Friday, September 04, 2009


While visitors to Ocracoke are enjoying the surf and the sun during August many local folks are picking the ripening figs from their trees (before the birds devour them), and making fig preserves. Preserves make a tasty spread on biscuits or toast, and they're especially good poured over vanilla ice cream. But one of the island's most famous recipes is for Ocracoke Island Fig Cake. It's a dark, moist cake that has earned a place in almost every local cookbook. Here is the most popular form of the recipe:

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, oil, & soda. 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.

If you don't live on Ocracoke you will probably have trouble obtaining fig preserves. However there's no need to fret this time of year. Village Craftsmen has just received a number of cases of local fig preserves. They generally sell quickly in the fall, but you can order them directly from our on-line catalog:


Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a small photo album with historic pictures, including the aftermath of the 1944 hurricane, the 1921 Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks, the 1935 wreck of the Nomis, the Island Inn, the Methodist Church, and the Wahab Village Hotel. I've added a short paragraph under each photo to help put them in historical perspective. You can see the pictures by clicking here:


  1. Anonymous1:01 PM

    Did Jude do the photo presentation?
    Very classy! (don't mean to say you don't have class, Philip!) I have preserves left from last Fall and hope to make the cake soon.
    Hope to see you all next week!
    Marcy Desulis

  2. We were down in May & our rental cottage had a fig tree that was loaded and awaiting the summer sun. Sure hope someone was down there to harvest them. We can't grow figs in our area unless we bring them indoors for the winter. I'm seriously thinking about it!