Fig and Hazelnut Tea Cake with Orange Glaze

Combining culinary influences from England, Germany and Italy, this tea cake features figs, hazelnuts, orange, and anise for a beautiful Old World flavor.  Wonderfully fragrant and a pure delight for the taste buds, this Fig and Hazelnut Tea Cake with Orange Glaze is unique and memorable and is sure to become a favorite!

fig and hazelnut tea cake recipe orange glaze anise seed german British

This cake combines some influences of England, Germany and Italy.  Dense cakes like this make the perfect accompaniment for afternoon tea, a long-held English tradition.  The hazelnuts and anise are popular baking ingredients in Germany and Italy and their aroma brings back many fond memories for me.  Being from Germany, having lived several years in England, and cherishing my adventures in Italy, this cake embodies the best of three worlds.  It has fabulous Old World flavor and an incredible fragrance that will fill your kitchen and home as it bakes.

This cake has a great texture that is punctuated by chewy figs and crunchy hazelnuts and laced with a wonderful orange flavor from the zest and glaze. Your kitchen will smell heavenly while it’s baking!

Bake a loaf of this delicious cake, brew up some tea, and enjoy a nice visit with some friends!

fig and hazelnut tea cake recipe orange glaze anise seed German British

Fig and Hazelnut Tea Cake with Orange Glaze Recipe

Let’s get started!

Quick note about anise:  This cake uses ground anise seed or anise extract, NOT star anise.  They are two very different spices.

First toast the hazelnuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the hazelnuts in one layer on a baking sheet. Place it on the middle rack and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly colored and skins are blistered.

Wrap the nuts in a kitchen towel and let them steam 1 minute. Then rub the nuts in the towel to remove the skins (don’t worry if they don’t all come off).  Let them cool completely.

roasting nuts in the oven

Stir together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and ground anise (unless using extract – add it to the wet ingredients) into a large bowl.

Add the toasted hazelnuts and the chopped figs and stir to coat.

combining all the dry ingredients in a bowl

In another large bowl, beat the butter until fluffy.

Add the sugar and continue to beat another 4-5 minutes until fluffy.

beating butter and adding sugar

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

Add the orange zest and the anise extract if you aren’t using ground anise.

adding egg and orange zest

Stir in the flour/fig/hazelnut mixture until combined. The dough will be very stiff.

stirring ingredients together

Butter and flour a 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 loaf pan. Spoon the dough into the prepared loaf pan.

In the oven preheated to 350 degrees F, bake on the middle rack for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before inverting the cake onto the wire rack to cool completely.

baking the cake

Once the cake is cooled, make the orange glaze:

In a medium bowl, microwave (or use a saucepan over the stovetop) the butter and orange juice together until the butter is melted.

Remove and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and whisk vigorously until smooth and thickened.

melting orange concentrate and butter then stirring in sugar

The icing will firm up quickly so use it within 5 minutes. If it does thicken simply reheat it for a few minutes.

Drizzle the hot glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to run down the sides, and let it stand for about 1 hour until the glaze is set.

hazelnut tea cake recipe orange glaze figs anise

Slice and serve immediately.  This cake is best the eaten the first day but will keep for up to 3 days.  To prevent the cake from drying out, wrap it and then store it in an airtight cake tin.


hazelnut tea cake recipe fig orange anise german english british italian

For more teatime favorites be sure to try our:

Originally published on The Daring Gourmet February 7, 2016


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