I’m going to be honest, this recipe stimulated some debate amongst my family members. I first had it in mind to make a just a fig and lemon olive oil cake but when I saw the gorgeous bunch of sage sitting on my counter I thought, why not?? And threw a couple tablespoons in!
The result was a not too sweet, deliciously moist and almost pudding-like cake that I was instantly a fan of, EXCEPT, I thought it was a bit heavy on the sage. I would soon find that others, including my mom, dad and 3 year old, did not agree, and gobbled up the cake faster than I could photograph it!
On my second attempt, I cut the sage down to 1 Tbsp and doubled the lemon and I am VERY happy with the result (as are my siblings, husband and daughter). I think there’s now a really good balance between the 3 primary flavors that is made even more amazing with the addition of the honey whipped cream. However, if you really love sage, as my parents and son do, then feel free to bring it back up to the 2 tbsp and herb out to your heart’s content!
Fig, Lemon & Sage Olive Oil Cake
For the cake:
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 lemons, zest and juice
- 1-2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped add according to preference, for a more sagey flavor use 2 tbsp, for less use only 1 tbsp
- 3/4 cup olive oil extra virgin, good quality
- 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup honey + more for drizzling
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 15-20 fresh figs, cuts in half
For the honey whipped cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp honey
For the cake:
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a medium sixed mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl add 1/4th cup of sugar and the zest of 2 lemons. Rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers for a minute to really release to the zest oils into the sugar.
- Add in 1-2 tbsp of fresh, chopped sage (depending on preference) and rub into the lemon sugar.
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer on low speed, whisk in the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract one ingredient at a time until combined.
- Turn speed up to medium and add in 1 egg at a time until combined. Scraping the sides down with a spatula when necessary.
- Turn speed down to low and add in the flour, baking soda and salt mixture in two batches. Mix on low speed for about 10-15 seconds until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
- Line a 9 inch springform pan (a 9 inch cake pan will also work) with parchment paper and grease with butter and a sprinkle of flour.
- Pour the batter into the pan and arrange the fig halves around the pan, skin side down, until the cake it fully covered. *The figs will sink into the cake as it bakes so don't worry if this happens!
- Place the cake into a 325 degree oven for approximately 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool on the counter for at least 15 minutes before removing the springform rim. Then let cool completely before slicing. If desired, drizzle a little extra honey over the top of the cake and serve with honey whipped cream and more fresh figs.
For the honey whipped cream:
- Combine heavy whipping cream and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium sized mixing bowl using a hand mixer.
- Beat over medium to medium/high speed until the honey has been fully incorporated and the cream develops thick peaks.
- Serve over olive oil cake or eat with a spoon straight from the bowl. No one will judge you.
As mentioned, you totally can make this cake in a 9 inch nonstick cake pan, but I prefer using a springform pan for this recipe because it comes out cleaner and presents beautifully. I also recommend using some kind of parchment paper whenever you bake just to insure that nothing sticks. I’m a big fan of these pre-cut 9 inch rounds since they make it so easy but you can cut any parchment paper to fit.
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