Fig Upside Down Cake

Fig Upside Down Cake

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • Zest of 1 orange, divided
  • 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • ½ cup medium grind yellow cornmeal 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 
  • ½ cup light brown sugar 
  • 1 ½ pounds figs, cut in half lengthwise 
  • Whipped cream, for serving 
  • Mint leaves, for serving


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

In a 12-inch heatproof skillet, melt 1 stick of butter over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the ground cinnamon, cardamom and zest of ½ the orange. Toast the spices and zest in the butter for about 1 minute or until the mixture becomes very fragrant and the butter just begins to brown. Remove from heat. 

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the dry goods and add in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla bean paste. Whisk together in the well. Then pour in the melted butter mixture and whisk the liquid into the dry goods until the batter is smooth. Set batter aside. 

In the same 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining ½ stick butter. When melted, stir in the light brown sugar and cook 1 minute longer or until the sugar just dissolves. Remove from heat and add the figs, cut side down into the brown sugar mixture. Make sure they are tightly packed next to each other but not overlapping. Pour the batter over the figs, spreading gently to ensure they are completely covered. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. 

Remove from oven and let cool for about 30 minutes. Carefully flip the cake onto a platter. Serve with whipped cream and mint leaves to garnish. 

Serves 8 

Photography by Rebecca Sanabria



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