cakes fall recipes

spiced fig hazelnut cake

a moist hazelnut cake filled with brewed espresso, chai spice and fresh figs. this sweet and spiced cake is topped with a honey cream cheese frosting, fresh figs, honey and hazelnuts. if early autumn was a dessert, it would be this cake!

mid September. a magical micro season. as I have written in previous posts, this time of year is a favorite. each seasons blending into the other. a time when ripe summer fruit pairs perfectly with the fresh, crisp autumn crop. this spiced fig hazelnut cake draws on traditional fall flavors and textures as the foundation. the tart, floral flavor of late summer figs brings just a touch of summer brightness to the cake. enjoy the spiced cake as is, or build on to the layers of flavors with a truly luxurious honey cream cheese frosting, fresh figs and chopped hazelnuts. this cake is a truly stunning confectionary treat meant to highlight the bounty found in September.

spiced fig hazelnut cake

in a few words, this spiced fig cake is

  • sweet
  • moist
  • spiced
  • tender, yet substantial
  • filled with jammy pieces of fresh figs
  • rustic and elegant
  • topped with luscious honeyed cream cheese frosting
  • visually stunning when drenched by honey, figs and hazelnuts
  • a beautiful blend of summer and autumn

what ingredients do I need to make this cake?

this spiced fig hazelnut cake calls for a few specialized ingredients. here’s what you’ll need:

from these ingredients you will make the spiced fig hazelnut cake and the honey cream cheese frosting and toppings.

spiced fig hazelnut cake

do I need special baking tools to make this cake?

this single layer cake was developed using these preferred baking tools:

  • 9″x 3″ (23x8cm) cake pan
  • parchment paper
    • to line the cake pan for easy removal
  • stand mixer with paddle attachment
    • or hand mixer with beaters and a large bowl
    • to make the cake
  • microwave safe bowl or other way to boil water
    • to make brewed espresso
  • food scale
  • oven thermometer
    • another cheap and easy way to ensure your cake turns out perfectly
  • food thermometer
    • most cakes bake until they are 200-210F internal temperature
    • this is an easy way to double check the doneness of the cake
spiced fig hazelnut cake

what other pans can I use to make this cake?

this spiced fig hazelnut cake was developed using a 9×3″ round cake pan. however, you can also use any of the following to create a double layer or quarter sheet cake!

  • (2) 8″ or 9″ round or square cake pans : bake for 25-35 minutes 
  • (2) 9X5 loaf pans : bake for 40-50 minutes
  • (1)11X7 pan : bake for 25-35 minutes 
  • (1) 9X13 pan : bake for 25-35 minutes 
  • these times are approximate so you should look for the signs the cake is done
    • the top should be golden, with set edges pulling slightly away from the cake pan. the center of the cake should spring back with lightly pressed down and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

how much frosting is needed for a double layer or quarter sheet cake?

most two layer or quarter sheet cakes (9×13″) need about 3-4 cups of frosting to completely cover the cake. this frosting recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups. depending on the amount of frosting you want, as well as the style of cake you end up baking, you may want to double the frosting recipe.

frosting can be made in advanced and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. after this time, the frosting can be stored in an airtight and freezer proof container in the freezer for 1-2 months. make sure to thaw the frosting in the fridge and bring to room temperature before using to frost the cake.

can I swap this for that?

these are the recommended ingredients substitutes for this spiced fig hazelnut cake

  • hazelnut flour
    • almond flour is the best and easiest ingredient to replace the hazelnut flour
    • you can also make your own in a food processor
  • all purpose flour
    • use a 1:1 flour such as Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Baking Co.
    • this recipe was NOT tested using these alternative flours so use one you have baked with before and follow the package directions for the amounts
  • brewed espresso
    • really strong coffee or tea works well
  • chai spice blend
    • any “fall” baking spice blend would be nice
    • alternatively you can make a DIY version using the recipe in the notes
  • figs
    • this is a FIG cake, but you can also use apples, pears, or omit the figs altogether
  • cream cheese frosting
spiced fig hazelnut cake

tips and tricks for a great cake

  • read over the recipe FIRST
    • allow time to brew the espresso, line the pan, preheat the oven, etc.
  • use a non stick cake pan
  • bring cold ingredients to room temperature 
    • this often means bringing cold ingredients out for about an hour before using them
  • toss the chopped figs in flour 
    • this prevents the them from sinking to the bottom
  • mix the dry ingredients in to the wet by hand when possible
    • it’s harder to over mix the batter this way!
  • don’t over mix the batter
  • look for the signs the cake is done, rather than sticking strictly to the baking times
  • do not leave the cake in the pan for more than 20-25 minutes 
  • wait for the cake to cool completely before frosting
  • top the cake with honey, figs and hazelnuts right before serving
spiced fig hazelnut cake
spiced fig hazelnut cake

more cakes to try!

