Tag Archives: Cakes

Old French Fig Cake

My boyfriend’s cousin Val, who recommended the banana lime cake from a previous post, also suggested that we try the Old French Fig Cake out of the same book.  She’s brought over a slice of one that she’d made and we decided that we had to give it a try to have with our morning tea.

I have to admit that I’ve never cooked with figs.  I’ve had plans to use them several times but always buy the figs and then forget about them until it’s too late and they are ridden with mold.  This time was different.  We bought some beautiful figs from the weekend market to use in the cake – the recipe calls for 225g but Val recommended that we used more so we threw in a few extra.

The dough ends up being very thick and cooks on low heat for a long time, which is typical of old fashioned cake recipes.

It’s very sweet and drier than a dessert cake, which makes it perfect for morning tea.

Old French Fig Cake Recipe adapted from Cake Bible


  • 300g (10 oz) fresh ripe figs, chopped finely or minced
  • 125g (4.4 oz) butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, lighty beaten
  • 3 2/3 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ Tsp grated lemon or orange zest
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • icing sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 150C (300F).  Lightly grease a 20cm (~8 in) cake tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

Place figs in a saucepan and simmer for 8 minutes.  Add butter and sugar and keep stirring over gentle heat until melted.  Allow to cool.

Stir egg into mixture.  Add sifted flour, baking powder, salt, zest, and vanilla extract.

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 60-90 minutes or until cake no longer sticks to a cake tester.

Dust with icing sugar.


Hummingbird Cake

We had two birthdays to celebrate this week so we decided to make an old fashioned hummingbird cake.  I was surprised that my boyfriend’s mum in Brisbane had the recipe since the first reference to hummingbird cake was in Southern Living’s February 1978 issue as a recipe sent in by Mrs. L.H. Wiggins on Greensboro, NC!  Once you try one of these sweet, tropical cakes you’ll understand why it went on to become the most requested recipe from Southern Living.  The one mystery that Mrs. Wiggins never explained in her submission to Southern Living was how the cake got it’s unusual name.

I did a little research and found that there are several theories as to why the cake is called a hummingbird cake, whichall seem pretty plausible.  I found these on associatedcontent.com:

  • This cake is so yummy that it makes you HUM with delight, or happiness when you anticipate having a slice
  • Hummingbirds drink nectar from flowers and this cake is just a sweet as a flower’s nectar
  • Hummingbirds themselves are associated with the lighthearted and sweet side of life, hence the name of this cake
  • When the cake is served, people hover around it the way hummingbirds hover around nectar bearing flowers
  • Although a cake made for people, it is a cake sweet enough to attract even hummingbirds

Regardless of where the name originated, the cake is fantastic for celebrations and very simple to make – you don’t even need a mixer until you start making the frosting!  Here’s the original recipe from Mrs. Wiggins, but I’ve noted the changes that we used since I think that the original recipe is too sweet.



  • 3  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 2  cups  sugar (we used 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 3  large eggs, beaten
  • 1  cup  vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 1  (8-ounce or 250g) can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1  cup  chopped pecans
  • 2  cups  chopped bananas


  • 2 cup (125g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces (250g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces (500g) icing (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans



Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.) Stir in vanilla, pineapple, 1 cup pecans, and bananas.

Pour batter into three greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Mix butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer until incorporated.  Then mix in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until fully incorporated.

Cake Assembly

We decided to make the cake even more tasty by adding sliced mangos and shredded coconut between each layer.  My boyfriend’s mum has tried both fresh and canned mango slices and recommends to go with the canned mango since it’s juicier.  Either way you can’t go wrong!

Spread the Icing over each layer, top with slices of mango and dust with coconut.  Then spread the remaining icing over the rest of the cake.