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Gingerbread with Fig-Walnut Sauce

I experimented with aniseed this past holiday season and fell in love with the licorice flavor. It really enhances the gingerbread spices and fig sauce in this extraordinary cake. —Shelly Bevington-Fisher, Hermiston, Oregon
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 40 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons aniseed, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Confectioners' sugar, optional
  • SAUCE:
  • 12 ounces Calimyrna dried figs, cut into eighths
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons walnut or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon aniseed, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses (mixture will appear curdled).
  • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, aniseed, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk and lemon juice, beating well after each addition.
  • Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 40-50 until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.
  • Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.
  • For sauce, in a large skillet, cook figs and walnuts in oil over medium heat for 4 minutes. Stir in the spices; cook until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes longer.
  • Stir in the water, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature. Serve with gingerbread.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice with 1/3 cup sauce: 629 calories, 26g fat (11g saturated fat), 88mg cholesterol, 534mg sodium, 97g carbohydrate (70g sugars, 5g fiber), 8g protein.

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