The other day, my mom and I were talking about this blog and how things had been going. She mentioned that she had noticed there hadn’t been as much narrative attached to the recipes, and after some consideration, I realized she was right.
You see, from day one this site has not existed merely to fill bowls and spoons with calorie-packed cakes and frosting-swirled treats. I wanted Wood and Spoon to be a place where people could come to nourish their bellies but also their hearts too. It’s safe to say that this blog will never have the easiest recipes, the best shortcuts, or be regarded as the premier resource for baking how-to’s, but I’ll be damned if you leave these pages feeling anything less than encouraged and inspired to create in your own homes. In our weird sort of internet kind of way, I want us to be friends and to engage with stories and food in a way that will impact you in your own world. Does that make sense?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we can be transparent here. We can share cookies and recipes, but moreso than that, I want us t0 share words and memories like two friends would over cups of coffee at the kitchen counter. I want to invite you into my world, my kitchen, in hopes that you feel the freedom to do the same in your own circles. If you leave this site with an idea to create and the gumption to love the ones around you via food, well, my job is done.
So for the sake of transparency, I want to talk about joy. I heard someone recently say that joy is the unicorn of emotions. It’s hard to capture it, to feel it all the time, or to understand what it’s all about. Nonetheless, when you see it, you know what you’ve witnessed. Joy has been the elusive theme of my life for a few months now, and I constantly find myself on the hunt- looking for it around each corner, trying to figure out how to bottle up that magic for myself.
I see joy on the faces of my toddlers as they race around our yard and dance about our living room. We witness it in airports as families welcome home long-awaited brothers and sisters. I feel it in church, in the the crescendo of a good song, and even sometimes in the confines of my kitchen, that little sanctuary where, every once in a while, I capture a memory of someone I love through a single bite of food.
“It’s not until I look up to catch a breath that I realize what I’ve been missing.”
Joy eludes me when I lose touch with my willingness to receive it. I tend to put my head down and rush from task to task, deadline to deadline. I’m constantly existing in the process but never really looking up long enough to enjoy it. This way of life buries me, and it’s not until I look up to catch a breath that I realize what I’ve been missing.
So that has been me these past few months. This site and the stories we share are hugely important to me, but I needed to slow down to make room for other things. For all the times I said “No” to testing recipes, editing photos, or checking my email for the millionth time, I said “Yes” to something I needed more. I said “Yes” to my children and to later dinnertimes, to popsicles in the backyard and dreaming about the future with my husband. I said “Yes” to some things that make me really joyful.
Honey Cake with Figs
One of the recipes I did take time to love on is this honey cake with figs and whipped cream cheese. Every year, like clockwork, my father-in-law’s fig tree produces a bounty of fruit that is so beautiful, it’s almost a travesty that the harvest is so short. After last year’s honey mascarpone tart, I knew I wanted to capture that summer essence in a beautiful and simple cake. This honey cake with figs and whipped cream cheese is what I came up with; I think you’re going to like it.
For starters, we’ve got a single layer cake, rich and heavy from the addition of honey. To lighten it up, a cream cheese whipped cream, barely tangy and totally cloud-like, goes on top. The cake is adorned with some over-the-top toppings too. Juicy figs are sliced and sprinkled with candied walnuts and a drizzle of honey. Truly, this honey cake with figs and whipped cream cheese is as yummy as it is beautiful.
A Few Pointers:
I’ll spare you the details on how to make this cake and will instead give you some tips for success here. First, be sure to assemble the cake with its toppings just before serving. While the cream cheese does help make the whipped cream more stable, it still will eventually fall. Additionally, the figs will release juices once cut and coated with sugar. If you want to avoid a sticky mess, be sure to assemble close to consumption time.
For a more honey-forward cake, you can sub some of the sugar out for additional honey. Keep in mind that this substitution will change the texture of the cake. See the notes section of the recipe for more on that. Finally, do not skip the nuts here. This barely-sweet cake benefits from the texture and flavor that the sweet morsels of walnuts provide; they are the real hero here.
Finally, I want to introduce you to a new friend: Diamond of California Nuts! I am thrilled to have partnered with my long-time go-to. Over the coming year we are going to create some seriously delicious things with these nutty beauties. Please welcome them into your own kitchens. And thank you in advance for supporting the brands that makes the magic on this site possible. Happy baking to you all!
If you like this honey cake with figs and whipped cream cheese you should check out:
Pistachio Honey Bars
Honey Mascarpone Tart with Figs and Salty Graham Cracker Crust
Honey Salted Almond Ice Cream
Strawberry Fig Pop-Tarts
Honey Cake with Figs and Whipped Cream Cheese
This honey cake with figs and whipped cream cheese is a simple summer cake topped with candied walnuts, tangy whipped cream, and sweet fruit.
- Prep Time: 40
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 9
- Category: Dessert
For the cake (Adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson):
- ¾ cup (170 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (170 gm) honey
- 1 cup (200 gm) sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups (280 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (120 gm) buttermilk, at room temperature
For the whipped cream:
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ cup (60 gm) confectioner’s sugar
- 1–1/2 cups (360 gm) heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk (optional)
For the candied walnuts:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup brown sugar sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
For the topping:
- Figs, or another chopped fruit of your choice
- Extra honey for drizzling
- Candied Walnuts
To prepare the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom of a light-colored 9” (springform would work here as well) pan, lining the bottom with a round of parchment paper. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, honey, sugar, and vanilla extract. Start on low speed to combine and then increase to medium-high (I use 6 on my mixer) for 6 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time, stirring on low after each addition to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl. In a small bowl, stir to combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter and honey mixture, stirring on low to almost combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl, stir in the buttermilk, and then add the remaining dry ingredients, stirring only until incorporated. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and baking in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted just barely comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before topping with the whipped cream, figs, and walnuts. You can also drizzle additional honey as desired. Serve immediately.
To prepare the whipped cream:
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the whipping cream a tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed on your mixer and whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Give the mixture a taste- if you would prefer it to be a little bit tangier, add in about 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. This will thin the mixture out a bit but will add yummy flavor. Spread on top of the cake and serve immediately!
To prepare the walnuts:
- Combine the butter, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium, non-stick over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the nuts and stir regularly using a rubber spatula until the nuts have toasted and the sugar has begun to melt, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and spread out the nuts to cool on a sheet of parchment paper.
- For a more honey-forward tasting cake you can use 2/3 cup of honey and only ¾ cup of sugar in the cake. This will yield a more heavy, dense feeling cake, but the honey flavor is more prominent. I like to use the original recipe and then drizzle extra honey on additional pieces as desired.
- Dark colored pans will brown this cake a ton! I prefer to use a light-colored pan, but both will work.
This post is sponsored by Diamond of California Nuts. Thank you for supporting brands that make Wood & Spoon possible!