Recipe: Michael Van de Elzen’s Fig Sponge Cake

A medley of seeds and nuts gives this upside-down cake an earthy flavour.

Words and recipe: Michael Van de Elzen

Figs are the best. I love fig jam served on wholemeal crackers, but this wholesome cake is pretty great too.

LSA (short for linseeds, sunflower seeds, almonds) is a big part of what gives this cake it’s nutty, earthy taste. I love it so much, I blend it with bananas, cocoa powder, and milk for a super tasty breakfast shake.

You’re going to flip this cake over to serve it, so you need to make the topping first.

Serves: 6 people


Fig topping:
125g butter
150g brown sugar
10 figs, stem removed, skin on, halved

225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
3 tbsp milk
100g LSA (linseeds, sunflower seeds, almonds)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla essence
50g walnut pieces, crushed
150g plain flour


Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin.

To make the fig topping, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until the mix becomes foamy and pale (about 2-3 minutes).

Pour into the greased tin and spread evenly. Arrange the fig pieces in the syrup, flesh side down, and set aside.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs and milk. Gradually add the egg-milk mix to the butter and sugar, beating well after each addition.

Remove from the mixer. Stir in the LSA, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and walnuts, then gently fold in the flour. Pour the cake mixture over the figs, place the tin on a baking tray, and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

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Remove from the oven and rest on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Slide a warm knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the cake. Place a serving plate over the cake tin, then carefully invert until the cake is sitting figs-side-up on the plate.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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