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Lemon, Fig and Ginger Nut Cake

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I’ve been putting some cake recipes I rank as old favourites through their paces to see how they adapt to being baked using spelt flour rather than wheat. Those of the conventional butter, sugar, eggs and flour genre are generally a drier more crumbly version of their former glorious self, and disappointingly, are now retired to my recipe archive. Cakes with a proportion of nut meal work well, those with coconut do not. Syrup soaked cakes are fabulous if you use spelt flour and sponge cakes readily adapt to being made entirely with cornflour. The original recipe of this fig and nut cake recipe didn’t fit into any of those boxes so experimentation was the only option.

First I tried using cornflour in place of the wheat flour. The result was barely OK. A few weeks later I remade the cake using spelt flour. The result was outstanding.

This Italian style cake with no butter or oil, is all about the big chunks of fruit, nuts and chocolate. The firm sponge is just the glue to hold the goodies together. It’s the sort of cake that makes you want to drink coffee or liqueur, or both.

My lemon, fig and ginger nut cake freezes well, but it will keep for 4-5 days in a sealed container if you can resist.
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3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup spelt flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
120g whole raw hazelnuts
120g whole raw almonds
60g candied citrus peel
60g preserved ginger, finely chopped
140g dried figs cut into 1 cm dice
90g dark chocolate but into 1 cm bits
Zest of 1 large lemon, finely grated

Preheat the oven to 170C fan forced.
Grease a large loaf tin and line it with baking paper.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
Combine the nuts, fruit, chocolate, zest and flour tossing thoroughly to coat and separate the fruit.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy.
Add 1/3 to the floured fruit and nuts and stir thoroughly.
Add the remaining egg mixture and lightly fold it through.
Tip the cake mixture into the loaf tin, smooth the top.
Bake until firm to the touch in the centre or when the cake test done with a skewer, about 40 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and allow to rest in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it out into a cooling wire.
Cool completely before cutting.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

30 comments on “Lemon, Fig and Ginger Nut Cake

  1. potlucktam
    June 3, 2014

    I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. Here’s the link:

    http://potlucktime.com/2014/06/02/liebster-award/

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      June 3, 2014

      Thanks Tam, I appreciate the thought but have chosen to opt out of the award circuit

      Like

  2. My Kitchen Witch
    May 30, 2014

    Very clever of you to convert your flour recipes. What a talented baker to get those nuts so evenly distributed. Mine always sink to the bottom of the cake!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 30, 2014

      No talent needed for evenly distributed nuts in this cake. The only time they all sank was the once I tried to make it with cornflour.

      Like

  3. laurasmess
    May 30, 2014

    Spelt flour is so different, isn’t it? I’ve tried it for many different cakes and pastries… occasionally with disastrous results (sad face). I love the look of this cake’s crumb though, it looks delicious (particularly when studded with those glorious fruits and nuts). Thanks for sharing your spelt adventures with us! xx

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 30, 2014

      It’s been a journey with mixed results, but worth it to get some understanding of the way spelt behaves. It worked fabulously

      Like

  4. marymtf
    May 30, 2014

    PS. I think Florentine biscuits when I read the recipe. I had one once before the baker iced it with the chocolate and liked that version better.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 30, 2014

      WordPress has put a link to my GF florentines at the bottom of the post which you’ll see when you open the page fully. They are quite fragile though until you spread the chocolate over the bases and it sets.

      Like

  5. marymtf
    May 30, 2014

    If I was to leave the chocolate out, \would there be a problem in how the cake turned out?

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 30, 2014

      None at all, just make up the omitted weight with extra fruit or nuts. Over the years I’ve messed with this heaps. We like the little chocolate surprises as you eat the piece of cake.

      Like

  6. Leah
    May 30, 2014

    Yum! love that this cake is not only super tasty but also adaptable. Nice one :-0

    Like

  7. Stacey Bender
    May 30, 2014

    A healthy cake Zi can really get behind. Thanks for the “research”.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 30, 2014

      The pleasure was all ours. We’ve loved this cake since the mid eighties and would have been devastated had it been a flop

      Like

  8. tinywhitecottage
    May 29, 2014

    Hard to imagine a good cake without oil or butter. Clearly it is delicious and moist as your lovely photograph shows.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 30, 2014

      Seriously, you would never know that this cake is comparatively low fat. The flavour and texture are fabulous

      Like

  9. sophiebowns
    May 29, 2014

    This looks so nice!

    Like

  10. That sounds awesome! I like testing out unusual flours as well, and I have always enjoyed taste-testing the “failures” πŸ™‚ This looks like a delicious success though–love the lemon + fig + ginger flavors!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 29, 2014

      Thanks. Life without wheat isn’t too hard once you get the hang of it, especially when you can have delicious cake like this!

      Like

  11. Selma's Table
    May 29, 2014

    Sandra, this looks and sounds fabulous – I bet it also tastes better the next day after maturing a little. I have the best part of a bag of spelt flour so will give this a go soon. Interesting how the different flours work too….

    Like

  12. saucygander
    May 29, 2014

    I love Italian style cakes, this one looks fabulous, I’ll be adding it to my (ever growing….) baking list.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 29, 2014

      You’ll be pleased when this recipe makes it top of the list!

      Like

  13. thomasvinicombe
    May 29, 2014

    This looks so delicious πŸ™‚

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 29, 2014

      Thanks Thomas, it’s an unusual cake. We love the chunks of nuts and chocolate

      Like

  14. A Home Cook
    May 29, 2014

    I love figs. I adore ginger. You’ve sold me on just the name of this cake.

    Like

  15. suej
    May 29, 2014

    Sounds delicious! I found your information re: types of flour that can be used as substitutes for particular types of cake interesting… πŸ™‚

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      May 29, 2014

      Thanks Sue, It’s been interesting finding out what works and what doesn’t

      Like

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This entry was posted on May 29, 2014 by in Baking, Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts, FODMAP diet, Food and tagged , , , , , , .
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