The Cake-a-Week – Upsidedown Fig and Ginger Cake

by Amanda McInerney on 07/02/2014

I’m not sure if having made two cakes in two weeks constitutes being on a roll, but I’m feeling very confident about this whole cake-a-week thing. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that cake is actually one of my favourite food groups, but I also think I deserve brownie points for having baked in the hottest month of the year here in Adelaide.

You’ll be pleased (or not, depends upon how devoted you are to chocolate) to see that I have managed to resist the temptation to slip straight into my chocolate cake repertoire and I think you’ll be especially pleased with this little offering that I came up with the other day. The flavours in this cake are made for each other and combine brilliantly – in fact, The Bloke pronounced it the best cake he’s ever eaten!

If you remember, I wrote about some figs preserved in syrup which I had found on a shopping trip in Melbourne last November. I had forgotten about them over the Christmas break, but they were discovered and unearthed by the wonderful house-sitter we had while we were away. This sainted woman not only looked after our house, dogs, chickens and garden, but completely tidied up and sorted out my pantry – a mammoth task that I had been dodging for many months (possibly years, if truth be told). Her organisational skills and efficient container labelling also meant that I found the crystalised ginger that I’d bought ages ago, vowing to do something interesting with it. So, figs and ginger together – what a no brainer!

Like many of my recipes before, this one is really, really easy and quick to make, simply by bunging all the ingredients in a food processor and combining well. Because it is an upside down cake there is no real need to aim for a light and airy sponge, thus avoiding lots of butter/sugar creaming and batter beating – you want something moist and a little dense to support the weight of the fruit. If you can’t find the preserved figs, fresh ones would be delicious and would look great. You could even reconstitute the soft, dried figs in a little syrup and use those.

While this cake is easy, it still has a significant wow factor. It’s packed with flavour, the fruit, butter and sugar combine to form a jammy, caramelly (?) topping and it would certainly hold it’s own if presented as a dessert for guests. It is quite sweet so I served it with thick Greek-style yoghurt, but whipped cream would be delightfully indulgent too.

Upsidedown Fig and Ginger Cake
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


I used figs preserved in syrup, but fresh would do well. You could also use reconstituted soft, dried figs. Serve with thick, Greek-style yoghurt or whipped cream.
Recipe type: Cake

  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • ¼ cup of soft brown sugar
  • 425 gm can of figs in syrup
  • 1 cup SR flour
  • ¼ cup soft butter
  • ⅔ cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125 gms crystalised ginger
  • 1 tsp dried ginger
  • ¾ cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 170C. Grease sides of a 20(ish) cm round spring-form or push-bottom cake pan.
  2. Drain figs well, then slice into wedges.
  3. Coat bottom of cake pan with the melted butter, sprinkle with the brown sugar and arrange fig slices.
  4. Place ginger into food processor bowl and pulse until very roughly chopped.
  5. Place remaining ingredients into processor and blend until well combined, 30-60 seconds. Spoon batter evenly over figs.
  6. Bake for approx 40 mins, or until skewer comes out clean.
  7. Leave in pan for 5-10 minutes, then invert onto serving plate. Serve warm or cold.



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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Helen | Grab Your Fork February 7, 2014 at 10:15 am

This combo sounds glorious! And upside down cakes are the best. Helloooooo caramelisation :)

Lizzy (Good Things) February 7, 2014 at 11:45 am

Come to mamma, you delicious cake you! Amanda, I’m on a cake-free eating plan presently and you are teasing me with all this yumminess. Sigh.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef February 7, 2014 at 1:08 pm

This cake should be at my house right now. I love upside down cakes because with fruit, they are always moist, tender and delicious. I love the yoghurt with the cake.

Judy February 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Yes I agree, upside down cakes are nice and moist and make great desserts. I love your plum one Amanda, it’s so easy I’ve let the grand-children make it whilst here to take home to their parents.

InTolerant Chef February 7, 2014 at 10:31 pm

What great flavour combos for sure Amanda, and how nice to come home to an organized pantry indeed! X

Hotly Spiced February 8, 2014 at 8:51 am

Your fig and ginger cake looks stunning. I love upside-down cakes. I’m going to a BBQ this evening and will be bringing dessert. I thought I might make this but then realised it uses figs in syrup and I’m wondering where I might find them! I like the sound of your house-sitter – I’d love to borrow her next time we go away xx

Amanda McInerney February 8, 2014 at 2:42 pm

Hi Charlie, I mention in the post that fresh figs or reconstituted dried figs could be used. I think the fresh figs would look great as they’d have more colour. Enjoy your barbecue!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 8, 2014 at 10:37 pm

I love those figs suspended in syrup and whenever I go visit Auburb I try and pick up a jar of them! :)

Anne Green February 9, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I’m definitely giving this one a go – figs and ginger, what a combination. You deserve a medal for baking in the heat we’ve had lately in Adelaide. And what a house-sitter gem! Lucky you.

The Food Sage February 13, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Deliciousness. You’ll be pleased to know that your last recipe for lavender and lemon cake made it all the way to Sunderland in the north east of England where my best friend made it with her daughter this week! This one sounds great, too. And i need the contact details for your house sitter … i only have a cat that needs sitting but a pantry that could do with a tender touch, too. Lovely post.

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