Rinse the figs and cut into 6 equal pieces; they taste better when they are cut thickly.
Whisk the butter, stir in the sugar, then add the egg yolks and mix until evenly combined.
Sift in the flour and combine it with a rubber spatula (mix it almost to paste-like consistency).
Whip the egg whites into a meringue in a separate bowl. Fold half of the meringue and into the Step 2 batter. Add the rest of the meringue and gently fold it in.
Pour the batter into the cake mold, flatten the surface and arrange the figs on top. It's best to place as many figs as possible. Bake it in the oven at 180℃ for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
You can see from this angle that the figs are cut rather thickly.
This cake is typically made with apricots, but it is also delicious with prunes or figs. Peaches are too watery and apples are too dry for this cake.
Slightly unripe fruits are more suited for this cake than the ripe ones.
This is the prune version. Purple prunes become a pretty pink color as shown in the photo here.
Story Behind this Recipe
This is a fig version of a fruit butter cake that came from my British mother-in-law who makes it with prunes. The original prune version tasted so delicious, so I looked for a good fruit substitute in Japan, and found figs to be the perfect fit!
Since fresh fruit is used to bake this cake, it is also delicious on the day it is baked. The cake becomes more moist the next day, adding another level of delight.