Ocracoke Fig Jam Cake with Buttermilk Glaze


Many fig cake experts believe that the pleasant tang of a simple buttermilk glaze is the perfect finishing touch for a fig jam confection. Be sure to use real buttermilk, not only for its flavor, but for its culinary role (some would say magic) in recipes, and benefits that ordinary milk curdled with vinegar or lemon cannot replace. It's easy to find buttermilk, our Southern dairy queen, in all of our stores. It keeps for weeks, giving us plenty of time to make more fig cakes.

Ocracoke Fig Jam Cake with Buttermilk Glaze
Photo: Alison Miksch; Food Styling: Erin Merhar; Prop Styling: Prissy Lee
Active Time:
30 mins
Bake Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 25 mins



  • Unsalted butter, softened, for greasing pan

  • 2 cups (about 8 ½ oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup canola oil

  • ½ cup whole buttermilk, shaken well

  • 1 tablespoon hot tap water

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup fig jam (from 1 [13-oz.] jar)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • ½ cup whole buttermilk, shaken well

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease (with butter) and flour a 10-inch, 12-cup light-colored metal tube (angel food) pan. Sift together flour, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl.

  2. Beat eggs in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed until mixture is thick and pale, 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add oil, beating until well combined. With mixer running on low speed, add flour mixture alternatively with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating until just combined after each addition.

  3. Stir together water and baking soda in a small bowl until dissolved; add to batter with jam and vanilla. Beat on low speed until just combined. Gently fold in walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread into even layer. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Invert and remove cake from pan to wire rack, and let cool completely, about 1 ½ hours.

  4. Meanwhile, prepare the Glaze: Stir together sugar, cornstarch, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, cornstarch, and baking soda in a medium saucepan over medium; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and is light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla, and let cool 30 minutes. Drizzle slightly warm glaze over cooled cake.

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