This fruit cake recipe from Nathan Outlaw is of the type Britain does so well but here made elegant with chewy dried figs and crunchy hazelnuts while light ale enhances the flavour and the rise. The technique used is unusual for a fig recipe as most of the soaked fruits are puréed in a food processor before mixing into the batter. Serve this in cubes as petit fours or cut into larger slices for morning or afternoon tea

Bring the ale to the boil in a saucepan. Put the figs and sultanas in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot ale over them. Cover and leave to soak for 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast until brown – this should take about five minutes. Turn the oven down to 160°C/Gas mark 21/2. Grease and line a 30 x 20cm baking tin with greaseproof paper
Remove two serving spoons of the fruit and set aside. Put the rest of the soaked fruits in a food processor and blend to a purée
In a large bowl, cream the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, then stir in the fruit purée. Chop the hazelnuts and stir them into the cake along with the reserved fruit
Sift the flour and baking powder directly onto the cake mix and stir until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Turn out and cut into small cubes. Arrange on a serving plate
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Fig, hazelnut and ale cake

  • 100ml of ale
  • 100g of dried figs
  • 50g of sultanas
  • 150g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 50g of hazelnuts, toasted
  • 75g of plain flour
  • 4g of baking powder
  • butter for greasing
  • 4 large eggs


  1. Food processor or blender

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This is a spectacular fruit cake recipe by Nathan Outlaw, using dried figs, hazelnuts and ale for a delicious cake. Fig cake is wonderful for tea or dessert.