This Upside Down Fresh Fig Coffee Cake Recipe is an unexpected delight, full of a wonderful blend of the flavors of coffee, figs and spice. Delicious with your morning coffee and lovely for an after dinner dessert.
Sometimes the best flavor combinations are completely unexpected.
Figs and coffee are one of them.
This cake isn't a coffee cake just in the sense that it's intended to be served with coffee, it's also made with coffee.
Combine those flavors with a soft crumb and you'll want slice after slice.
Pictured above are Brown Turkey figs.
While there are many fig varieties, I'm featuring Brown Turkey figs and Kadota figs in this post, as this Fresh Fig Coffee Cake has been tested with both of them.
Brown Turkey Figs
- Brown Turkey Figs are a purple/brown color with shades of green and pink.
- They have a mild flavor and are not overly sweet.
- They’re fantastic drizzled with honey or maple syrup, which is why I love them in this coffee cake.
In this cake, the figs are both sliced and finely chopped. The sliced figs line the pan and become the top of the cake, and the chopped figs are mixed into the filling.
Above: Kadota Figs, which are also a great choice for this coffee cake.
- The Kadota is a thick skinned yellow/green fig with a green-golden yellow color.
- When they're ripe, the pulp is mildly sweet, not as sweet as most other varieties, making it a great fig to bake with.
- Kadotas are what usually fill the popular Fig Newton.
Most fig varieties would likely work in this cake, as long as they're not too soft. Here's a lot more information about fig varieties.
When is fig season?
Fig season is generally May through November, depending on the variety and weather conditions.
Can you make this fig cake ahead?
Yes, you can make this fig cake ahead.
Room temperature. In a container or wrapped loosely with foil, the cake can be kept at room temperature for two days.
Refrigerator. In a tightly sealed container or wrapped/covered with plastic wrap, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. If you do this, leave it out at room temperature for several hours before serving.
Freezer. Sealed tightly, you can store the fig cake for about a month in the freezer. It should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator and left out at room temperature for several hours before serving.
*While all of the above methods of storing this fresh fig cake are great, I think it's at its best as soon as it reaches room temperature, or is even still a bit warm, the day it's baked.*
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
- This recipe calls for maple syrup with a little espresso powder mixed into it. If you happen to be able to get your hands on coffee maple syrup, you can swap it in.
- As I said, I've tested this cake with both the Kadota figs and the Black Turkey figs, and both work really well. You can use any fig variety you like, just be sure they are ripe, but not too soft. Otherwise, they'll be difficult to slice.
- Towards the end of the baking time, if the top of the cake (that will become the bottom), looks like it could get too dark, lightly cover it with foil.
- You'll notice in the photos, the "filling layer" is more towards the top of the cake. When the filling layer is added, you can attempt to make it more centered by trying to get as close to half the batter in the pan as possible first. I do this step by eye, and sometimes it's off. It's not crucial, obviously. 😉
- The recipe indicated that this cake serves sixteen. Normally I'd say a 9 inch cake serves more like twelve, but this is a tall cake (approximately three inches), so the slices are still generous when thin.
I hope you love this Upside Down Fig Coffee Cake as much as my family and I do.
More fresh fig recipes:
And a couple recipes with dried figs:
Upside Down Fresh Fig Coffee Cake Recipe
For the pan
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter softened
For the filling
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh figs, washed and dried (this is about 4 ounces figs/about 2 large figs)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the cake
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- ¾ to 1 cup sliced fresh figs, washed and dried (this is about 10 to 12 ounces figs/about 6 large figs)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cups granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the pan
- Prepare the pan. Line the bottom of a 9 x 3 inch, round cake pan with parchment paper, and use the butter to grease the entire inside of the pan (including the parchment paper and all the way up the sides). Then, lightly flour just the pan. Set aside.
For the filling
- Make a crumble with the ingredients. Place the figs, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a small mixing bowl. Then use your hands to rub the dry ingredients into the figs and butter, until it forms a crumble. (It's okay if it's not 100% blended.)
For the cake
- Set the oven and prepare the syrup. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix 1½ teaspoons of the espresso powder into the syrup.
- Line the bottom of the pan with figs and syrup. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the espresso-syrup evenly over the bottom or the prepared cake pan. Set aside. Cut the figs into thin (about ¼ inch) slices and place them, in one even layer, on top of the syrup in the pan. Set aside.
- Make the batter. Add the softened butter and the sugar to a large mixing bowl. Mix until it's completely smooth. Then add ¼ cup of the espresso-syrup, vanilla and sour cream. Once you have a smooth consistency again, blend in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir just until it's mixed in and smooth.
- Assemble. Spoon about half of the batter on top of the fig slices and gently even it out with the bottom of a spoon or offset spatula. Add the filling evenly on top and evenly spread that as well. Then drizzle it with the remaining ¼ cup of espresso-syrup. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan and smooth it out.
- Bake. Place the cake pan on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated 350°F oven until the top is golden brown and is slightly cracked, about 1 hour. It should rise all the way to the top, if not a tiny bit above it.
- Cool, invert and serve. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then use a knife to very carefully go around the edges (only if it seems like it's sticking anywhere). Now place a large serving platter or plate upside down, on top of the cake pan and invert it. Gently remove the parchment paper from the top of the cake. Let it cool for at least an hour before serving.
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Ben | Havocinthekitchen
I'm super excited about fig season, but they're usually available in my area I'm October - cannot wait. This cake looks and sounds terrific! I am familiar with the combination of coffee and figs (Had it in ice cream), so I know for sure this cake is delightful!
Well now I really want fig-coffee ice cream! That sounds amazing. Thanks for checking out my recipe, Ben. 🙂 ~Valentina
David Scott Allen
That is a thing of beauty, Valentina! Figs and more figs is the way to go! I love figs and can only imagine how good this is. Now I’m wondering if Trader Joes still has figs in stock…
Thanks so much, David. Figs upon figs -- love that. Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
Can full fat Greek yogurt be substituted for the sour cream? This fig coffee cake looks delicious!!
Hi Lori. Thanks for writing in. While I haven't tested the recipe with it, I think it should work well. (The flavor of Greek yogurt is a bit stronger than that of sour cream, but it shouldn't make too much of a difference.) Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
Oh my! This looks fabulous, and just perfect for an afternoon cup of tea or coffee! I'm inspired!
Hi CC, Thanks so much. So excellent for afternoon tea. Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
What an autumn beauty !!! Figs are my favourite fruit !
Thanks so much, Davorka. Enjoy! 🙂 ~Valentina
Jeff the Chef @ Make It Like a Man!
What a gorgeous cake! I've never had a fig cake! And I've never had figs paired with coffee. This looks fantastic.
Well then you must give it a go. 😉 Thanks for checking it out, Jeff. 🙂 ~Valentina
What a spectacular, seasonal coffee cake! The fig slices are a gorgeous topper and oh, so delicious!!!
Many thanks, Liz! Enjoy. 🙂 ~Valentina
This was DELICIOUS! I used mostly sour cream but also some full-fat greek honey yogurt. Do we think we can use any fruit in this cake similarly? I was thinking maybe pears, peaches, cherries but perhaps not put them in the middle layer? What about nuts?
Hi Julie. Thanks so much for writing in. 🙂 Yes, I think you can use almost any fruit for this. Even for the filling, as long as it's not to liquid. For example, if you use pears, I'd go with Bosc or Asian pears. Persimmons might be really fun for this, this time of year. Let us know if you try it with another fruit. And I'm so happy you loved it with the figs! Enjoy and have a great week. ~Valentina