Fig Cake with Star Anise

Fig Cake

Since moving back to the UK it’s been a real pleasure to live close to one of my dear friends from university. We were both keen bakers, even back then, and we used to make cakes and cook dinners together in our drafty shared house. Since then she’s lived in Bangladesh, I’ve lived in Barcelona and it’s been a while since we got to spend days hanging out and baking.

Imagine my delight, then, to spend a day making a fig and star anise cake with her!

Fig Cake

And it was a double pleasure, because I knew I’d get to share the recipe here on the blog. It’s a Ruby Tandoh recipe printed in the Guardian a while ago and it’s delicious.

A fairly dense, but not overly moist, cake with big hits of star anise and fig. It called for one orange to be zested but I think this isn’t enough and would do 2 next time to ramp up the citrussy notes and add a lighter edge.

So, a big thank you to lovely Anna Ray for having me over to bake, and to Ruby Tandoh for the delightful recipe:

Fig Cake

Fig Cake Recipe


  • 300ml milk
  • 250g dried figs (this was one full packet)
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange (I think this could’ve been 2)
  • 3-4 whole star anise – grind them fresh
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt



  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees (Gas mark 4) and grease & line your loaf tin.
  2. Zest your orange(s) thoroughly – grate all the zest with the smallest side of your grater. Fig Cake
  3. Chop your figs roughly and pop them in a bowl with the milk, sugar, orange zest, vanilla extract & eggs. Fig Cake
  4. Grind up your star anise and sift it to get out the gritty bits, then add it to the bowl. (*note – we forgot to do this and it turned out fine, no nasty crunchy bits!)
  5. Give it all a good mix around.
  6. Measure out your dry ingredients into another bowl and mix them together.Fig Cake
  7. Combine the two by adding the dry ingredients to the wet bit by bit, stirring gently. Fig Cake
  8. Spoon it into the tin ready to bake. (*note – ours was very runny so we poured it into the tin. We were worried about the consistency, but it turned out perfect, apart from all the figs sort of sank to the bottom a little)
  9. Bake for 50-60 mins and then leave to rest in the tin for 10 mins before cooling on a wire rack (if you have one).

Fig Cake
We ate ours with a lovely cup of earl grey tea and accompanied it with cuddles with baby Sam. It’s nice topped with a little simple water icing – just icing sugar & water, or replace the water with the juice from your zested orange.

I hope you like the recipe – let me know if you try it with extra orange, or if you think the balance works fine as is. I’m looking forward to my next baking adventure with Anna already.


Fig Cake

Fig Cake

Fig Cake

4 responses to “Fig Cake with Star Anise

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