I improvised a cake today and, by God, it was delicious. This little triumph was much celebrated this afternoon by the whole family with a lovely cup of tea. Inspired by my neighbor’s ripe fig tree and my love of everyday cakes, this recipe highlights a nutty quality thanks to the addition of browned butter. Two of my favorite everyday cakes are Molly Wizenberg’s Raspberry Ricotta Cake and Sally Schneider’s Brown Sugar Lightening Cake so this is their gorgeous lovechild. I like cakes on the slightly under baked side so they are moist but if you prefer them on the crumblier side just add 10 minutes to the baking time.
Ricotta Fig Cake
1 stick unsalted butter, browned
1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsps. baking powder
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. bourbon
3/4 cup chopped figs
2 figs quartered
Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan by buttering and either dusting with flour or adding a circle of parchment. I use parchment when I have it but it works fine the old-fashioned flouring way, too.
Brown the butter over medium low heat until the butter solids have turned brown and butter smells nutty, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer butter from the pan to a bowl to cool immediately as leaving it in the hot pan can cause some of the solids to keep cooking and become burnt (learned this the hard way.)
Sift flour, sugars, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, ricotta, vanilla and bourbon together. Stir the ricotta mixture into the flour mixture and when incorporated add browned butter. Stir in the chopped figs.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It will be thick so use a spatula to even out the top. Place quartered figs in a circle around the edge (or however you think looks best.) Bake 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. At 60 minutes, it was still moist/slightly under baked which is the way I like it. Add more time if you prefer a more cake like crumb.
Let cool 30 minutes on a wire rack before removing from the pan.