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Wednesday 25 July 2012

Baking for Beginners: Fig and Walnut Squares

The tray bake is the lazy-ass baker's best friend. No need for icing, no need for very much at all, really. Just mix, bake, and eat. It doesn't even matter if your squares are a little bit wonky.

This fig and walnut tray bake has had a few mishaps along the way. The first attempt wasn't great - too figgy, too eggy, too everythingy (this didn't stop my housemates from eating it all). The second not sweet or spiced enough (I hate cloves, but I compromised with allspice and it works really well). One final bit of tweaking this morning and it's pretty great now. The texture is perfect - chewy figs, crunchy nuts and crispy edges to go perfectly with a squidgy cake.

Fig and Walnut Squares (makes about 20)

You'll need:
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger (you could use more, I just had a bit left so decided to throw it in)
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g dried figs
  • 200g walnut halves
Make it!
  • Grease a small baking tray and preheat your oven for 180 degrees.
  • Mix your eggs and sugar until they're thick and pale.
  • Sift the flour and spices into the egg mixture, beat in the butter and vanilla extract.
  • Chop up the figs and break up your walnut halves and fold them into your batter.
  • Once it's all mixed up, pour into your tray and smooth into the corners.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or so until the top of the cake is golden brown and the edges are crisping.
  • When it's cooled slightly, slice into squares. Then take them into your office and impress everyone.


  1. Tray bakes are also awesome for us people who don't have a million different cake tins! Thanks for posting something for the reluctant baker!

    1. You're welcome! Despite the amount of cake recipes on the site that I've written, by far the most successful ones are the tray bakes.

      Here, have some cheesecake brownies:

  2. I do love a tray bake! I have a Mary Berry recipe book full of them, and they're all so yummy and easy. MUST try this one out, it sounds right up my alley.


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