This is a thing of great beauty. The texture is moist like a carrot cake, but the flavour is packed with light, zesty orange, the earthy nuttiness of pecans and the gooey, malty sweetness of figs. I like to have it smeared with cream cheese and a spoonful of honey. Even better, if you manage to keep your gannet-like friends from eating every slice, this makes for perfect toast, topped with some boisterous Stilton cheese. The bundt (also known as a gugelhopf) tin you use is your choice, but I recommend one with sharply angled edges. Not only does this look impressive, but because of the sharp edges the sugars caramelize in the cake making it, not crispy, but unbelievably chewy.
Ingredients - serves 12
- 250g salted butter, at room temperature
- 400g light brown soft sugar
- Zest of 2 medium oranges
- 2 large eggs
- 300ml buttermilk
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
- 300g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 200g pecan pieces
- 200g dried figs, roughly chopped
- 23cm/9-inch non stick bundt tin, sprayed with grease spray or painted liberally with melted butter
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/Gas 3.
Place the softened butter in a mixing bowl and add the sugar and zest. Beat together until the sugar is well incorporated in the butter and it is fluffy.
Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and beat in. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and stir in until you have a smooth batter. Fold in the pecans and figs, then scoop into the prepared bundt tin.
Bake for 60–75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for a good 30 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack – this will help to create a gorgeous crust on the cake.