You may not instantly recognize this beautiful pastry work, as you are all used to seeing Ming Thompson’s culinary skills baked into the form of a cupcake. But this week, Ming, of Ming Makes Cupcakes, has taken a break from the cupcake to give us our first ever layer cake on the column! And though she made it earlier in the summer, we saved it up until September in honor of the best figs of the year (but don’t worry, you don’t need fresh figs to do this!). Personally, I happen to prefer making layer cakes to cupcakes because it’s a lot less work! But never fear, for the die hard cupcake lovers Ming has also included instructions on how to make this beautiful cake (which is a pistachio olive oil cake with fig compote filling and cream cheese frosting) into one of her great filled cupcakes. –Kristina
About Ming: Ming Thompson was born and raised in Southwest Virginia. She grew up in the kitchen of her parents’ restaurant, Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque. She graduated from Yale and recently earned her Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She currently works as an exhibition curator and designer, and runs a small stationery business.
CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!
Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Fig Compote Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting
Fig Compote Filling
1.5 cups whole dried figs
1.5 cups water
the juice of one orange (about 1/3 cup)
a couple dashes of salt
2 T honey
Chop figs into small chunks, about the size of peanuts. Cook in a saucepan with water, juice, and salt until figs are soft and water is evaporated, about 20 minutes. Add honey and cook for a minute more. Let cool.
Pistachio Olive Oil Cake
1 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8×8 inch baking pan with olive oil.
Place pistachios in food processor. Pulse until the texture of small gravel; remove about half. Pulse the rest until the texture of coarse sand.
In a bowl, combine finely ground pistachios, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Stir until well combined. Add oil and milk. Beat with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs and lemon juice and beat until mixed. Stir in the coarsely ground pistachios.
Pour batter into greased pan. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown, and inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese
2 cups confectioners sugar
Mash ingredients together until roughly combined. Beat with an electric mixer on high until creamy and well-combined.
After cake is cool, slice in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Spoon filling evenly onto bottom layer, replace top layer, and frost with cream cheese frosting. Top with additional figs and pistachios.
This could also make a great filled cupcake. Bake batter in cupcake liners. After cool, cut a cone-shaped section from the top of the cake. Slice off the top 1/4 inch, creating a cap for the hole. Fill with fig compote and replace cap. Frost with cream cheese icing. Makes 12 cupcakes.
Why Ming chose this recipe:
I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so when I do eat dessert, I prefer to have a little savory along with the sweet. Here, I tried to incorporate some of my favorite flavors, olive oil, pistachio, and fig, into a versatile and easy cake. The fig compote is simple to make, and dried figs can be found year-round; I think it would be great on a baguette with some goat cheese.