This fig cake recipe is made with fresh figs for a tasty, traditional Christmas dessert. Garnished with figs and mint, this moist loaf cake recipe is a must for holiday gatherings. Elevate your next party with friends and family by serving this gorgeous dessert cake.
Christmas Fig Loaf Cake
Figs are an underrated dessert flavor. If you’ve never made a homemade fig cake for the holiday season, then you are missing out! This delicious Christmas dessert recipe is sure to impress your guests with its wonderful flavor.
Figs aren’t an overly sweet fruit. So, they make a wonderful ingredient both inside your desserts as well as a garnish on top! To make this cake extra moist, I incorporated sour cream into the recipe.
I also used fresh figs to decorate this Christmas cake for extra fig flavor. In addition to the figs on top, I also added mint leaves for a pop of color. Mint pairs really well with figs as do other herbs. So, don’t be shy about using it. You can also add chopped nuts or honey to the batter for a tasty variation to make this recipe your own.
Finally, I topped off this holiday dessert with homemade cream cheese icing. This icing is mildly sweet and a little tart, so it complements the fig loaf cake beautifully. You’ll love how well the cream cheese flavor sets off the figs in this delicious dessert recipe.
Keep reading to discover how to make a fresh fig loaf cake recipe as a traditional Christmas dessert for your family. This delicious holiday cake has a unique flavor that pairs well with several main dishes served during this time of year. Not only is it sweet and moist, but it also contains warm spices perfect for the seasonal festivities and parties!
Is Fig Cake a Traditional Christmas Dessert?
Figs are popular in holiday treats and are common in traditional Christmas desserts. Fig cake is made using figs as a main ingredients and is especially popular in the Southern United States where fig trees flourish. In the Appalachian Mountains in the Eastern United States, fig cakes are part of the Old Christmas celebrations which is celebrated through January 6th of each year.
What Are the Benefits of Figs?
Figs grow in the Middle East and Mediterranean region. Before sugar was introduced to the area, figs were often used to sweeten dessert recipes. Today, they are often used as a healthy alternative to refined sugar.
In addition, figs have other amazing benefits. Not only are figs a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium, but they are also fat free and have no cholesterol. One medium sized fig has a mere 37 calories with 10 grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of fiber.
What Does Fig Pair Well With?
This fresh fig loaf cake recipe can be eaten as a dessert with most meals. Figs complement vinegar based main dishes and cured meats like ham or cheese based dishes. They also go well with dishes with herbs such as rosemary, oregano, basil or thyme.
The fruity and sweet, honey-like flavor of figs also pairs well with dark meats and game. It can also be enjoyed with most cured meats and cheeses commonly found on grazing or charcuterie boards. Foods with warm spices like nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon are also a great option.
If serving figs with wine, they are best served with sweet red wine or a dessert wine for the perfect party food.
How to Prepare Figs for Baking
I use the figs in this recipe both as a garnish as well as an ingredient inside this Christmas loaf cake. As the skin of this fruit is edible, there’s no need to peel the fruit before using them in baked goods. To prepare your figs to make a fresh fig loaf cake recipe, first wash the figs and allow them to dry.
When adding figs to your cake batter, chop the figs, then gently toss in flour. You’ll then fold the figs into the batter just before you pour it into a loaf pan.
For garnish as a decorative cake topping, slice the figs lengthwise. Then arrange them on top of your fig loaf cake as desired.
What Does Sour Cream Do For a Cake?
I used sour cream instead of oil as an ingredient in this easy fig cake recipe. Sour cream is high in fat, which will give this Christmas dessert a richer taste and flavor profile. The fat also keeps the cake tender and moist.
As sour cream is slightly acidic, it breaks down the gluten strands in the flour to create light and fluffy cakes.
Fig Loaf Cake Variations
This is an easy fig cake recipe. However, it can be made with some variations. If you like to mix things up or just enjoy a highly flavorful dessert, try adding one of the following to this Christmas dessert:
- For a fig and nut cake, add 1 cup of chopped walnuts, almonds or pecans.
- Top with fresh mint leaves or edible flowers like lilacs, lavender buds or rose petals.
- Make a honey and fig loaf cake by using raw honey for all or part of the sugar.
- Give this Christmas dessert a chocolate flavor by mixing 2/3 cup cocoa powder into the batter when you add the flour. You can then top it with chocolate ganache and almonds.
Tips for Making a Fig Cake Recipe for Christmas
Everyone uses different tools and ways of baking traditional Christmas desserts. It’s why one person can make a cake that turns out fantastic, while another may struggle to get the perfect result. Therefore, I’ve provided some tips to help you as you make this fresh fig loaf cake recipe:
- It’s important to mix the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately. Then stir them together by hand so you don’t overmix the cake. Overmixing can cause the cake to deflate.
