2000s Recipes + Menus

Pecan Fig Bourbon Cake

Serves12 to 16
  • Active time:40 min
  • Start to finish:3 1/2 hr
January 2008
Bundt cakes are always crowd-pleasers, and this dark, moist one won't disappoint. The combination of time-honored ingredients—sweet dried figs, crunchy pecans, and aromatic bourbon—will have your guests clamoring for the recipe.

For cake

  • 1 lb dried Black Mission figs, hard tips discarded
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cups pecans (7 oz)
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes

For icing

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Special equipment:

    a 12-cup bundt pan

Make cake:

  • Simmer figs in water in a heavy medium saucepan, covered, until figs are tender and most of liquid is absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes. Purée in a food processor with bourbon and vanilla. Cool to warm.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour bundt pan, knocking out excess flour.
  • While oven preheats, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Lightly toast pecans in a shallow baking pan in oven, 8 to 10 minutes, then cool and coarsely chop. Leave oven on.
  • Beat together brown sugar, oil, and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Stir in fig mixture. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated, then fold in pecans.
  • Pour batter into bundt pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool cake completely in pan on a rack, then invert onto a plate.

Make icing:

  • Sift confectioners sugar into a bowl, then whisk in remaining icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle over cake.
Cooks’ note: Cake (before icing) improves in flavor if made at least 1 day ahead and can be made 5 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
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