Maple Fig Bundt Cake

While it’s not glamorous, a lot of my recipes come to life because of ingredients I’m trying to use up. I’m not at all ashamed to admit this because 1) food waste is the worst and 2) I’m sure that many of you search for recipes based on things hanging around in your kitchen that you’re sick of looking at!

This basis of this fig and maple bundt cake recipe is ricotta cheese, which goes bad ridiculously fast and is therefore always something I’m trying to use up. The fat and moisture of ricotta cheese make for lovely, moist cakes (I’ll never apologize for using the word ‘moist’ on this site – let’s move on, friends!) and Deb of Smitten Kitchen was wonderful enough to develop a ricotta-based pound cake. I knew I wanted a bundt cake to glaze with dramatic swoops of glaze, so I increased the recipe volume by a good bit to fit into a large bundt pan.

I also tweaked Deb’s flavor system somewhat – I wanted to use figs, which go nicely with orange and warm spices! I added a glug of maple syrup to the poaching liquid just because it sounded nice. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason, folks – just add what feels right!

The cake itself ended up beautifully soft and fragrant, with little bits of tender poached figs. The glaze is delicious (I brought this cake into work and I may have seen a coworker scooping the glaze off of cake slices to eat with a spoon) AND I love that the poaching liquid is used in 3 places.

Mix it Up

While this cake is delicious exactly as is, feel free to mix things up. The spirit of this cake, after all, is to use up things you have lying around! Swap the figs for dried cherries, prunes, or cranberries. Swap orange zest and warm spices for lemon zest and almond extract. Poach the figs in liquor, orange juice, or honey. Do you!

The inspiration

  • The plethora of figs left over from another project I’m working on
  • The truly MASSIVE tubs of ricotta sold at Sam’s Club, taking up room in my fridge and constantly reminding me of its impending spoilage
  • The beautiful bundt cakes of Emily Laurae!

The Overview

sketch of the maple fig bundt cake

The Quick Look

ComponentsSource/Adapted From
1Maple Poached FigsLanibakes
2Ricotta Fig Pound CakeSmitten Kitchen
3Poaching Liquid GlazeLanibakes

The Breakdown

Component 1: Maple Poached Figs
  • 300 grams dried figs
  • 720 grams water
  • 80 grams maple syrup
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried culinary rose petals
  • 1 orange
  1. In a large pot, combine 720 grams of water, 80 grams maple syrup, 100 grams brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of rose petals.
  2. Place the pot over medium heat on the stove.
  3. Use a potato peeler to remove 3-4 large strips of rind from the orange. Do your best to peel away only the orange part of the peel, leaving the bitter white pith behind. Drop the strips into the pot of poaching liquid.
  4. Slice the orange in half. Squeeze both halves into the pot to use the juice.
  5. Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer.
  6. Once simmering, turn the heat down low and add 300 grams of dried figs.
  7. Cut a sheet of parchment paper into a circle slightly smaller than the diameter of your pot. Snip a small hole in the center of the circle – this will be the vent.
  8. Place the parchment circle into the pot and rest it on top of the poaching liquid.
  9. Simmer the poaching liquid over low heat for 1 hour, until the figs are very soft.
  10. Remove the poached figs from the liquid and set aside to drain and cool. Do not discard the poaching liquid!
Component 2: Ricotta Bundt Cake

Makes 1 bundt cake

  • Approximately 30 grams of sugar, for lining the pan
  • Poached, drained figs from Component 1
  • 300 grams granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest from 1 orange
  • 180 grams olive oil
  • 375 grams whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 20 grams fig poaching liquid
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 pinches ground allspice
  • 285 grams all-purpose flour
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly coat a bundt pan with pan spray, butter, or oil. Sprinkle approximately 30 grams sugar into the pan and turn to distribute the sugar all over the interior of the pan. The sugar should stick to the fat layer.
  2. Chop the poached figs into small pieces, removing any stems. Set aside.
  3. Place 300 grams of sugar in a large bowl and add the zest of one orange. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar until it is very fragrant.
  4. Add 180 grams olive oil and 375 grams of ricotta cheese to the sugar and whisk to combine.
  5. Add 3 eggs and 20 grams of poaching liquid to the mixture and whisk again to blend.
  6. Add 285 grams of flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 pinches of ground allspice to the mixture.
  7. Use a whisk to gently combine. Don’t whisk vigorously, but instead hold the whisk at a 45 degree angle and use it to fold through the batter. Stop folding once no traces of flour are visible.
  8. Add the chopped figs to the batter and fold gently with a spatula to distribute them.
  9. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan.
  10. Bake the cake for 70-85 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with no batter clinging to it.
    1. While the cake bakes, make Component 3!
  11. Let the bundt cool on wire rack in pan for 15 minutes, and then invert onto rack.
  12. Once inverted, brush the warm cake all over with reserved poaching liquid. You will still have plenty left over after this for use in Component 3.
  13. Let the cake cool fully.
Component 3: Poaching Liquid Glaze
  • 40 grams poaching liquid
  • 250 grams powdered sugar
  • 20 grams cream
  • Pinch table salt
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine 250 grams of powdered sugar with 40 grams of poaching liquid. Stir to combine and form a thick, smooth paste.
  2. Gradually add 20 grams of cream, stirring to keep the glaze smooth.
  3. Add a pinch of table salt and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the glaze over the fully cooled bundt cake. If you’d like, decorate with figs, orange peel, or flowers. The glaze may form a slight crust on the surface but the majority will stay soft.
  5. Cake will keep at room temperature for 5 days, well-covered or wrapped.


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