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Fig, lemon & poppy seed cake

Figs are one of those perfect fruits of Autumn. But I never, ever know what to do with them. I love how beautiful they look cut in half, the rusty red bursting from that purple skin and the scent is earthy, though sweet.  Yet somehow I just don't cook with them. The only time I ever really eat them is in a packet of fig rolls (I'm a proper child of the seventies, Bourbons are the ultimate biscuit for me!). So I have been thinking about ways I could bake with them, something effortless and perfect with an afternoon cuppa.  

Searching through recipe books and Pinterest, I kept finding things that were elaborate or more of the tart variety. Then I stumbled upon this blog, Jo Clark Cooking, and I thought her recipe for lemon and fresh fig drizzle cake looked and sounded amazing. I loved her idea of using a standard lemon drizzle and adding different fruits, seeds, nuts or spices as the seasons change. So I've used Jo's recipe here and slightly adapted it by adding poppy seeds - something I always love in a cake. Jo is lucky enough to have her own fig tree, and there is nothing nicer than the fruits straight off the tree, but I've used bought ones. They were quite big, so I've only used two. I also decided to slice mine thinly rather than quarter and sit them on the top rather than in the middle of the mixture. The figs dropped down into the centre of the cake, so it's a little rough looking but I'm no Bake Off contestant! I'd probably fold them into the mix in smaller chunks next time but overall I'm pretty happy and it tastes amazing. Enjoy! 

Ingredients:

2 large fresh figs, stems removed and sliced finely. 

180g plain white flour, sifted

1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

180g unsalted butter, at room temperature

180g caster sugar

3 medium free-range eggs

finely grated zest of two lemons and juice of half a lemon

for the drizzle:

80g icing sugar

juice of half a lemon

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Line a 1.2 ltr loaf tin with baking parchment 

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. 

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well each time. 

Add the vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice and beat again. 

Fold in the flour and baking powder until combined. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. 

Arrange sliced figs on the top of the cake.

Put in oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes. The cake should be well risen and golden brown on top. 

Make the drizzle:

Put the icing sugar and the lemon juice in a small saucepan. 

Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. 

Prick the cake all over with a skewer and then pour over the sugar syrup. 

Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin, then dust with icing sugar when ready to serve.