pecan bourbon fig cake

Today was the birthday of a very dear family friend. Who just happens to love figs. Last year for his birthday, I made Fig and Walnut Biscotti, but I think I’ve been clear on my opinions of non-sliceable birthday desserts. This year it had to be a cake. The search was on. I came across this cake recipe, and called off the hunt. This morning, my mom and I set to work getting it ready.

I myself am not too crazy for figs in and of themselves, but when you puree them and put them in a cake batter (or biscotti dough!) they are pretty excellent. The cake was rich and moist and perfect, and the figs deserve the lion’s share of the credit for that. The pecans are in there for crunch and you can pretty much dictate the pecan presence in this cake by modulating the size of the chopped pecan pieces. We left pretty sizable chunks of pecan, but chop them according to personal preference and all will be well.

Truthfully, this cake is just as delicious without the glaze, and we debated whether or not to even make it. We thought the cake might be too sweet already, but despite the figs and sugar, the cake isn’t overly saccharine. The glaze is sweet, of course, but the bourbon in the glaze really stands out and I think it adds some extra flavor. Plus, its so quick and easy to make.

Pecan Bourbon Fig Cake (adapted from

  • 1 lb. Turkish figs, dried
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 bourbon (I used Wild Turkey, but you can use anything)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 cups pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature

Simmer the figs in the water in a heavy saucepan, covered, for about 25 minutes or until water is mostly absorbed. Puree in food processor with bourbon and vanilla extract. Cool to warm. 

Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease bundt pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.

Beat together brown sugar, eggs, and oil with electric mixer until thick and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in fig-bourbon mixture. Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in pecans.

Pour batter into pan and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 60-75 minutes.

Glaze (adapted from

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 5 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. bourbon
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in a bowl. Pour glaze over cooled cake. 


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