This recipe from Ashley English in “A Year of Picnics: Recipes for Dining Well in the Great Outdoors” (Roost Books, $24.95) blends both into a dessert that would be perfect for a backyard party. You could easily use cherries or even sliced nectarines or peaches in place of the figs in this cake, and if you like your cakes with icing, you could top this one with a light glaze.
Fig and Orange Skillet Cake
I love skillet cakes. Served right out of the pan, they transfer seamlessly from the oven to the serving table — no extra cleanup necessary. Figs, oranges and cinnamon form a flavorful holy trinity. Perfect for dessert, any leftovers are equally sublime for breakfast or at teatime. Note: You can easily bring refrigerated eggs to room temperature by placing them in a bowl of hot tap water for about 10 minutes.
— Ashley English
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 pint small fresh figs, cut in half
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Liberally butter a 12-inch cast iron skillet and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and regular sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the eggs to the creamed butter one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and beaters with a spatula as necessary. Add the orange zest and juice and the vanilla extract and beat until thoroughly combined.
With the mixer set to low, add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just incorporated. Beat in the yogurt, then add the remaining half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, distributing it evenly. Press the fig halves partway into the batter, cut sides up, until they are even with the batter. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly over the surface of the batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving from the pan. Makes one 12-inch skillet cake.
— From “A Year of Picnics: Recipes for Dining Well in the Great Outdoors” by Ashley English (Roost Books, $24.95)