- For best results, use room temperature ingredients
- When adding fresh figs or nuts, they can fall to the bottom. To help prevent this, fill the loaf pan ⅓ full and then add the chopped figs or nuts to the batter. Stir gently. Then pour the cake batter into the loaf pan.
- Preheat your oven fully.
- Use a light colored loaf pan.
- Reduce the temperature by 25 degrees if you use a glass loaf pan.
- Line the pan with natural parchment paper.
- Check to see if it’s done after 45 minutes.
Fig Loaf Cake Recipe Ingredients
To make a cake using fresh figs, you will need the following ingredients:
- All purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Unsalted butter, softened
- Sour cream
- Vanilla extract
Additionally, you will also need these ingredients to make the homemade cream cheese frosting:
- Cream cheese
- Unsalted butter, softened
- Sour cream
- Powdered sugar
To decorate this Christmas cake, you will also need fresh fig slices and mint leaves for the top. Or you can also use edible flowers as a garnish.
How to Make Fig Cake
Ready to bake this delicious, moist Christmas cake for the holidays? Here’s how to make fig cake from start to finish:
1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (If you are using a glass loaf pan, preheat the oven to 325°F ).
3. Next, chop the figs for this Christmas dessert cake and lightly toss in flour. Shake off any excess. Then set aside.
4. Now combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices in a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.
5. Then, in a separate medium mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, sour cream, vanilla extract and the eggs. Mix to combine using a whisk or hand mixer.
6. Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a spatula to stir the cake batter just until just moistened.
7. Once the cake batter is mixed, fold the prepared figs into the batter.
8. Next, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use a spatula to smooth out the top surface.
9. Then bake the loaf cake for 50-60 minutes in the oven. (Or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.) Once it’s finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour on a wire cooling rack.
How to Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
10. While the Christmas loaf cake cools, prepare the homemade cream cheese icing. To do this, mix the softened cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar and sour cream together in a medium bowl. Once it’s smooth, it’s ready to use.
11. After the cake has completely cooled, frost the fig loaf cake by spreading the cream cheese icing over the top surface of the dessert cake.
Decorate the Christmas Dessert
12. Finally, garnish this traditional Christmas dessert with fresh fig slices and mint leaves arranged on top, as desired.
Fig Cake Ingredients
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup fresh figs, chopped (plus flour for dusting)
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream at room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Fig slices
- Mint leaves
How to Make Fresh Fig Loaf Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 325 degrees for a glass loaf pan).
- Line a loaf pan with natural parchment paper and set aside.
- Chop the figs for the dessert cake and lightly toss in flour. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices in a large bowl. Stir to mix.
- In a medium size bowl, combine the softened butter, sour cream, vanilla extract and eggs using a hand mixer.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.
- Fold the prepared figs into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Use a spatula to smooth the surface.
- Bake the loaf cake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour.
How to Make Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting
- Prepare the cream cheese icing. In a medium bowl, mix the softened cream cheese, softened butter, powdered sugar and sour cream until smooth.
- Spread the cream cheese icing over the fig loaf cake.
- Garnish with fresh fig slices and mint leaves.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 648Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 187mgSodium: 382mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 32gProtein: 8g
How to Store Fig Cake
Although this easy fig cake recipe can be stored at room temperature, the cream cheese icing is best stored in the fridge. Therefore, you should place any leftover cake in an airtight container. It can then be stored in the refrigerator for two to three days.
If you aren’t able to eat this traditional Christmas dessert before the homemade cream cheese frosting goes bad, you can freeze it. This loaf cake freezes well, even after it’s been frosted. Both the cake and frosting can be frozen for up to one month
Alternately, for a slightly longer shelf life, you can use store bought icing. Store bought icing generally will last three to four weeks in the fridge. Like homemade frosting, store bought icing can also frozen for up to one month.
How to Freeze a Fig Loaf Cake
This fig cake recipe freezes beautifully with or without icing. Follow these steps to freeze this traditional Christmas dessert:
- Allow the cake cool completely. You can then top with cream cheese icing. Or you can also leave it plain.
- Once cool, wrap the loaf in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Then wrap it again in aluminum foil. Place the cake in a freezer bag.
- Freeze this Christmas cake for up to three months without icing. If iced, you can freeze for one month. (This is perfect if you like to plan and bake ahead for the holidays!)
- When you’re ready to serve this delicious holiday dessert, simply remove the fig cake from the freezer. Then let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.