A full of flavour cake that is beautifully balanced with sweet spices and studded with soft diced apple, semi-dried figs and walnuts. It is topped with a cream cheese frosting that is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar. A wonderful cake that can be served on its own with a simple dusting of icing sugar, or decorated with frosting for a gorgeous celebration cake. I love cakes that involve an easy melt and mix recipe that delivers on flavour and looks!
This is another version of my Easy Apple Spice Cake. This recipe uses semi-dried figs that have been soaked lightly in brandy instead of sultanas and the spice quantities are also a little different. This is a beautiful cake to make when apples are in season. It has an almost pudding-like quality with the combination of spices and fruits.
Why I love this recipe:
This is a very simple and easy recipe to make. A melt and mix recipe; the butter is melted and added to the apples, sugar and eggs and then they are combined with the dry ingredients using a spoon – no beaters or machinery required.
It is a beautifully flavoured cake too and keeps well. You can choose to frost it with the maple cream cheese frosting or you can just dust the top with icing sugar and serve it with cream. It can also be served warm with ice-cream and/or custard as a dessert. See the photos below for other ways to decorate and serve this versatile cake.
I will definitely be making this recipe again and again, both for my family and when entertaining.
Ingredients to make this recipe:
- Apples – fresh apples are used in this recipe. I use both granny smith apples and/or gala apples as that is usually what I have in my fruit bowl.
- Butter – salted or unsalted.
- Sugar – I use both white and brown sugars in this recipe as I like the flavour a combination of both bring to this cake.
- Eggs – large or extra large eggs.
- Vanilla Extract
- Semi-Dried Figs – use semi-dried figs in this recipe as they are more plump and more moist than dried ones.
- Alcohol – I have used calvados brandy to soak the figs but you can use rum, bourbon or even whisky. If you prefer not to use alcohol, then use apple juice or water. I only lightly soak my figs but you can soak them longer if you prefer. The alcohol is very subtle in this cake but does give a lovely flavour.
- Flour – all purpose plain white flour.
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Spices – a combination of ground cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg is used.
- Salt – fine sea-salt or table salt
- Walnuts – the walnuts provide a lovely crunch and add great texture to this cake but they are optional.
Step by step instructions:
Tips and tricks for success:
While this is a very simple cake to make, there are a few little tips to help you perfect this recipe:
When you add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, do this by ‘folding’ them together gently versus stirring. Being heavy handed and mixing them vigorously will result in a tougher cake.
When baking the cake in the oven, always check your cake 5-10 minutes before the 50 minute mark as all ovens can vary and you may find your oven runs hotter, so if the cake feels firm to the touch in the centre or a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, that is when it is ready.
You may also find that this cake will turn golden before it is ready. If this happens, cover the cake loosely by placing a sheet of aluminium foil over the top. I have needed to do this every time with this recipe in my oven.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
- Easy Apple Spice Cake – this cake is very similar to this one but uses sultanas instead of figs and has no alcohol in it.
- Lumberjack Cake – another beautiful cake using apples, this time with dates. It has a lovely topping of brown sugar, coconut and butter which is very addictive.
- Orange Olive Oil Cake – an easy and simple citrus cake made using olive oil instead of butter.
- Easy Banana Cake – one of the easiest banana cake recipes! So moist and a great way to use up over-ripe bananas.
- 2 large mixing bowls and 1 small bowl
- 24cm (9.5in) round springform cake tin
- mini food processor or hand-held mixer to make the frosting (optional)
- 3 medium apples peeled, cored and diced into 3/4cm cubes (approximately 300-350gm diced apples)
- 225 g butter melted
- 220 g white sugar (1 cup)
- 50 g light brown sugar (1/4 cup loosely packed)
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c semi-dried figs chopped into small pieces (sultana sized)
- 2 tbsp calvados brandy or brandy (see notes)
- 300 g plain flour (2 cups)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 60 g chopped walnuts (1/2 cup)
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 250 g full fat cream cheese room temperature soft
- 90 g butter room temperature soft
- 70 g brown sugar
- 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Grease a 24cm (9.5in) round springform cake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and white and brown sugars. Add the diced apples and vanilla extract and mix everything together well. Lastly add the beaten eggs and mix through. Set aside.
- In a small bowl add the chopped figs and brandy. Stir and set aside.
- In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and salt. Mix together.
- Add the butter and apple wet mix to the dry ingredients and gently fold through with a large spoon until almost combined. Now add the dried figs and liquid along with the walnuts and continue to fold through gently until there are no pockets of flour left in the batter.
- Pour or spoon the cake batter into the prepared baking tin and spread the mixture out to the edges. Smooth out the top. Place the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly during the baking time, loosely cover the top of the tin with a sheet of aluminium foil. The cake should be nice and golden and not too brown.
- When ready, remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the tin and turn the cake out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Place cooled cake on a serving platter and decorate by dusting with icing sugar or with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting.
To make the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Before you start it is really important to have both the cream cheese and butter at room temperature and soft. Otherwise you will not get a smooth frosting. Once I have made this cream cheese frosting, I like to refrigerate it to firm it up a little, so will often make this the day before or an hour earlier.Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a mini food processor and process until combined and smooth (scrape down the sides once or twice during this time). This is the easiest way to make it. Alternatively:
- Add the soft cream cheese and butter to a mixing bowl and using a hand-held whisk, beat them together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low speed until smooth and combined. Then increase to high speed for 30-60 seconds.
- Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake using a palette knife or flat knife.
- This cake can be made a day ahead, frosted and then refrigerated. When ready to serve, remove it from the fridge to allow it to come to room temperature first.
- It can be served with or without the frosting.