The BEST Cake. Ever. Fresh Fig, Walnut, and Rosemary Upside-Down Cake

Admittedly I am not much of a baker. It’s too precise, inflexible compared to the creativity tolerated in cooking, and just not something I typically do. Nor would I ever eat cake for breakfast. I rarely eat cake any time. That is until this weekend when I baked a fresh fig cake that made me take back those thoughts.
This is the moistest cake, with an amazingly light and airy crumb. It literally melts in your mouth. And I did eat it for breakfast yesterday. And I will eat it for breakfast again tomorrow if there’s any left. The fresh figs are caramelized in buttery brown sugar, and piney, fresh rosemary and tart lemon juice add pungency and savory flavors as a foil to the sweetness. Upside-down cake reminds me of Connor as a little boy when this kind of cake was his very fav, so it's a bit sentimental too. Unfortunately in St. Louis, the fresh fig season is short so take advantage of them and bake this today. Be forewarned, the recipe does dirty a lot bowls, but if you’re going to bake, go all out. This is the cake to bake.

Fresh Fig, Walnut, and Rosemary Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from Food52
Makes 8 servings

1/2 C butter (8 tablespoons)
1 C brown sugar
10 fresh, ripe figs of your choice, tips removed, halved – I used more because many of mine were small
4 t fresh rosemary, finely chopped, divided
2-3 T walnut pieces, or as many as needed
1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1/8 t salt
3 eggs, separated
1 C granulated sugar – I used vanilla sugar
4 T fresh lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1 t pure vanilla extract

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Add butter to a 9-inch-round baking pan, and place inside of a warm oven until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter. Add figs, flesh side down, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the rosemary. Fill in the nooks and crannies with walnut pieces.
In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and stir.

Using a hand mixer, in a metal or glass bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until fluffy. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, and remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, and beat well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, and beat until well combined. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Pour cake mixture evenly over the fruit, and smooth with the spatula.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert carefully onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  1. Beth SorrellSeptember 12, 2011

    This was an amazing cake!! I planned ahead and did not feel like I used every bow. I am lucky enough to have a spare bowl for my Kitchenaid mixer so this helped. I warmed the cake in the microwave for serving and added a scoop of vanilla ice cream. PERFECTION!!!

  2. Beth, thanks for the comment. This is one of our favorite cakes too.

  3. Denise, this does look great. Thanks for joining in the cake extravaganza. Cheers

    1. AnonymousMay 31, 2013

      Carole, thanks for hosting the cake show and stopping by.

  4. uuuuhhhh, delightful one cake, one great and delicious combination of fresh and natural ingredient and fruits, marvelous and tasty :D



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