Recipe By Executive Chef John McConnell
Spiced Layer Cake with Fig Jam & Mascarpone Frosting
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. fine ground white pepper
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
5 oz Clif Family Organic Fig Jam (½ a jar)
6 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
For best results start with all cake and frosting ingredients at room temperature including butter, eggs, buttermilk, cream cheese, and mascarpone.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two 8-inch, round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly smear with butter and a dusting of flour.
Sift all dry cake ingredients into a small mixing bowl and blend with a whisk. In a separate mixing bowl, using a stand mixer beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the two sugars and mix. Slowly add the eggs and yolk and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined. With the mixer still on, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry.
Divide batter evenly into the two cake pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until cooked through. To check, use a toothpick or butter knife, and insert into the center of the cake and remove. If the toothpick or knife comes out clean, the cake is done. If there is still a bit of wet batter on it, continue cooking for 5-minute intervals, and check again.
Remove the cake layers from oven and cool for 5 minutes on wire rack. When cool enough to handle, remove cakes from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
While the cake is baking make the frosting.
Beat the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixture until smooth. Gradually add in sugar, vanilla extract and orange zest, blending well. Add the mascarpone cheese, mixing on low speed only until combined.
On a smooth cake plate, top the center of the first cake layer with Clif Family Organic Fig Jam, being careful not to spread to edges. On a cutting board, spread an even layer of mascarpone frosting on the bottom of the second cake layer. Carefully place right-side-up atop the first layer with the fig jam. Spread a thin “crumb coat” layer of frosting to the top and sides of the cake and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes. Once completely chilled, continue to frost the entire cake as desired.
Decorate with fresh figs and small grape clusters or however desired.