Spiced Fig Butter and Gingerbread Cheesecake Layer Cake

Most of my food inspiration comes from either experiences abroad, seasonal changes, family or friends. Some ideas take a reflective whirl in the pensieve to take shape, while others are catalyzed in a much less subtle way. Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 6.48.10 PMWell no need to imply anything twice! In celebration of my friend Paola’s birthday, I’ve decided to join this pioneer woman on the frontier of her “fig butter revolution!” Two Christmas champions, figgy pudding and gingerbread men come together for a festive, off-season celebration in this Spiced Fig Butter and Gingerbread Cheesecake Layer Cake, a sure cure for any late-summer Christmas cravings. This cake is super simple to make, but it does require some time and patience. For an easier assembly process, the cheesecake is frozen before layering, which perhaps makes for the hardest part of this recipe… not eating the cheesecake before you get to making the fig butter cake! Now how exactly did that cheesecake layer come about anyway? Paola, I leave that one for you to figure out.


Spiced Fig Butter and Gingerbread

Cheesecake Layer Cake

Makes one hefty 4 inch layer cake2014-08-01 23.13.24

Ingredients

For the gingerbread cheesecake:

  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger2014-08-01 23.15.53
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom 
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the spiced fig butter cake:

  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s fig butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour2014-08-01 23.18.11
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt

For the whipped cream cheese frosting:

  • 2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

For the gingerbread cheesecake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Wrap exterior of a 4-inch springform cake pan in 2 layers of foil and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add in sugar and vanilla; beat until incorporated.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add in egg, beating until mixture is well combined. Beat in the spices (ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg) until the mixture is homogenous.
  4. Pour cheesecake filling into the prepared pan and set the pan in a shallow baking dish. Fill the baking dish with enough water to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cheesecake is set but center is still slightly wobbly. Carefully remove springform pan from the water bath and let cool completely. Cover and freeze cheesecake in the pan for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2014-08-01 23.05.06 For the spiced fig butter cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 4-inch springform cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together fig butter, brown sugar, and olive oil until smooth.
  3. Add buttermilk, egg and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt and whisk until just combined.
  5. Divide batter into the two prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cakes pass the toothpick test. Let cool completely before layering the cakes.

2014-08-01 23.06.06 2014-08-01 23.06.412014-08-01 23.07.22 For the whipped cream cheese frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  2. Pour in the heavy cream and beat until the mixture holds a stiff peak.

To assemble, layer the cheesecake between the two leveled cake rounds. Frost and refrigerate finished layer cake for 4 hours to ensure the cheesecake layer thaws completely (plus this gives time for the spiced fig butter and gingerbread flavors to really meld together into one harmonious cake). 2014-08-01 23.07.59 2014-08-01 23.08.30 2014-08-01 23.09.13 2014-08-01 23.10.26 2014-08-01 23.11.36 2014-08-01 23.13.24 2014-08-01 23.15.53 2014-08-01 23.18.11

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