Fig and whisky upside down cake

I was wondering lately. If I ever do live in such a beautiful city as Sapporo, what life will be?

For sure it be delightful waking up to cloudless skies. Landscapes that change with the folds of the seasons, from green to amber and white. Maybe I will want to live in a little cute cottage house. I could grow my own vegetables and have a garden. I will have all the time in the morning to enjoy a cup of morning coffee. Cuddle up with a few dogs over the fireplace during winter in the evening. There will be plenty of books to read till I doze off into the starry night. Maybe I'll dabble into art; paint or make some craft work. Then twice or three times a week I will head to town for fresh ingredients. The adventures of the market oh, there's so much ingredients I can explore. Like the big corn or juicy red tomatoes, they are delicious to eat them on its own. There are fresh affordable local seafood stores at every corner - the big crabs or scallops will be perfect for a winter grill. I will also hunt for desserts. Perhaps it's a girl thing - I can't help getting excited with the many bakeries and pastries to try. They are always so pretty. The lightest cream puffs you'll ever have.
On the way back, I'll swing by to the deep blue pacific ocean. Gaze upon the lapping ocean breathing in the fresh air until I am recharged or until my stomach starts to grumble telling me it's time to go home and cook. I am sure I can cook and write better. That will be nice, isn't it? Oh, and I nearly forgot telling you about the Hokkaido fresh milk. It's rich creaminess tasted unlike any milk that I've tasted throughout my entire life. It makes me wonder the real taste of fresh milk. I was puzzled but that's okay because, I can then have soft serve ice creams everyday for breakfast.
On weekends, I could visit the whisky distillery and get a glimpse of this time honored traditional.  I'll discover my favorite blend. I figured out I like my whisky fruity with little or no peat. The Yoichi distillery is one of Japan's most prestigious and possibly the most beautiful in the country. It all started in 1918, when Mr. Masataka Taketsuru (Nikka Whisky founder)  journeyed to Glasgow to study distillation at a number of classic Scotch distilleries. When he returned to Japan he established the Nikka brand and built the Yoichi distillery. You could almost feel impeccable commitment of Teketsuru to Whisky. I reckon it's likewise to people who found their passion - work no longer feels like a vehicle to sustain but every moment of work is a journey that pulls you closer to what you loved and live for. It represents you. I will visit Mr. Masataka Taketsuru humble house. I will be happy to live there too.
Now, let's make some whisky cake.

Part 1 of the Nikka Whisky, Asahi Japan tour: Tokyo Fried Chicken + Miso Coleslaw
Part 2 of the Nikka Whisky, Asahi Japan tour: Ratatouille on hotplate with egg

3 Tablespoon brown sugar
3 Tablespoon honey
3 Tablespoon (cut into cubes)
10-15 black figs

Cake batter

125g granulated sugar
150g unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
110g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
75g ground almonds
3 eggs, at room temperature
40mL milk
2 shots of whisky (optional)

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease an 8 inch pan or skillet. To the bottom of the baking pan, add the butter cubes and drizzle the honey over and sprinkle the brown sugar. Remove the stems and the bottom of the figs and slice into rounds or quarters. Arrange the fig on top of the butter-sugar. Set pan aside.

In an electric mixer, beat butter, vanilla and remaining sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 mins. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the milk and whisky. Sift flour, baking powder, ground almonds, cardamom and 1/2 tsp salt into butter mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated.

Spoon batter over the figs, and level with the back of a spoon. Bake cake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 30 minutes, then cover with baking paper to prevent over-browning and bake for a further 30 minutes. You can test with a skewer inserted into the centre. The cake is ready when the skewer comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Let the cake settle for a minute or so, then run a knife around the cake and turn out onto a plate.

Do not let the cake cool or you will not get it out of the pan. Be careful, as the fruit and glaze is still quite hot and will burn!

Serve cake warm with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. If you are serving later, you can microwave the cake slice for 10 secs until it's warm to touch.

till next post, ss.

Disclosure: This experience was sponsored by Nikka Whisky, Asahi and Maybev Singapore. Though for a different purpose but as always, all opinions written are purely my own. I am incredibly grateful for opportunities like these that allow Foodmanna to continue sharing delicious stories with you.

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