Fig Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Fig cake wrapped in glorious cream-cheese icing.

“The best way to work through a post-Thanksgiving food coma involves a cup of black coffee and fig layer cake.”

This was my original opening line, as I attempted to post/write this on Thanksgiving day.

“Yes, I have already had a slice. Yes, my stomach feels so full that I can not move. But, this cake- y’all- my family and I had a moment.”

That was my second line. And then- the tryptohan from the turkey kicked in, I actually did fall into a food coma, and slept for a day.

Fig cake in a dream sequence.

But now, here we are, four days later- and my mind has cleared (a bit).

The nutty, slightly salty richness of pistachios layered between sweet figs and topped off with a light layer of cream cheese frosting is remarkable. This has won top honors as my next go-to, impress-your-neighbor cake. And it should be yours too. It was easy to make, involves three simple recipes (or two, if you are like me, bribed your co-worker, and used fig preserves instead of making your own fig compote) and turns out beautifully.

My incredible photographer-brother took this for me. It was way more beautiful than mine, so it fits here.

Fig Layer Cake (This recipe was taken from one of my favorite websites, DesignSponge)

For the Fig Compote:

Sweet talk your incredibly generous co-worker into a can of fig preserves in exchange for brown butter banana bread.

If you don’t have an incredibly generous co-worker who does his own canning, you can make your own.

What You Will Need:

1 1/2 cups whole dried figs
1 1/2 cups water
the juice of one orange (about 1/3 cup)
a couple dashes of salt
2 tablespoons honey

What You Will Do:

Chop figs into small chunks, about the size of peanuts.  Cook in a saucepan with water, juice, and salt until figs are soft and water is evaporated, about 20 minutes.  Add honey and cook for a minute more.  Let cool.

For the Pistachio Olive Oil Cake:

What You Will Need:

1 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp lemon juice

What You Will Do:

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease 8×8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Place pistachios in a food processor.  Pulse them until they are the texture of small gravel (about the size of a half-pea); remove about half of the gravel-sized pieces.  Pulse the rest of the nuts until they are the texture of coarse sand.

In a bowl, combine finely ground pistachios, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Stir until well combined.  Pour mixture into an electric mixer, then add oil and milk.  Beat with an electric mixer until blended.  Add eggs and lemon juice and beat until mixed.  Stir in the coarsely ground pistachios.

Pour batter into greased pan.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown, and inserted knife comes out clean.  Let cool.

For the cream cheese frosting:

What You Will Need:

1/2 stick butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese
2 cups confectioners sugar

What You Will Do:

1/2 stick butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese
2 cups confectioners sugar

Mash ingredients together until roughly combined.  Beat with an electric mixer on high until creamy and well-combined. This method is my new favorite and guarantees really fluffy icing. I may or may not have tasted it multiple times, just to be sure.

To assemble the cake:

Make the fig compote filling first. Let it cool.

Make the pistachio-olive oil cake. Let it cool.

Make the icing. Try not to eat it.

Once the cake has cooled, slice it in half horizontally with a serated knife. Spoon your fig preserves over the bottom cake layer, smashing the figs evenly into the cake. If you made the fig compote, you can spread that evenly too. Then, put your other cake layer on top of the fig layer, and ice the whole thing generously with the cream cheese frosting. Top with sliced dried figs and extra pistachios.


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