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Steamed Fig Pudding

I gravitate toward any moist dessert that hints of bread pudding. This fig cake did not disappoint.  
Although the recipe is old and I've had it in my stash for a long time, for me it was a new way to "cook" a cake. It all started with a Spanish flan tube pan I recently took home from my mom's place, with a goal to try make the actual flan soon. In the meantime, I tried this recipe.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, soft
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • orange rind/zest of one large orange
Orange Cream or Rum Custard Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups cream
  • 3 large strips of orange peel
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate OR
  • 3 tablespoons rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Grease a 2 quart mold, one that can fit into a large pot of water to steam.
  2. Beat sugar and butter and then eggs until fluffy. 
  3. Combine milk and extracts. 
  4. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and then add to the creamed butter alternately with milk.
  5. Mix well and stir in the chopped figs and orange zest.
  6. Turn batter into the mold. Cover tightly with a circle of parchment paper and then foil. Secure it with kitchen twine if needed.
  7. Carefully set on a rack in a large pot, filled with boiling water to about half way up the sides of the mold. (I did not have a rack, but found that the mold floated in the pot anyways.) Cover the pot.
  8. Steam cake in boiling water, on low heat setting (just bubbling) for 2 hours. Add water if needed. 
  9. When done, remove carefully. It will still look very light on top. Let sit for 10 minutes and then flip onto a serving plate. 
  10. Serve warm (can be reheated) with custard. Serves 8 - 10
To cook custard
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat cream along with orange peel until tiny bubbles appear around the edge. Remove orange peel.
  2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar. 
  3. Slowly stir about 1/2 cup of the hot cream into the egg yolks, to temper them, then return all to saucepan.
  4. Cook over medium heat, stirring until it thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. tiny bubbles along the side are good but do not bring to an actual hard boil. 
  5. Remove from heat. Stir in orange juice concentrate or rum and vanilla. Serve warm. You can make this ahead and refrigerate. Reheat but do not boil.


  1. "Now bring us a figgy pudding..." So this is what it looks like! Since the English call any dessert a pudding, now I understand. Thanks for the recipe and careful instruction.

    1. I have a story about that. When we first got to know our South African/English friends many years ago, she offered to bring sa pudding to our potluck. I thought it was different, but why not? I was rather surprised when it was a cake. We still laugh about how surprised I was.

  2. This looks like my kind of dessert!


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