Ocracoke figs have ripened and many an island kitchen is now stocked with mason jars filled with sweet fig preserves. One of Ocracoke's most popular local delicacies is the dark, moist, and tasty fig cake. If you are lucky enough to have of a jar of preserves you might want to try this traditional island recipe. (You can order Ocracoke fig preserves here.)
Ingredients: 1 cup salad oil; 1 1/2 cup sugar; 3 eggs; 1 tsp. soda, dissolved in a little hot water; 2 cups flour; 1 tsp. nutmeg; 1 tsp. allspice; 1 tsp. cinnamon; 1 tsp. salt; 1/2 cup buttermilk; 1 tsp. vanilla; 1 cup preserved & chopped figs (or dates, if you can't locate figs); 1 cup chopped nuts.
Beat 3 eggs; add sugar and oil. After sifting dry ingredients, add to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk. Add vanilla and fold in figs and nuts. Pour into greased oblong pan and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or in a well greased tube pan at 350 degrees just a little longer.