It feels like autumn here in Brisbane even though it is technically spring.  It is cold and wet, and to be perfectly honest, downright miserable really.  But what is the silver lining to this unseasonably rainy and cool weather?  It creates the perfect conditions for the oven to be popped on, the house to be warmed up, and to enjoy the aroma of a freshly baked cake wafting from the kitchen.

I must confess I baked this little fruit speckled cake prior to Nina being born.  In fact, back when figs were in season and I knew they would a perfect hue for my ‘Pink’ month.

I enjoy being guided by seasonal produce with my baking, so after seeing these figs in my local fruit store earlier in the year, I returned home and scoured my baking books for inspiration.  I stumbled on an idea when flicking through Dorie Greenspan’s well thumbed Baking: From my home to yours.  She features a Fig cake for fall. It looked simple and rustic and just the ticket to showcase the beautiful fresh figs.

Some interesting ingredients in Dorie’s recipe included port, honey and cornmeal alongside the standard butter, flour, sugar and eggs.  I opted to play around with the recipe a little and included a few omissions, substitutions and additions of my own.  The port and honey was omitted, the cornmeal was substituted for ground hazelnuts, and the figs were matched with a handful of raspberries.

The overall result was a very easy to make, moist and flavoursome cake that is perfect not only for autumn, but any day of the year really.

P.S.  Thank you to everyone for all your lovely well wishes for baby Nina.  Life as three in the Mélanger household is a bit of a roller coaster at times, but the always turbulent journey is magnificent.  (And I say that functioning on minimal sleep, too!)  I slowly manage to sneak a few minutes here and there for myself, for some very quick baking adventures in the kitchen, and for quickly catching up on some of my favourite blogs.  Well, big emphasis on slowly….

{ Fig and raspberry hazelnut cake } Inspired by “A fig cake for fall” by Dorie Greenspan

* Ingredients *
125g / 1 stick unsalted butter
¾ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup milk
½ cup ground hazelnuts
8 figs, halved
½ cup raspberries

* Directions *
Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Grease a 20cm/8 inch cake tin.   Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs separately beating well after each addition.  Sift the flour and baking powder.  Add half the flour to the mixture, then the milk, then the remaining flour.  Finally, fold in the ground hazelnuts.  Spoon the mixture into the tin, and arrange the figs, cut side up on top of the cake.  Sprinkle the raspberries between the fig halves.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.  Leave to rest for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.