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


  1. If I win the beater I'll whip up this very recipe, as it sounds fantastic!

  2. Merry Christmas to you and Alan. May 2012 be the best ever... Buon Natale... oh btw your photos keep getting better and better hugs to you!

  3. Hey Boo boo... First off Happy Holidays. I wish we lived near each other so I could give you a big ole hug. Second thing is I have all these ingredients in my house and I think I will go ahead and give this recipe a try.

  4. Is it really Christmas? What a great cake - olive oil makes it so moist.

  5. Oh - and I already follow Oxo on Twitter!

  6. I now follow you on Twitter too :-)

  7. I follow OXO on twitter @rusthawk.

  8. I follow you on twitter @rusthawk.

  9. i follow you on twitter (picatasi)

  10. I follow OXO on twitter (picatasi)

  11. A tasty omelette would be first for me and then cakes and cookies.

  12. If I am lucky to win the beater I'd make this, plus try tangy whipped cream= half heavy cream and half creme fraiche. I have the Ancient Grains cookbook and it's terrific.

  13. I'd whip up your Figs Lemon and Olive Oil cake - always assuming I can find some nice figs here in the land that time forgot. asthenight at gmail dot com

  14. I will make this cake topped with whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup, super D elicious ! The beater sure would come in handy.........

  15. Loved your blog Kathy and the delicious recipes...great to know that you take an interest in Indian recipes:)Merry Christmas!

  16. If I was the chosen winner of the OXO hand beater, I'd love and use the heck out of it. Whipping up creme. fluffing some cake batters, and stirring up my favorite banana bread recipe. My husband and I live on a boat, so space is limited, and electric gadgets are almost non-existent due to power constraints (I did make an exception for my little Oscar). I had an old school hand beater from the 50's that I found at a garage sale many years ago, that finally rusted out. I haven't been able to find a replacement and this looks perfect! By the way, I found your site while searching for turnip recipes. The hash is on my must do for breakfast tomorrow list. Thanks!

  17. The flavors in this are incredible. It must be such a fantastic tasting pie! I think I may whip this up with that blender!

  18. I was just reading how you can make lighter omeletes if you beat the egg whites until stiff, and then fold the egg yolks in. I'd use this to try that recipe!


  19. follow OXO on twitter



  20. follow @kathygori on twitter


    klconn7 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  21. I would use the beater to I would make a Denver Omelet

    cbstrat (at) gmail (dot) com

  22. follow oxo on twitter


    cbstrat (at) gmail (dot) com

  23. follow @kathygori on Twitter


    cbstrat (at) gmail (dot) com

  24. Meringue for a lemon meringue pie thanks



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