These colder months make me crave warming spices, and in this cake they work perfectly with intensely sweet and textural figs.If you can't find freeze-dried figs for the decoration, just use whatever you like – fresh roses would be just as impressive! You can also use caramel sauce for the drizzle as an optional extra topping.

Serves 12



  • 150g butter, softened
  • 150g light muscovado sugar or soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g spelt flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 8 soft dried figs, cut into quarters
  • ½ cup milk of your choice


  • 150g butter, softened
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


store-bought caramel sauce and or freeze dried fig halves


Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake. Line a 22cm tin with baking paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy.

Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time.

In two parts, add in the flour, ground almonds and spices, along with the milk. Stop your electric mixer once all the ingredients are combined – do not over-mix.

Spoon the batter into the tin and spread out evenly. Dot in the dried fig quarters and press down with the back of a spoon.

Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until golden in colour, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, make the icing: in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth, then add the icing sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese in small amounts and continue to beat until completely smooth and pale.

Once the cake is completely cool, spread on a layer of icing. Decorate as desired.

Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


This recipe was originally published in the Sunday Star Times.

Photography: Emma Boyd