This was my mother’s recipe. Well, at least the name. Her recipe was full of fig jam, lots of sugar, eggs and butter. Of course it was good – but all that jam and sugar made it so sweet – my teeth hurt! As a Healthy Chef Partyologist my goal is always to make food better-for-us, so I decided that this delicious and moist cake was certainly worth a try.

My first plan of attack was the butter – I replaced it with oil and applesauce. The applesauce replaced one-third of the original butter, and the oil the rest. Her recipe also called for 3 eggs – I replaced one-third of the eggs with egg whites, substituting 2 large egg whites for 1 large egg. I replaced the all purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour. If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, use one-third whole wheat flour and two-thirds all purpose flour.(This one-third thing is starting to sound like a theme!)

I had to lighten up the sugar load as well – so instead of Mother’s Fig Jam, I thought of dried figs. Their sweetness and texture became perfect when I boiled them in orange juice, and the citrus brightened the taste and the texture became very jammy. Without all the sugar!

When I reduce the fat, sugar and calories in a recipe, I also ramp up the spices. Remember that herbs and spices have no fat, no salt, no sugar and no calories. (Okay, maybe a few calories.) Instead of just the cinnamon and nutmeg called for in Mom’s cake, I added Cardamom and Mace to the Cinnamon. The Mace is the outer covering of Nutmeg and it’s especially pungent and flavorful. The Cardamom adds an earthy warm citrus aroma and taste.

I love my “remodeled” recipe, cause you can make it into mini muffins for breakfast, bake in a 9×12″ pan and just dust it with powdered sugar, or go all the way like we did – by frosting it with the optional cream cheese frosting.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Orange Fig Cake
1 Cup Orange
1 Cup Dried
Figs, chopped finely
2 Large Eggs
2 Large Egg
1 Cup Raw Sugar
1 Cup Canola Oil
1/2 Cup Light Buttermilk
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Whole Wheat Pasty Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Cardamom
1/2 Tsp Mace
1/2 Cup No Sugar Added Applesauce
1 Cup Chopped Pecans, toasted plus
more for garnish
       OPTIONAL: Cream Cheese Frosting
(made with 2 Cups powdered sugar, 
8 oz light cream cheese,
 I TB orange zest and
1 tsp vanilla extract.)
Step One Reconstitute
the dried figs by bringing 
the orange juice to a boil. 
Add the figs and let sit
until the figs are very soft.
Step Two Beat the
next 4 ingredients at medium speed 
in the bowl of a standing mixer. 
Add the buttermilk and vanilla
and beat until combined.
Step Three Whisk
together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, 
cardamom and mace.
Gradually add it to the buttermilk mixture, 
beating until blended.
 Fold in figs, applesauce, and toasted pecans. 
will be thin.) 
Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 
8-inch round cake pans, 
cupcake liners or a 9” x 12” pan.
Step Four Bake at 350°
for 45 – 60  minutes 
or until a 
inserted in center 
comes out clean. Cool on wire racks 
10 minutes 
then remove from
pans, and cool 
completely on wire racks. 
Dust with powdered sugar, 
or frost
with optional 
cream cheese frosting.


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