This light almond and fig cake is the perfect ending for a laid-back autumn picnic.


  • 6 large (about 120g) dried figs
  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 155g (1 1/2 cups) almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated mandarin rind
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 130g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Brown sugar mascarpone
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 55g (1/4 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar


  1. Place the figs in a heatproof bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. Set aside for 15 minutes to soften. Drain. Cut the figs in half horizontally.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170°C. Brush the base and side of a round 20cm (base measurement) springform pan with melted butter to grease. Line the base and side with 2 layers of non-stick baking paper.
  3. Sift the icing sugar, flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the almond meal and mandarin rind. Stir to combine.
  4. Whisk the eggs and egg whites in a bowl until well combined. Add the egg, butter and vanilla to the icing sugar mixture. Stir until the mixture is smooth and just combined.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface. Arrange the fig, cut-side up, on top. Bake, covering with foil if necessary to prevent over-browning, for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool slightly, then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the brown sugar mascarpone, stir the mascarpone and brown sugar in a medium bowl until well combined.
  7. Serve the cake with the brown sugar mascarpone.