I have to say, figs just don't do that much for me. I like fig newtons, but unless the cookie package is sitting open on a counter that I walk past several times a day, they aren't something that tempt me that much. I made the Dorie Greenspan upside down fig cake last year sometime, but that has been one of my least favorite recipe from Baking From My Home To Yours so far.
Chris likes figs quite a lot though, and we had several packages of dried figs in the cupboard so I was happy when I found this particular recipe. I like pecans, I like bourbon and I like bundt cakes so I figured this would be an excellent chance for figs to redeem themselves with me. I thought the cake was okay, but I know it's my personal tastes that affect my opinion on this cake and not the cake itself. The cake is moist and flavorful, so if you like figs and bourbon I say go for it.
I will warn you though that it's not exactly a quick cake to throw together though because you have to boil the figs for 35-40 minutes then let them cool to room temp before putting the cake together. Another reason I liked it though was that it keeps fairly well if you wrap it up and keep it at room temperature. I made it on the 23rd and wrapped it up for Christmas -- figs, bourbon and pecans just seemed like a good Christmas kind of cake to me
For the Cake
1 pound dried Black Mission figs, hard tips discarded
2 cups water
1/2 cup bourbon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cups pecans
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
For the icing
1 cup confectioners sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Equipment - 12-cup bundt pan
Simmer figs in water in a heavy medium saucepan, covered, until figs are tender and most of liquid is absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes. Purée in a food processor with bourbon and vanilla. Cool to warm.
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour bundt pan, knocking out excess flour.
While oven preheats, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Lightly toast pecans in a shallow baking pan in oven, 8 to 10 minutes, then cool and coarsely chop. Leave oven on.
Beat together brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in fig mixture. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated, then fold in pecans.
Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, then invert onto a plate. The cake will keep for up to 5 days if you wrap it well and keep it at room temperature.
Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl, then whisk in remaining icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cake.