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When it comes time for a special celebration cake, I love something that is a feast for all the senses – it must tantalise with a hint of an aroma, look beautiful, be delicious, sturdy enough to hold together when cut and also have some sort of crunch for texture. This cake sure satisfies all these conditions!

Here we have four layers of glorious sticky fig cake held together by honey mascarpone frosting, pistachio praline crumbs spread throughout the layers for crunch and the most wicked brandy butterscotch sauce to finish it off. It is beyond delicious and perfect for any special occasion.

Serves: 12

Ingredients 

Sticky Fig Cakes:
  • 300g dried figs, small stem of each fig removed
  • 300mL water
  • 2 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups CSR dark brown sugar
  • 2 heaped tablespoons CSR golden syrup
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Brandy Butterscotch Sauce:
  • 150mL pouring cream
  • ¾ cup CSR brown sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
Pistachio Praline:
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, unsalted
  • 1 cup CSR white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water, plus extra for brushing
  • Mascarpone Honey Frosting
  • 250g quality mascarpone
  • 3 ½ cups CSR icing sugar mixture, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons honey (I like the leatherwood variety)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Fresh figs, to serve, if desired


Instructions 

  1. Set the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 160C (fan forced). Grease and line 2 x 20cm round springform tins and set aside.

  2. Combine the figs and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Add the soda, stir to combine, then remove from the heat and set aside for at least 10 minutes to cool. Transfer to a small food processor and process until it is of a puree consistency (alternatively place in a jug or bowl and blend using a handheld mixer or bamix). Set aside.

  3. Place the butter, dark brown sugar and golden syrup in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on a medium speed for 3-4 minutes until fluffy and pale. Add one egg at a time, whisking well after each addition.

  4. Lower the speed on the mixer a little and add the pureed fig mixture and the vanilla. Whisk for another minute before adding the flour and salt, one tablespoon at a time. Whisk until everything has just combined before dividing the batter between the two tins. Pop the tins in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick placed in the centre of a cake comes out clean. Place the tins on a wire rack and allow the cakes to cool completely in their tins.

  5. In the meantime, make the brandy butterscotch sauce by placing the cream, brown sugar, butter and brandy in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until the butter has melted before increasing the heat and bringing the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a low heat and allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring it every minute or so. Set aside to cool – it will thicken as it cools down.

  6. To make the pistachio praline, place a piece of baking paper on a tray and place the pistachios in an even layer in the centre of the tray.

  7. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over a medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high and allow the sugar syrup to boil away, without stirring, and brushing the sides of the saucepan with a little water to prevent sugar crystals forming. Once the syrup has become a lovely golden colour, pour the syrup over the pistachios. Working very quickly, spread the syrup over the pistachios and allow the praline to set for at least 30 minutes. Process in a food processor to a coarse crumb texture. Set aside.

  8. To make the frosting, place the mascarpone in the bowl of your stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whisk on a medium speed for about a minute until the mascarpone is lovely and smooth. Lower the speed and add the icing sugar mixture, honey, vanilla bean paste and salt. Once the icing sugar has incorporated a little, increase to a medium speed and whip for a couple of minutes until everything is well incorporated. If your kitchen is a little warm, place the frosting in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool down and thicken a fraction before proceeding.

  9. To assemble the cake, cut each cake in half using a serrated knife to make 4 even layers. Place one of the cakes on the cake stand and add ¼ of the frosting to the top. Spread to the edge of the cake, leaving about a 1cm border. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the brandy butterscotch sauce over the cream and then sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of the pistachio praline. Place the second cake on top, pressing lightly and making sure it is perfectly centred on the bottom layer. Add a further ¼ of the frosting, 3 tablespoons sauce and then 2 tablespoons praline. Repeat with another layer of cake, frosting, sauce and praline before placing the final layer on top. Place the final ¼ of frosting on the top and, using an offset spatula, gently push the frosting all the way to the edge. Using an icing spatula, smooth the sides of the cake to achieve the “naked cake” finish.

  10. Sprinkle praline around the top rim of the cake to make about a 5cm border before adding the fresh figs around the praline border to finish off the cake.

  11. Place the cake in the fridge to set for about 20 minutes before serving alongside the rest of the brandy butterscotch sauce.



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