loafing – fig almond tea cake w coconut-honey glaze

loafing – fig almond tea cake w coconut-honey glaze

The precision and the science of baking have intrigued me since I was in college—it was also therapeutic as a needed break from my studies in architecture.

Since then, I’ve baked cakes, cookies, and more but I’ve never had much luck with loaf pans. I gave up for a many years, after my experiments showed not so appetizing results. The loaf came out either still wet in the center or over baked with a hard unpleasant exterior.

Then recently, I used a loaf pan as a mold for Basil Summer Berry Pudding, I figured I would face fear straight on and make the leap to baking. This was of course done with the help of America’s Test Kitchen, my favorite go to for solving baking/cooking problems.

I’d been intrigued by their Cold-Oven Pound Cake based on a 100-year-old recipe. I tried it, and it worked, so I proceeded with a loaf pan version—vamping up the luxury factor by adding a brandied fig-almond filling. Just to gild the lily, fresh figs adorn the top of the cake that is drizzled with a Coconut Honey glaze.


fig almond tea cake w coconut-honey glaze


Fig-Almond Filling

  • 8 ounces dried figs, Mission, Turkish or Calimyrna, stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brandy or water
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almond paste

Tea Cake

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup canned coconut milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 14 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons (11-3/8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Coconut-Honey Glaze, recipe to follow

Coconut-Honey Glaze & Assembly

  • 3 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut rum
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6-8 fresh mission figs for garnish (optional)


Fig-Almond Filling

1. Roll almond paste into a 1/2-inch diameter rope, cut rope into 1/2-1-inch size pieces.

2. Bring figs, sugar, brandy, and water to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and figs are very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Stir in chopped almonds and almond paste pieces and cool until ready to use.

Tea Cake

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Grease and flour 9×5 loaf pan. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Whisk coconut milk and both extracts in measuring cup.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of coconut milk mixture. Mix on low until smooth, about 30 seconds.

3. Remove mixing bowl, add fig-almond mixture in chunks of various sizes. Using rubber spatula, fold until mixture is evenly distribute throughout the batter.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Place cake in cold oven. Adjust oven temperature to 325℉ and bake, without opening oven door, until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 65- 80 minutes.

5. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto rack, right side up, and cool completely. (Cooled cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

Coconut-Honey Glaze & Assembly

1. Bring coconut milk, honey, rum and salt to a simmer over in a small saucepan over medium heat. Turn off heat and whisk in white chocolate until fully combined. Add cream cheese, one tablespoon at a time, whisk until glaze is smooth and creamy. Cool for 20-30 minutes until thickens.

2. Drizzle glaze over top of cake and let it drip over the sides. Decorate with fresh figs (if use) and serve.

recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen