This cake is as pretty as it is delicious. A perfect dessert in any season, it's sure to be a new favorite. This recipe also includes walnuts and rosemary, which add another layer of flavor. You can play around with flavors (pecans! vanilla! almond extract!) to personalize this cake, too.
This recipe is best with fresh figs, but dried ones will work too, if fresh figs aren't in season. Dried figs will come out chewier than fresh ones, but just as tasty, especially after being baked in butter and brown sugar.
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F.
2. Add butter to a 9-inch-round baking pan, and place inside of a warm oven until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter. Add figs, cut side down, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the rosemary. Fill in the nooks and crannies with walnut pieces.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, and stir.
4. Using a hand mixer, in a metal or glass bowl, beat egg whites at high speed until fluffy. Set aside.
5. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, and remaining 1 teaspoon rosemary, and beat well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, and beat until well combined. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula. Pour cake mixture evenly over the fruit, and smooth with the spatula.
6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert carefully onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.