back at school again and joining a club (though I didn't really join many, if any, clubs when I was small!) Each year, we bake our way through a chosen book and our chosen book this year is Southern Living's "The Southern Cake Book." Each month we are given a choice of four recipes to bake from. My choice this month are these Mini Fig Cakes made with buttermilk and bursting with fig jam and chopped pecans. I doubt that I would have chosen to bake a cake using figs but this is one of the many advantages of having joined this baking club as I will be baking cakes that I wouldn't have ordinarily chosen and I'm sure some will involve me coming right out of my comfort zone which I'm sure can only be a good thing!
You can find the original recipe here. The original recipe glazed the cakes with a "Vanilla Hard Sauce." I'm afraid I didn't like the sound of that so I substituted in this yoghurt glaze which I must say worked very well instead!
This recipe yielded around 19 mini cakes.
250g plain flour (I used rice flour)
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves (or about 20 whole cloves if grinding them up in a pestle and mortar)
215g vegetable or sunflower oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g fig jam (I found mine in Waitrose)
50g pecans, finely chopped
For the Glaze:
25g plain yoghurt
150g icing sugar, sieved
2-3 tablespoons of milk (more or less in order to get the right consistency)
For the Topping:
Edible rose petals or finely chopped pecans or sliced fresh figs
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Grease two loose bottom muffin pans or line muffin trays with cases.
Sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, clove powder and salt into the bowl of a free standing mixer.
Add all of the other ingredients save for the jam and pecans. Mix until well combined before adding in the jam and pecans.
Fill the muffin trays two thirds full and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. (If you are using the loose bottom muffin tins then the cakes will probably be done in 15 minutes and if using cupcake case, then they will take the full 20 minutes).
Allow the cakes to cool in their trays for 15 minutes before placing them on wire racks to cool completely.
Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the icing by simply mixing together the icing sugar and yoghurt. Whisk until the icing sugar is fully incorporated into the yoghurt and then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk to get the right consistency to drizzle over the cakes.
Once the cakes have been drizzled with the yoghurt glaze, top with edible rose petals (Waitrose to the rescue again!) or finely chopped pecans or a combination of both.
I was quite preoccupied when I made these cakes and somehow ended up using the throw in everything all together method to make these cakes. Happily, the taste and bake of the cakes were not harmed in any way. However, if you prefer you can whisk the sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves together in the bowl and then add the oil followed by the eggs one at a time, then the buttermilk, vanilla, jam and pecans.
Any unglazed cakes can be frozen and defrosted to room temperature.