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spiced fig hazelnut cake

spiced fig hazelnut cake

a moist hazelnut cake filled with brewed espresso, chai spice and fresh figs. this sweet and spiced cake is topped with a honey cream cheese frosting, fresh figs, honey and hazelnuts. if early autumn was a dessert, it would be this cake!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Cooling Time 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Celebrations, Dessert
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 9X3" (23×8 cm) cake pan (see notes for other pans)
  • parchment paper
  • stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer with beaters
  • microwave safe container for preparing brewed espresso

Ingredients
  

spiced fig hazelnut cake

  • 1/3 c (79ml) brewed espresso or strong coffee
  • 1 2/3 c (200g) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c (56g) hazelnut flour see notes
  • 2-3 tsp chai spice blend see notes
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c (59ml) canola oil or other neutral baking oil
  • 1 c (200g) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c (50g) granulated sugar
  • 3 (159-171g) large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp (10ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c (79ml) milk, room temperature
  • 1 c (120g) chopped fresh figs + 2 tsp flour

honey cream cheese frosting

  • 4 tbsp (57g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 oz. (113g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2-3 tbsp (30-45ml) honey
  • 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 c (180g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbsp (15-30ml) milk, as needed
  • honey, fresh figs and hazelnuts for topping

Instructions
 

spiced fig hazelnut cake

  • Brew espresso or very strong coffee according to the package directions. Cool to room temperature before using in the cake.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (177C).
    Lightly grease and line the bottom of a 9"X3" (23×8 cm) round cake pan with parchment. Set aside.
  • Whisk the flours, baking powder, chai spice and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or electric mixer with beaters, beat together the oil and butter together until smooth and well combined.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly stream in both sugars into the oil/butter mixture untill all the sugar is added. Increase the speed to mediumm, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add eggs and vanilla extract, beating each one for about 20 seconds on medium speed before adding the next.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients, brewed espresso and milk to the wet, alternating in this order: dry, espresso, dry, milk, dry. Leave a few flour or milk streaks before adding the next .
  • Fold in the flour coated chopped figs into the cake batter.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan or pans. Smooth the top of the batter. 
  • **Baking times listed are for a 9X3" round cake pan. For other baking time ranges, see notes.
    Bake at 350 F (177C) for 45-60 minutes. Around 35-40 minutes, do the first check of the cake. The top should be golden, with set edges pulling slightly away from the cake pan. The center of the cake should spring back with lightly pressed down and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean or with a few moist crumbs. If the toothpick comes out wet or "gummy," check every 5-10 until done.
    If the top is browning too much, place a tent foil over the top for the remainder of the time. Bake an additional 5 minutes before checking for doneness again.
  • Remove the fig hazelnut cake from the oven to cool in the pan for 20-25 minutes. Gently remove the cake from the pan to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream together room temperature butter, room temperature cream cheese, honey, vanilla and salt until creamy and well combined, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stop and scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add sifted powdered sugar 1/2 c at a time, beating each addition of powdered sugar until incorporated. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl as needed.
    Beat on high until the buttercream is fully incorpated and desired consistency. If the buttercream is too thick, add 1-2 tbsp milk or heavy cream, beating until well incorporated.

Assemble Cake

  • Using an offset spatula or frosting knife to spread on top of completely cooled fig hazelnut cake.
    If serving the cake immediately after frosting, top with drizzle of honey, sliced figs and hazelnuts.
    If serving at a later time, fully wrap the unfrosted cake to store at room temperature or in the fridge. When it's time to serve, top with room temperature frosting and desired toppings.

Notes

hazelnut flour: this can be purchase at a well stocked grocery store. I use Bobs Red Mill
  • alternatively, you can process whole hazelnuts in a food processor until the consistency of fine sand. 
  • almond flour would also be a good substitute for hazelnut flour and may be more readily available. 
 
chai spice blend: this can be purchased online or at the grocery store. you can also make a big batch to use all season long. this is the blend I like to use: 
  • 3 tbsp ground ginger (16g)
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon (15g)
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice (6g)
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamon (6g)
  • 1.5 tsp ground nutmeg (3.5g)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cloves (3.5g)
  • place all ingredients in a bowl. mix well to combine
  • store in a spice jar or small mason jar
 
baking pans and times: this recipe was developed using a 9″X 3″ round cake pan. If you do not have this pan, you may use other pans to achieve a layer cake or a sheet pan cake. 
  • (2) 8″ or 9″ round cake pans : bake for 25-35 minutes 
  • (2) 8″ or 9″ square pans : bake for 25-35 minutes 
  • (2) 9X5 loaf pans : bake for 40-50 minutes
  • (1) 11X7 pan : bake for 25-35 minutes 
  • (1) 9X13 pan : bake for 25-35 minutes 
  • (1) 10 c or larger bundt cake pan : 40-50 minutes 
  • these times are approximate so you should look for the signs the cake is done.
Keyword cream cheese frosting, easy fall cake, fig and hazelnut cake, fig cake
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