My Fig Upside Down Cake combines two of my favourite things – caramel and figs – yum! This is a gorgeously moist orange spiked fig cake suitable with custard for pudding or served on its own with a cup of tea. Just don’t confuse it with figgy pudding!
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I’ve had a fig obsession for a little while now and I’m totally obsessed with this upside down cake. Admittedly my second attempt wasn’t quite so great but that could have been avoided if I’d been a bit more au fait with the lifespan of figs kept out of the fridge. No figgy cake for me that day!
The original recipe was in cups and I’ve converted it into into metric. But using the doody converter on the recipe below, you can easily move it back to cup measurements. Nice one.
In October 2020 I revisited the recipe and decided to entirely revamp the sponge to make it much easier and lighter. This new published version uses the all in one method and produces a really rich sponge which isn’t at all dense. Its just all round better!
Make Fig Upside Down Cake into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
Fig Upside Down Cake is another pudding that would be perfect to serve warm with custard at the end of a Sunday Dinner Feast including my Paprika Roast Chicken, Topped Red Onions and Garlic Sweet Potatoes.
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Fig Upside Down Cake
Figs are at their best in late summer and early autumn. This is definitely a cake for the autumn so perfect timing! Figs don’t ripen once they’re picked so make sure that the figs you buy are already lovely and ripe. I’m currently trying to grow my own, I’ll let you know how that goes!
Using light brown rather than white sugar adds a richness to the cake and caramel but if you only have white sugar, it will still be lovely.
Vanilla & Orange Extracts
Please make sure you are buying good quality extracts and not essence which are just fake flavourings.
If you’d rather actual orange instead of extract, you can replace the extract with the zest of a large orange and replace the milk with orange juice.
This upside down cake would work equally as well with other fruits. I’m a big fan of peaches as you may have noticed. Of course you could also try the classic pineapple upside down cake or even apple or pear.
I’ve halved the original recipe to make a smaller cake. I rarely have more than 4 figs which need using up and it still realistically serves 8! You can very easily adjust the recipe to make a larger cake again! Just use the widget on the recipe card to get the right ingredient quantities.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
No substitutions needed to make this one vegetarian!
The big question is “Can you make a Fig cake vegan?”
You can certainly make the cake vegan but the answer really depends on whether you consider figs to be suitable for vegans or not. I did a little research and really the answer does seem to be a matter for personal opinion.
Figs can contain a fig wasp which is essentially absorbed into the fig before it matures and ripens. So in a way, figs do contain parts of an animal which some consider to not be vegan.
But. The process is entirely natural and the pollination of figs depends on the fig wasp. So many believe that this does not contribute to the ‘exploitation or suffering of animals’ and are therefore suitable for vegans.
For the purposes of this recipe, lets assume that you are not an extra strict vegan and do eat figs. Here’s what you need to do to make the cake vegan:
- Swap the butter for a dairy free baking block or spread.
- Substitute each egg for 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Use a dairy free yogurt or cream substitute instead of the creme fraiche.
- Use water to let the batter down if it is a little thick instead of milk.
And if you are offended by figs. Just use another fruit.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This cake recipe is free from nuts.
Dairy or Egg Free: To make this suitable for a dairy allergy, follow the vegan instructions above but don’t sub the egg. For an egg allergy, you only need to sub the egg with veg oil.
Gluten Free: Use a gluten free flour instead of plain flour and make sure to use a gluten free baking powder to make the cake suitable for those on a gluten free diet.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Fig Upside Down Pudding
The cake tin that this recipe fills isn’t massive but don’t be alarmed. It is a very rich cake and a little goes a long way.
It is incredibly important to use a liner on the cake tin. I use these circle liners for ease.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
This fig cake is so beautiful and moist that it will keep perfectly for several days. So you can easily make it ahead of time. There is no point that I would make up to and then stop or freeze a part of the recipe.
I actually haven’t tried it but if you wanted to make this well ahead of time, I think that if you leave it to cook fully and then wrap it in cling film and foil, it will freeze wonderfully.
Leftover Fig Upside Down Cake
As with freezing the whole cake to get ahead, I would think that freezing individual portions or any parts of the cake that aren’t going to get eaten over the course of the next several days would be easy. Just thaw and reheat in the microwave or oven.
Fig Cake Tips
Remember that the cut figs will eventually be the presentation face of the cake so try to lay them in some kind of fairly attractive manner. My OCD tendencies overtake my ‘I don’t care how the food looks’ tendencies in this sort of instance!
To remove the cake from the pan:
- Put the serving plate over the top of the cake pan.
- Slide the whole thing over the edge of the worktop counter until you can rest one hand underneath the cake pan.
- Take the weight with this hand while placing your other hand palm down on the underside of the serving plate.
- Lift the whole shebang and flip over. Place back on the counter and then lift the cake pan off.
- Peel away the grease proof paper or liner.
That is much easier to do in real life than it sounds – sorry! Do beware of hot caramel seepage – a slightly lipped serving plate is a good idea!
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Cake Recipes
Fig Upside Down Cake Recipe
- 200 g Salted Butter - make sure it's soft
- 235 g Light Brown Sugar
- 4 Ripe Figs
- 3 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Orange Extract
- 175 g Self Raising Flour (Self-Rising)
- 1 tbsp Baking Powder
- 4 tbsp Milk
- Pre-heat the oven to 180c or equivalent.
- Line the bottom of a 23cm cake tin with a disposable liner or grease-proof paper.
- Melt 50g Salted Butter in a small bowl either in the microwave or small saucepan on the hob. Pour it over the bottom of the lined dish.
- Sprinkle 60g Light Brown Sugar over the butter layer. Make sure to go right to the edges.
- Top and tail 4 Ripe Figs and then carefully slice each horizontally into thirds.
- Lay the fig slices large face down on the butter and sugar.
- Measure 150g Salted Butter, 175g Light Brown Sugar, 3 Eggs, 175g Self Raising Flour, 1 tsp Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp Orange Extract and 1 tbsp Baking Powder into a mixing bowl.
- Use an electric hand whisk to beat the ingredients until light and fluffy.
- Add up to 4 tbsp Milk as needed to make the batter droppable. The mixture might split at this stage – it doesn't matter.
- Spoon the batter over the fig with relative care to not move the figs too much. I use the "gentle dollop" method!
- Vaguely smooth over the top to make an even layer.
- Bake for 40 minutes before checking to see if the batter is cooked all the way through and the butter and sugar has made a caramel.
- Bake for a little longer if needed.
- Serve warm in slices with crème fraiche or if it's that kind of day; custard, ice cream or clotted cream.