Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pan de Higo/Spanish Fig Cake

In an attempt to eat well, I usually look for healthy alternatives at the supermarket when shopping for snacks. I almost always stop at the dry fruits section and buy dried figs, apricots and raisins. Some are consumed within a week whereas the others (like the figs) sit in my refrigerator for a while.

Last year I came across this fig cake at the supermarket. You could either buy the whole cake or individually wrapped slices. It was rich, mildly sweet, dark in color; it had a very intense flavor coming from the different spices and a very chewy texture from the figs. I don't recall that there was any flour in this cake.

So when I found this packet of figs in the fridge, I decided to give this fig cake a go. I found a number of recipes online but none appeared to be similar to the cake that I bought at the supermarket. Then I found the recipe for Pan de Higo - the Spanish Fig Cake. Ahhh! Just what I was looking for.

Pan de Higo has no flour, eggs or butter you don't even have to BAKE! Just pulse the figs in a food processor and add the spices and knead them together. The cake vanished in no time!

Pan de Higo - Spanish Fig Cake.

Recipe adapted from here


  • 1 pound dried figs
  • 1/2 cup almonds *
  • 2 tablespoons whole seasme seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons whole anise seeds**
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 table spoon of honey
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • Brandy as needed***


* Almond meal is a good substitute for the whole almonds. Toast about 5 ounces of almond meal on a dry skillet briefly and use in place of the whole almonds.

** I didn't have anise seeds with me so I substituted fennel powder instead. See the difference between the two here.

***I don't drink any alcohol, so never have it at home. I used apple juice instead of brandy. This must surely altered the taste of the cake but I still enjoyed every bit of the cake. Brandy is used not only for the flavor but also as a preservative in many cakes. You could also substitute White Wine.


Toast the almonds in a dry skillet and grind in a food processor or spice grinder. Pulse gently until roughly chopped, keeping the almonds from turning into a paste.

Using a food processor, mince the stemmed figs until a rough paste is formed.

Mix the figs with the ground toasted almonds, seasme seeds, anise seeds, ground cloves and ground cinnamon.

Add the honey and a few tablespoons of brandy/wine/apple juice to the figs mixture. Knead until a smooth and pliant ball is formed. The fig mixture will be crumbly but keep kneading until the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Add more brandy/wine/apple juice as needed.

Form the fig mixture into a loaf shape or use a muffin pan as a mold to form single fig cakes.

Look at the source here to see how the single serving fig cakes were made.

You can serve this as it is or with Manchego cheese. This is a good cake to make during the Holiday season.