This moist and delicious Honey Walnut Fig Cake, is loaded with walnuts, plenty of fig flavor and drippy caramel on top! This cake makes a beautiful centerpiece for a harvest celebration dinner or just because!
I made you guys a cake!
About a month or so ago.
I can’t remember exactly when and I’m just sharing it now.
I am the worst.
This cake was originally meant to be posted in time to be part of your Rosh Hashanah celebration if you celebrate and if you don’t, a lovely cake to celebrate Fall.
It’s still Fall and figs are still in season, so now it’s just a pretty “let’s have a slice of cake because Fall in here cake!”
Sound good? Let’s get down to business.
Like I said, this cake was “supposed” to be for Rosh Hashanah and I was looking for a new twist on the honey cake we usually eat to celebrate a sweet new year.
The holiday has passed but a reason to enjoy this moist and delicious cake has not. Made with a mix homemade walnut flour and all-purpose, it’s a little denser than what you’re used to in a layer cake but it’s plenty moist thanks to swapping out refined sugars for honey. Don’t fret over a long baking time, either, it’s normal when baking with nut flours – while not gluten-free this cake could easily be made so by swapping the all-purpose for your favorite GF blend.
The layers are then filled with an irresistible marscarpone cheese buttercream (marscarpone is simply an Italian cream cheese, if you can’t locate it, just use traditional cream cheese) and fig jam. Then topped with homemade honey caramel, plenty of fresh figs and more walnuts to finish the look.
It looks fancy, tastes fancy but it’s a lot easier than you think. The most work is putting your food processor to task to produce your walnut flour, pulsing too much and you’ll end up with walnut butter! The second task is making that honey caramel but if you’ve made regular caramel before then you are good to go!
If you’re still intimidated, the most important step to remember is to make sure your final ingredients are cold. Building a layer cake with cold cakes is much easier than with cakes at room temperature! They are less likely to crumb and move around and of course keep it all cold when ready to pour that caramel drip, unless you want melted buttercream down the sides!
Heat your oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour 3 6 inch cake pans.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, salt and butter. Mix until the butter is broken up into small pieces and then mix in the honey until combined.
In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract. Pour in half the amount into the mixing bowl, mix on medium speed and then add the remaining half, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Divide the batter between the three cake pans, using a scale to ensure an even amount of batter into each pan (if you only have two cake pans, reserve the third amount in a bowl and bake off after one of the cakes has cooled).
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges of the cakes are brown and pull slightly away from the pan.
Cool in the pans for about 10-15 minutes and then carefully flip out and cool fully on a rack.
If making ahead of time, wrap the cakes in plastic and chill in the refrigerator.
If putting together in one day, place the cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up.
To make the buttercream, place the marscarpone and butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and cream together for about 1-2 minutes.
Slowly add in the confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing on low. Once all the sugar has been added, whip on high speed for about 3 minutes until the buttercream is light, airy and smooth.
Mix in the vanilla extract and salt.
To build your cake: The layers should end up all even and flat but if necessary trim the tops so they are even.
Place a small dab of frosting on a 6 inch cake board and add your first layer.
Fill a piping bag with buttercream, spread a thin amount on the first layer and then a damn around the edges to hold in the jam. Spread 1/4 fig jam inside the damn. Place the next layer on top and repeat and then add the top layer.
Frost the top and sides of the cake with a crumb coat and using a bench scraper smooth the sides. Place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to set. Remove from the fridge to finish frosting, smoothing the edges once all the buttercream as been added and place back in the fridge to chill.
While the cake is chilling, make the caramel, in a pot over medium heat add the sugar, honey and 2 tablespoons of water. Without stirring bring to a boil and cook until the sugar has melted and starts to caramelize, make sure to keep and eye on the pot this can go quickly, when the sugar is a medium golden brown color stir in the butter until it melts and then the heavy cream. Boil for 30 seconds and remove from the heat to set aside.
Toast the walnuts and if desired mix in some of the caramel to make it sticky to build on top of the cake.
Once the cake is chilled and the caramel has cooled but is still warm enough to drizzle, drizzle down the sides of the cake and cover the top.
Decorate the top with cut fresh figs and the toasted walnuts.
* To make your own walnut flour, simply add about 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts to a food processor and pulse until it's a fine meal. Make sure not to run the processor for too longer otherwise you'll have walnut butter. If you grind up too much, just save the extra walnut flour in a freezer safe container in your freezer. It is likely to spoil if kept at room temperature for an extended period.