Fig and Almond Layer Cake

Fig and Almond Layer Cake

“The secrets inside her mind are like flowers in a garden at night time, filling the darkness with perfume.” – Fumiko Enchi

A Fig and Almond Layer Cake. For times of sheer sorrow and self. Gluten-free. Still as good. It’s a cake that’s a little kinder. A little lighter. A little better for everyone. But nonetheless, still cake. In all its salacious exaltation. It’s a situation of six jaconde sponge cake layers. The use of jaconde instead of regular cake, a total saving grace. It’s feather-light. Aerated and almond flavoured. There’s a vanilla bean amaretto simple syrup to soak too. And a smothering of fig jam between. A sweetly scented orange blossom ricotta swiss meringue buttercream coats the entire cake. Kept thin, to reveal each solitary layer. The use of ricotta, a new incorporation I can’t be without. I don’t want to be without. And then there’s a dark chocolate drippy glaze to adorn. It’s total sacrilege to do the cake without it. Please, do the glaze. It’s a dream kind of cake.

Fig and Almond Layer CakeFig and Almond Layer CakeFig and Almond Layer Cake

Poe. ‘Let me glimpse inside your velvet bones.’ For I was born furnished with a destructive wound for longing and lust. And as all true muses know, to be lust and give lust then grieve lust, is to destroy. Self-devouring in inflammations of beating blood. The devour, however pained. A desire to exist within the dying realm of roses. The cyclical ephemerality of la dame de coeur. Gasped breath, beneath the harpies of night. Breathless, from the influence of several. Strangulations of thorn, less possessed and poisoned than what lies within. The red-hot, white-heat, ache, that permeates throughout all aspects of creation. Roses bleed. And, I.

What frightens me is a figment that I can’t quite possess. A second skin. A second living, breathing, thing. With its own desire. Own dreams. Own lust. The shadow I singlehandedly destroyed yet continue to bring back to life. Her departure served me no more than when she was present and violenced. I yearn to be both again. More light, more dark. More visible. More illumination. More. More. More. The hierarchies that exist within, spread thin against the flowering bed of nightingale swan song. Amniotic fluid, in drowning. All enraptured. Ever and ever. For I have known all things. Become, all things. I exist within all the writings ever read. All the spaces ever travelled. All the men ever loved. I am all women. The ripples that circulate cold-water currents. The stars that adorn the Winter night sky. I, am, all things. A culmination of fragmented parts and pieces of the world experienced. Do I even exist? Pacify me.

Fig and Almond Layer CakeFig and Almond Layer CakeFig and Almond Layer Cake


the jaconde sponge:

80 g confectioner’s sugar, 4 large eggs, seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod, 140 g almond meal, 50 g gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt, 30 g unsalted butter (melted), 4 egg whites, 65 g granulated sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 190 c (375 f). Grease and line 3 x 18 cm (7 inch) cake pans. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar, whole eggs and vanilla bean seeds until the mixture reaches ribbon stage, it should be thick, glossy and when the whisk is lifted, the mixture should hold its form then flow like lava. Sift in the almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt, then gently fold the mixture together until just combined. Pour in the melted butter and stir until evenly combined. Set aside.

Next, in a new, clean-bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites on medium speed until they form soft peaks. With the mixer still running, pour in the sugar, in a steady stream. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks are just beginning to form. Be careful not to over whisk, you want a texture that’s firm but loose enough to be able to be folded throughout the batter.

 Fold in half of the egg whites into the bowl with the batter until it has loosened. Fold in the remaining half of the egg whites, being careful not to over-mix, until just combined. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake pans, then, use a rubber spatula to smooth out the tops. Bake, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in their tins for 15 minutes before inverting out and onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before carefully slicing each layer in half, to form six cake layers, if desired.

 the amaretto syrup:

 80 ml amaretto liqueur, 120 ml water, 100 g granulated sugar

To make the amaretto syrup, combine the amaretto, water and sugar into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and let the mixture come to a light simmer. Let the syrup simmer out for about 5 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before using a pastry brush to brush each cake layer with a little of the syrup.

 the orange blossom ricotta swiss meringue buttercream

 180 g egg whites, 210 g granulated sugar, 350 g unsalted butter (very soft at room temperature), 100 g ricotta (at room temperature), 1 ½ tsp. orange blossom water, ½ tsp. vanilla bean extract, 1/8 tsp. salt

Next, make the orange blossom ricotta swiss meringue buttercream. Place the egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to gently combine then place the bowl over the top of a saucepan filled with barely simmering water and on medium-low heat. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Heat, whisking often, until the egg white and sugar mixture reaches a temperature of 70 C (160 f) on a candy thermometer. The sugar should be completely dissolved and the mixture hot to the touch. Once at temperature, remove the bowl from the heat and set it on the base of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Whisk, on medium-high speed, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture holds stiff peaks. The bowl should no longer be hot to the touch and the meringue should be glossy and cool. Pause mixing and swap out the whisk attachment for the beater attachment.

