Go Back
+ servings
Fig and Ginger cake

Fig and Ginger Upside Down Cake

This variation on upside down cake has a fresh fig and ginger topping on a moist, rich, yellow cake studded with candied ginger. A taste treat that is elegant enough for dinner parties and excellent as a breakfast cake too. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, fig, ginger
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Laura


Fig and Ginger Topping

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 13-15 fresh figs, stems removed, cut in half length-wise (About 12 ounces)


  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 & 1/2 cups flour
  • 1-2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2/3 cup crystallized (candied) ginger, finely chopped (About 3.9 ounces or 110 grams)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan with sides at least 2-inches high. 

Fig and Ginger Topping

  1. Pour the melted butter into a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar, dried ginger and orange juice. Cook, stirring, under low-medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. 

    Fig and ginger topping on stove
  2. Starting at the center of the pan, place a half of a fig, cut-side down. Place more halves around that one (also cut-side down), and a second circle. Try to place the halves close together so they won't move, but do not overlap them. Set the pan aside.

    Adding fresh fig halves to topping for upside down cake


  1. Cream the butter and sugars together for several minutes until they are light and fluffy. A stand mixer with the paddle attachment is the easiest way to cream, but you can use a hand held, or even do it without a mixer. 

  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine. Then add the sour cream, milk and vanilla, also mixing to combine. 

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, orange zest, baking powder and salt. Then add the chopped crystallized ginger and mix until combined. In 2-3 batches, add the dry mixture to the wet one, mixing just until there is no dry mixture visible. The batter will be thick. 

  4. Using a spoon or spatula, add dollops of the batter to the pan with the topping, making sure not to move the figs or mix the topping and the cake batter. Gently smooth the batter on the top so that it is even. 

  5. Bake for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake rest on a cake rack undisturbed for 10 minutes. Then slide a sharp knife around the edge and place a platter on top of the cake. Quickly and firmly turn the cake upside down. If it does not release, or you think it hasn't, gently rap on the cake pan then pull it up and off the cake. 

  6. Let the cake cool before cutting. Serve alone or with whipped cream or ice cream. 

Recipe Notes

If a few figs adhere to the bottom of the pan when you turn it upside down, do not despair. 

Fig and Ginger Upside down cake missing a few figs Just use two spoons to gently pull them off the pan and put them back on the cake. See, that's easy! 

Putting missing figs back on Fig and Ginger Upside Down Cake