Fig-Swirl Coffeecake

I dream of filling my yard with fruit trees. Nevermind that we don’t really have the space for them or that we live in New England – I am dead set on making it happen someday. I absolutely love walking outside to pick herbs and veggies to use in my cooking, I can only imagine how cool it’d be to grab a lemon or a lime from my very own tree!

That said, the first priority would be a fig tree. While I use things like lemons and limes a lot more, I can actually find them in the store when I need them, and the same definitely cannot be said for figs. They are so elusive around here! I’m pretty sure I whined about this last year too and then wound up finding a few pints so maybe I’ll get lucky again.

Fig-Swirl Coffeecake

Fig-Swirl Coffeecake

Until then, I’ll make do with dried figs, which, fortunately, are readily available and nearly as delicious. Last fall Mary Ann posted this fig-swirl coffeecake and I fell in love with its appearance – it’s like one giant cinnamon roll πŸ™‚ My to-do list was too long last year and I never quite got around to making it, so this September I made it a priority.

This is a yeasted recipe so it does require some advance planning and time, but the dough has a great consistency and is easy to work it, so don’t be deterred. The filling is a simple combination of fresh orange juice and dried figs and it’s generously layered between the dough. A sweet icing is drizzled over the coffeecake when it emerges from the oven. The aroma that fills your house as it bakes is wonderful, it’ll have you wanting to dig in immediately. I thought the cake was best when still slightly warm, so go for it! I could definitely see this being a great addition to a brunch table this fall, especially with its unique appearance.

Fig-Swirl Coffeecake

Fig-Swirl Coffeecake
adapted from Cooking Light, November 2000 (originally seen on Meet Me in the Kitchen)

{Note: The instructions call for making the dough in a food processor, which I did, but I’m sure you could also use a stand mixer, or even do this by hand.}

1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup warm water (100-110 F)
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 1/2 cups dried Calimyrna or Black Mission figs (about 12 oz)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (from 2-3 oranges)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Add the yeast, both flours, the sugar, butter and salt to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse about 5 times until the butter is cut in and the mixture blended. In a measuring cup, whisk together the water, milk, egg and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract. With the food processor running, slowly pour the milk mixture through the feed tube, and process until the dough comes together in a ball. Process for 1 more minute then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times and shape into a ball (the dough should be slightly tacky).

Add the dough to a large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, making the fig filling: Trim the stems from the figs. Add them to the food processor along with the orange juice and the remaining teaspoon of vanilla. Process until finely chopped.

Fig-Swirl Coffeecake

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press down to release the air. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough into a 15×10-inch rectangle. Spread the fig filling into an even layer over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along one of the long edges of the rectangle. Starting with the opposite long edge, tightly roll up the dough into a cylinder and pinch the seam to seal. With the seam side down, use a serrate knife to cut the dough in half lengthwise (see picture above – you’re basically exposing the center of the cylinder).

Take half of the dough and coil it around itself in a spiral pattern (cut side up). Place the other half of the dough at the end of the first and pinch the ends to seal. Continue coiling the second piece of dough to form one giant spiral cake. Cover the cake and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (I placed my cake on a piece of parchment and baked on an overturned baking sheet. The original recipe recommended a pizza pan – use what you have.)

When the dough has about 30 minutes left in its rise time, preheat oven to 350 F. Bake the coffeecake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack.

Make the icing: stir the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl until well combined. Drizzle over the warm cake. The cake can be served warm or at room temperature (I preferred it warm).

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