Figs and olive oil cake – Jamie Oliver’s recipe

Figs always appeared to me as very mysterious fruits, fragile, rare and expensive. Being in a scholar mood today, I did some research on the matter. Turns out legend has it Buddha achieved enlightenment under a large and old sacred fig tree. More than 2600 years later I can only face facts: there is an obvious “fig wisdom pattern” here, and Jamie Oliver was very enlightened to add olive oil to his fig cake recipe : fortune (and taste) does favor the bold !


Ingredients – serve 8

  • 200g flour
  • 125g almond powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 250g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 oranges
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 100ml milk
  • 4 large figs
  • 3 table spoon honey


  1. Turn the oven on to 180 degrees.
  2. In a bowl mix the eggs with the sugar, until the mix starts to whiten. Then add in the zest of the lemon and 2 oranges as well as the orange juice. I always wash carefully the citruses before taking the zest with warm water and rubbing them with baking powder to make sure no chemicals remain. Pour the olive oil and the milk making sure to get a smooth mix before moving on to the flour, baking powder and almond powder.
  3. Pour the dough in your greased baking tin and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, clean the figs and slice them in two. After 40 minutes stick them at the top of the cake, brush with honey and bake another 10 to 15 minutes. If you put the figs too early they’ll draw to the bottom of the tin ( I know from experience! ). As usual adjust the cooking time based on the surface of the cake and its texture inside ( to be checked with the blade of a knife which should come out clean ).

This recipe comes from a Jamie Oliver magazine dating back from 2014. At first I thought we should be more generous with fruits. But adding figs only on the bottom gives actually the perfect balance between the fruits and the lemon cake. And when the figs season is over, don’t hold back, just go ahead as this recipe works wonders as well without fruits !