Makes 12 servings
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 10 dried figs, stems removed
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup chopped pitted dates (from about 5 dates)
- 6 dried apricots
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 1/4 cup jam, such as blackcurrant, apple, or fig
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Finely chopped walnuts, as needed for garnish
- Fresh figs, halved, as needed for garnish
- To prepare the fruit filling, combine the figs, cherries, dates, and apricots in a food processor. Pulse until the fruit is finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and add the water and brandy. Stir to combine, then cover and set aside to soak for at least 1 hour. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid separately. Mix the soaked fruit with the jam, and set aside.
- For the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round baking pans and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and walnuts, and toss to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated between each addition. Add the orange zest.
- Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla, finishing with the flour.
- Divide the cake batter between the prepared baking pans and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
- To prepare the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until thick and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
- To assemble the cake, place one cake layer, flat-side up, on a serving plate. Brush with reserved fruit soaking liquid. Top with the fruit filling and spread to the edges of the cake, leaving about 1/2-inch border uncovered. Top with the second cake layer, flat-side up. Brush the later with fruit soaking liquid (you won’t use it all).
- Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting on the tops and sides of the cake. Use the long edge of the spatula to skim away excess frosting for a smooth surface, if you like. Garnish the top of the cake with walnuts and figs.
Copyright © 2019 The Culinary Institute of America