Heartbeet Kitchen
Honey Fig Almond Cake
September 16, 2016 in Fall · Gluten-Free · Sweets · 24 Comments

Honey Fig Almond Cake {gluten-free} soft, rich, beautiful.

I didn’t know what people meant when they said, “You feel off? It’s probably because mercury is in retrograde”. Until this week.

With a quick peek into the Old Farmers Almanac, I learned this: “Sometimes the other planets appear to be traveling backward through the zodiac; this is an illusion. Several times a year (one being right now, August 30-Sept 22), it appears as if Mercury is on that path, and is traditionally traditionally associated with confusions, delay, and frustration.” 

And that is sums up my week quite perfectly …… everything a struggle. My thoughts are scattered, concentration level at a 1. While it’s normal to sometimes have trouble writing, I’m also having trouble making any sense talking. I’ve literally confused Brian several times while trying to explain things, which doesn’t bode well for someone who is very analytical. I feel like I’ve frustrated him more times this week than in our 7 years together, combined. And then bad timing. Car trouble, plumbing trouble, and quarterly taxes all at once…… to the tune of the cash register ringing up higher, and higher.

Honey Fig Almond Cake {naturally gluten-free}Gluten-Free Honey Fig Almond Cake {heartbeet kitchen}

Whereas in my 20’s I would have called every friend and complained, or drank too many glasses of wine (not that I didn’t have a few, but that was over several days) to cover it all up, in my 30’s, these sort of weeks humble me. Because such is life, right? Whether it’s mercury in retrograde or a case of not running on all cylinders, things will pass. Things that break, we fix them. Relationships sew another thread in the cloth that weaves them together. And money that seems to go down the drain, well, that’s one of the reasons we work.

And ironically, it comes full circle, as my work brings me joy, and makes the difficult days a little easier to embrace. Creating some beautiful with my hands brings a sense of calm.

A few weeks ago I made this Honey Fig Almond Cake as a surprise for my friend Sherrie’s birthday. It’s lightly adapted from The Farmette Cookbook, the gorgeous and inspiring work of another friend, Imen McDonnell. Imen lived in Minneapolis for several years before marrying an Irish farmer, and moving across the Atlantic to build a life with him. She was back in town this summer, and several of us got together for an afternoon tea (as the Irish do) to celebrate her new book. As I’ve been making my through it, I’ve been just as engrossed in the colorful stories of her adventures in learning to cook the Irish way, and adjusting from big city life to farm life, as I have in the recipes.

Imen actually calls this Frangipane Cake, with a quality of “moreish”, an Irish colloquialism that means something you just can’t get enough. Which explains why I’ve been dreaming about it since she made it for us that summer afternoon.

A fig and honey topped Frangipane Cake {almond cake}. Soft, with a beautiful crumb.Honey Fig Almond Cake {gluten-free}

Frangipane refers to it being made from a base of almonds, sugar, and butter which results in a cake as soft and moist as you could imagine, yet dense enough for the swipe of your fork. Almond flour has a magical touch like that.

In the cookbook, it’s made as a blank canvas, which is how she served it to us, with a dusting of sugar. Incredibly lovely. But with figs in season, I decided to use them as a cake topper, and drizzle the whole thing with honey, reducing the sugar in the actual cake as these two additions would take it’s place. And to make it gluten-free, I replaced the minimal amount of all-purpose flour (it’s nearly all almond flour) with tapioca starch.

The other beauty of this cake is that it’s incredibly easy to make. No whipping egg whites, multiple pans, or fussy decorating. Perfect for last minute plans, and whatever in season fruit you have on hand. Thank you Imen, for introducing me to a dessert that will be served to many a guest in my house.

you can purchase The Farmette Cookbook here, which I highly recommend. 
cake stand made by A Heirloom.

Honey Fig Almond Cake

Prep Time 5 mins Cook Time 40 mins
Yields 8

The original recipe bakes this in an 8-inch springform pan, but I used a 6-inch to make it a bit taller. Store finished cake in the refrigerator. I actually like this cake a little better each day it sits, served cold.


  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150 grams almond flour (not almond meal)
  • 33 grams tapioca starch
  • Figs, sliced in half vertically
  • 1/ 4 cup raw honey


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 6 inch springform pan, and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Beat sugar butter together with a stand or hand mixer, until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time. Then pour in the flours and blend well .
  4. Pour bater in prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, until still moist, but golden and baked through.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool. Open springform, and put on cake stand. Top with figs, and drizzle with a ¼ cup of raw honey.


Gluten-Free Almond Cake with Figs & HoneyHoney Fig Almond Cake {soft, rich, and dense}Gluten-Free Honey Fig Almond Cake {heartbeet kitchen}
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which I may make a small commission from should you purchase.

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24 thoughts on “Honey Fig Almond Cake

  1. Sherrie

    Damn you Mercury retrograde! Also thank you. For teaching us all the life lessons. I love how simple this cake is. And how it isn’t too sweet. My kind of cake for sure. That Imen is a real gem and your version, I’m sure, did her proud. xx

  2. rebecca | DisplacedHousewife

    I am 100% a believer in Mercury wrecking havoc on you!! Stand strong Amanda…it will pass. Meanwhile…things can’t be too bad with this gorgeous cake. The almonds…the figs…and that honey drizzle…beyond. I hope you have a lovely week!! xo

  3. Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek

    Those weeks where everything seems to be against you are the worst! On the upside, my friends in grad school used to have “Mercury in Retrograde cocktail parties” where we celebrated the end of the cycle ;) so there’s that! Haha but real talk this cake is absolutely gorgeous, and it sounds delicious. I definitely need to bake it ASAP.

  4. Emily

    I adore everything about this- the cake, the figs, and that beautiful cake stand! I can even relate to your scatteredness right now. :) Frangipane is always at the top of my dessert list and it’s so versatile with the seasons. Beautiful work, Amanda!

  5. Emma

    I used to think that “it’s because Mercury is in retrograde” was a silly statement, but in the last couple of years I’ve started believing a lot more in that stuff, but I’ve also gained a faith in that the universe will make sure things work out all right.
    I hope you’re OK – came here after stumbling upon your Pinterest and to tell you have much I admire your photography skills – your pictures are gorgeous, and all the delicious recipes have me drooling!
    Love, Emma

    1. amandapaa Post author

      Emma, thank you so much for stopping by! And glad to hear I’m not crazy thinking this retrograde thing is a thing. :) Such kind words you left, really meant a lot. And your work is beautiful too! xo

  6. Sarah @ Snixy Kitchen

    I’m so in love with this cake – the simplicity of the cake base to make something so beautiful with a perfect crumb! Also – I’m so glad you’re here doing the work you love because you work so insanely hard and it SHOWS and it’s SO inspiring. Love to you!! Let’s hope next week goes smoother!

  7. Ruby

    Oh this cake. Everything I love in one simple beautiful round package. I cannot wait to try it!
    And how bizarre, I had the most off-kilter days last week and now I think I know why! Who knew Mercury was so influential.

    1. amandapaa Post author

      hi Angie! the bake time will be a little less, so start checking it after about 35 minutes, and the cake will not be as tall. but incredibly delicious!

    1. amandapaa Post author

      Yes, rosemary just for looks on the side! But i image it would be lovely to rub one of the sprigs into the sugar (remove fallen leaves when done) to infuse it with some of the rosemary oil.

  8. Pingback: Ginger Fig Tart with Chestnut-Almond Crust {vegan & gluten-free} • The Bojon Gourmet

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