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Brandied Apple Cake with Figs and Walnuts

Loaded with apple chunks, dried fruit and nuts, here is a not-overly-sweet cake that can be enjoyed for breakfast, afternoon tea or as a casual dessert when topped with whipped cream. Beautiful in its simplicity, this moist cake will disappear as quickly as you can make it.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup diced dried Mission figs (about 4 1/2 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • Unsalted butter for pan, plus 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt  
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped tart apples
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the figs and brandy. Let stand while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously butter a 9-inch square pan.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the 12 Tbs. butter, the granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture. Add the apples, walnuts and fig-brandy mixture and stir just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan.

Cut the cake into squares to serve, or cover tightly with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Garden Cookbook, by Jeanne Kelley (Weldon Owen, 2013).