Pumpkins and apples may dominate the autumn season, but don’t forget about figs! These fig cupcakes – made with fresh figs and topped with honey cream cheese frosting – are a unique and tasty fall dessert!
We always celebrate the big moments in life – like birthdays and weddings – with cake. But what about life’s little moments? Like the first day of school. Or fig season. Or the fact that it’s Wednesday and we’re halfway to the weekend. All perfectly good reasons to celebrate with cake, if you ask me!
Last fall, Alex baked the most delicious fig cake just for fun the weekend before I went into labor. Even though we devoured huge slices nightly, we didn’t manage to eat the entire cake before Cameron was born. When we returned home from the hospital with our baby boy in tow, we were disappointed to discover that the leftover cake hadn’t survived our time away.
And we haven’t stopped thinking about that delicious fig cake since. It’s the inspiration for these fig cupcakes with honey cream cheese frosting!
These fig cupcakes are next level! Made with chopped fresh figs AND fig jam, they’re packed with ripe, seasonal fruit for a punch of flavor. A dash of spices like cinnamon and cardamom and some chopped walnuts help to round out the delicious fall flavors of these cupcakes.
The cupcakes’ texture – a dense crumb and bit of crunch (thanks to the chopped figs and walnuts) – is similar to carrot cake, and, like carrot cake, they pair perfectly with cream cheese frosting. This cream cheese frosting is made with a bit of honey for a delicate sweetness that beautifully balances the tang of the cream cheese.
Find any excuse to celebrate and pick up some fresh figs ASAP, because you need these fig cupcakes in your life!
Fig Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
for the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 T sour cream*
3/8 cup chopped fresh figs (about 2 figs)
3/8 cup fig jam
3/8 cup chopped walnuts
for the frosting:
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
1 1/2 T honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plus 1 T confectioners’ sugar
sliced fresh figs, for garnish
make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a standard muffin pan with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer) add eggs and sugar and whisk on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add applesauce and sour cream and whisk to combine.
Add flour mixture to the egg mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. Add figs, fig jam, and walnuts and fold these ingredients into the batter just until combined.
Add 3 T of batter to each cupcake liner so that they’re 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing the cupcakes from the pan.
make the frosting:
Once the cupcakes are cooled, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using an electric handheld mixer), add butter, cream cheese, and salt and beat on high speed until smooth. Add honey and vanilla and beat on high speed until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add confectioners’ sugar and beat until blended and smooth. Frost the cupcakes using a spatula or pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag and piping tip. Garnish the cupcakes with fresh fig slices just before serving.
Store any leftover cupcakes in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Remove cupcakes from the fridge about 1 hour before serving to let them come to room temperature.
*You can substitute buttermilk or plain yogurt for sour cream, if you wish.
I used an Ateco #809 piping tip to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.
Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking.
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