Fig Upside Down Cake & Maple Syrup Ice Cream

By Rosana McPhee •

This easy cake will take care of lush, seasonal and versatile figs. A lovely dessert for the autumnal table. Rosana pairs with a maple syrup ice cream which can be made without an ice cream maker.



Figs can be traced back to biblical times. They are a good source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, fibre which helps with weigh management diet, and a source of calcium good for the bones’ density. Enough excuses to eat cake! (oh! and surely figs are part of your five-a-day).

The maple syrup ice cream makes a perfect match for this cake.

Fresh Fig Upside Down Cake


-2 cups all-purpose flour (250gr)
-1 cup sugar (200gr)
-1 cup of milk (about (200ml)
-2 Tablespoons of butter (35gr)
-1 egg
-figs, fresh and ripe (about 12)
-1 tsp of dry or fresh thyme
-3/4Tbsp baking powder


½ cup of caster sugar (125gr)

2 tbsp of water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits (35gr)

Start with the caramel/fig topping:

1. Preheat oven to 180C with rack in middle.

2. Lightly butter a 20cm round cake pan, then line bottom with a round of parchment paper and side with a strip of parchment paper

3. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so the caramel colours evenly, until dark amber.

4. Remove from heat and add butter, swirling pan until fully incorporated, then carefully but quickly pour caramel into cake pan, tilting it to coat evenly.

5. Cut the figs in half lengthwise and distribute them face down onto the bottom of the caramelised cake mould. Place the prepared caramelised mould onto an ovenproof tray. Reserve.

The cake dough

6. In an electric mixer beat all ingredients until the dough is smooth and homogeneous except the baking powder which should be gently added at last.

7. Pour over the dough over the figs.

8. Place the tray with the cake mould in a pre-heated oven until golden. About 60-75mins at 180C on a fan assisted oven ( add 20C on non-fan assisted oven).

9. Allow to cool slightly about 20-30 mins. Un-mould.

Serve with a scoop of maple syrup ice cream


- Place a tray under the cake mould - just in case some of the caramel runs out of the mould while cooking in the oven.

- Don’t let the cake totally cool down to un-mould, or it will get stuck to the parchment paper


Maple syrup ice cream

Yield: 600ml


2/3 cup maple syrup (150ml)

1 3/4 cups heavy cream (375ml)

3/4 cup whole milk (75ml)

4 large egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon of Maldon salt


1.Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl halfway with ice and water.

2.Heat the maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, simmering until it’s reduced by a quarter, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3.Heat the cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until just simmering, about 5 minutes.

4.Meanwhile, whisk the yolks in a medium heatproof bowl until light in color and thickened slightly, about 2 minutes.

5.Once the milk mixture is simmering, remove from heat and pour about 1/2 cup into the yolks, whisking constantly.

6.Return the yolk mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk mixture and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. (When you run your finger through the custard, a line should hold and not run back into itself.)

7.Remove the custard from heat and stir in the maple syrup reduction and salt.

8.Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl and place over the ice bath until chilled, about 15 minutes.

9.Cover and place in the freezer overnight. The ice cream will be the right consistency the next day.


For more delicious fig recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.


Rosana McPhee

Rosana McPhee was born in Brazil and she has been living in London for the last 20 years.  She created a food blog at www.hotandchilli.com, where she writes about her adventures in food, including some ideas and recipes from her native Brazil. You can follow Rosana on Twitter: @Rosana_McPhee

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