Add in the butter, a tablespoon at a time, until it is all incorporated. Add in the ricotta, orange blossom water, vanilla bean extract and salt. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue to beat until the buttercream is thick and silky smooth, 5 more minutes. Set aside for assembly. 

the dark chocolate glaze: 

100 g dark chocolate (finely chopped), 60 g unsalted butter

Place the finely chopped dark chocolate and butter into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature (about 30 c (90f)) before using on the cake.

for assembly:

250 g fig jam

Place the first cake layer, cut side facing up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Place about 3 tablespoons of the buttercream over the top, then, use an offset spatula to spread until smooth. Spread a generous tablespoon of the fig jam over the top of the buttercream. Gently press on the next cake layer then spread over the buttercream and the fig jam. Repeat this layering process until all the cake layers have been used up, making sure to end with a cake layer cut side facing down. Thinly spread the remaining buttercream over the top and sides of the cake to coat. Set the cake in the refrigerator to chill until firm, 30 to 40 minutes. Once firm, remove the cake from the refrigerator and pour the dark chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, using an offset spatula to push it down the sides to form a dripping effect. Set the cake in the refrigerator to chill until the glaze is firm before slicing and serving.

Fig and Almond Layer Cake

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  • Reply Nicole June 20, 2017 at 7:37 am

    I love this combination: Fig and Almond Cake. From the pictures and the recipe, I already know entire my family will be surprised when I bring it to the dining table:)

  • Reply Sarah @ Snixy Kitchen June 12, 2017 at 5:43 am

    The topping on this cake is perfection! Also so obsessed with figs – I’m sure I’ve love this cake!

  • Reply Abby @ Heart of a Baker June 9, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Between this cake and those photos, these is so much beauty here!

  • Reply Lili @ Travelling oven June 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Oh this cake looks heavenly! I wish I had a slice now with my coffee! 🙂

  • Reply Jenny / June 8, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    I am always in awe of your layer cake skills, Thalia. To this day, I have still only ever done one layer cake

  • Reply karen June 8, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    OMG I must have this cake…let me start on converting my measurements now!!

  • Reply Jennifer Farley June 8, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    These photos, this cake! I am fangirling over here. You are amazing.

  • Reply Angela - Patisserie Makes Perfect June 7, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    This is a stunner Thalia. I love that it’s gluten free. I am pinning this for future baking!

    • Reply thalia June 8, 2017 at 4:23 am

      i’m so glad Xx

  • Reply Erin Clarkson June 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    This is all of the perfect. So many layers! So pretty. xx

    • Reply thalia June 8, 2017 at 4:23 am

      thank you lovely lady Xx

  • Reply Laura {Lau Sunday cooks} June 7, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Oh Thalia, this cake is simply gorgeous and I can’t believe is gluten free! (You made me happy today) 🙂 xx

  • Reply michelle @ hummingbird high June 7, 2017 at 10:52 am

    oooh this cake sounds heavenly!

    • Reply thalia June 8, 2017 at 4:24 am

      thank you Michelle!

  • Reply Supriya Kutty June 7, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Hey Thalia! you have written it so perfectly with pictures. This pictures are watering my mouth. SOon gonna try this.

  • Reply Carlos At Spoonabilities June 6, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    What a lovely cake!
    Fig is one of my favorite fruits. I must try as soon Figs are in season here in Florida.

  • Reply Shauna | Linden & Lavender June 6, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! Love that it is gluten-free, too! Did you find it stayed fresher, longer?

    • Reply thalia June 8, 2017 at 4:24 am

      yes definitely, although, i think that has something to do with the joconde sponge as well! it was so moist Xx

  • Reply Georgina June 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    This looks amazing, and so beautiful!

  • Reply Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen June 6, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Another masterpiece Thalia! This cake sounds absolutely dreamy. That buttercream and that dark chocolate glaze…decadent!

    • Reply thalia June 8, 2017 at 4:25 am

      thank you Mary Ann!

  • Reply Carlos at Spoonabilities June 6, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    This cake is a deliciousness dream!
    I will definitely make this cake. I don’t think will come out as beautiful as yours but i will give a try.
    I have two amaizing fig jams that will go perfectly with this recipe

    • Reply thalia June 8, 2017 at 4:25 am

      i hope you enjoy it! Xx

  • Reply Hilary June 6, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    A dream. Thank you….love it being gf, I am in bliss

  • Reply Haley | Brewing Happiness June 6, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Well damn. Now I have to make cake.

    • Reply thalia June 8, 2017 at 4:25 am

      there’s always an excuse for cake Xx

  • Reply Joyce @ The Sun Diaries June 5, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Amazing combination of flavours

  • Reply Tarah Taylor June 4, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    What orange blossom water do you recommend? Also, any particular braND of fig jam?
    Thanks, Tarah

    • Reply thalia June 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      Cortas for the orange blossom water. I use Bonne Mamam jam, but any other brand or variety works. Xx

      • Reply Tarah Taylor June 4, 2017 at 10:04 pm

        Thanks! I hope to try it soon.

  • Reply Solène | In the mood for food June 4, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Stunning, as always!

  • Reply Makos(@thehungrybites) June 4, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Hey Thalia!
    I just saw this on Instagram and I’m drooling already!
    Amaretto syrup, orange blossom ricotta, and dark chocolate? Just give me a fork and whatever cake you’ve got left!
    (Great cake stand also!)

  • Reply fatimah June 3, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    yess! i love you for this, i’m kind of forced to eat gluten free now and have been craving a layer cake..this is just perfect! those slices are scrumptious xx

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