Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Figs Lemon and Olive Oil, The Perfect Cake For Whatever You're Celebrating. Plus Another OXO Giveaway!

   These are busy days. Cooking, shopping, working, cleaning, getting ready for relatives/company. No matter what holiday/holidays you may celebrate, one thing is universal. This is the time of the year when people gather. This is the time of year when people eat. A lot. Almost continuously some might say. It's a time when I'd rather be trapped on the 405 Freeway near the interchange with the 10 then in the meat aisle of the Sonoma Market, and after years of living in LA you can only imagine how I feel about freeways.

   So I've been looking for easy, simple crowd-pleaser recipes for all the big and little get-togethers that seem to come about this time of year. For instance, take yesterday. A friend said why not come over for a dinner and movie night? He made the dinner. I got dessert. It was the perfect chance to try out another recipe from Maria Specks Ancient Grains For Modern Meals a cookbook I've been finding damn handy this last month.

   Flipping through the book I came across what seemed like a perfect recipe for a casual get together. Lemon-Scented Olive Oil Cake With Plumped Figs. She had me at plumped figs. Who can resist figs this time of year? Remember all that stuff about figgy puddings? Why not a figgy cake? Huh? Why not indeed! A figgy cake is just what Maria Speck delivers with this recipe.

   I was able to start making this cake around 4:15 in the afternoon, and had it in the car on the way to our friends house by 7:00, and a lot of that time it was just cooling! Coincidentally the other great thing about this recipe is that I'll betcha that all of the ingredients are already in your kitchen. They were in mine and I'm not even talking about anything weird or exotic. I'm talking figs, and milk, and honey, and some olive oil, and a shot of Grand Marnier if you've  got it. If you don't, no worries. Orange juice works just as well. Want this delicious cake? If you've got an hour...

Fig, Lemon, and Olive Oil Cake

Here's What You'll Need:

8 oz of finely chopped and stemmed dried figs, (Turkish or Greek if you can get them) 8 oz if you don't have a scale is about 1 and 1/2 cups.

 3 Tbs of freshly squeezed orange juice
 3 Tbs of Grand Marnier (or 3 more Tbs of orange juice)
 1 and 1/2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
 3/4 tsp of baking powder
 1/4 tsp of sea salt
 1 large egg at room temperature
 1/2 cup of honey
 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
 1/2 cup of whole milk
 1 Tbs of grated lemon zest
 powdered sugar for dusting

Here's What to Do:

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
 Brush a 9  inch tart pan with a removable bottom with olive oil. Set it on a cookie sheet.
 Mix the chopped figs, orange juice, Grand Marnier, or more orange juice together in a small bowl. Let the figs sit in the juice mixture for about 20 minutes while everything else is put together.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a big bowl. Set it aside.
In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the egg until it's blended together.

 Gently whisk in the honey.

Add in the olive oil.

The milk and lemon zest.

Pour the egg mixture into the center of the dry mixture carefully.

Use a dough whisk or a rubber spatula to blend it all together until everything is just combined. You don't want to over-mix!
Drain the figs if you need to and then fold them into everything else.

Pour the batter into the tart pan evenly.

Smooth it out gently.

Bake it for about 25 to 30 minutes. Poke a toothpick into the center. When it comes out clean, you're money.
Place the tart pan on a wire rack tp cool and unmold it. (We don't show that part because it's too scary.)

   The great thing about this lemon olive oil cake is that it screams  "Holiday Dessert!" with the fragrant combo of lemons, oranges, grassy olive oil, the pungent Grand Marnier and rich figs. Mixing it is a celebration in a bowl. Add in the milk and honey and it's practically biblical! No matter what you're celebrating, it fits right in.

   Once you've got it on your plate, dust it with powdered sugar. But wait, there's more!
 Top it with some softly whipped cream. Aaaaaaand....... can do it with your brand new OXO Hand Cranked Beater!

That is if you're the lucky winner. The generous people at OXO have given me one of their great new beaters to take for a test whirl and also to share with one lucky winner.

I love this beater! It took me right back to the days of watching my grandmother whip up meringues and whipped cream, and fighting over who got to lick the beater afterward.
Look at this action, comfy in the hand.

Smoooooooth baby, smooth!

   Don't get me wrong, I love my mixer, but there is something nice about not having the roar of an electric mixer in the background when people are enjoying after dinner conversation. Or so I've heard... or rather not heard cause it's always awful loud in there.

   So  use the hand beater and don't miss a minute of the party. Cut a piece of cake, and hit it with your best shot of whipped cream.

 Pretty nifty, I'd like to see my electric mixer top that topping.
If you'd like that OXO Beater for your very own, here's what to do.

To win the beater, all you have to do is leave a comment at the bottom of this post and let me know what you'll whip up with this cool OXO Beater
For an extra entry :
Follow @OXO on Twitter
Follow @kathygori on Twitter
And let me know that you have.

   I'll be choosing the winner on Dec 30th at 12:00 noon.PST via  Because of shipping rules, winner must  be resident in the US.
 Coming up next, more holiday fa la la, when cousins and old pals from LA get together. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


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