Friday, August 26, 2005

Island Fig Cake

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.

[Our current monthly Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Old Toothbrush Man, published August 01, 2005. You can read it here:]



  1. Anonymous11:48 AM

    This is Dale at the front counter of the Village Craftsmen. In the fig cake recipe that Philip posted, instead of using 1 cup of preserved figs as the recipe calls for, use a whole pint instead. It makes for a better cake. My grandmother always used a whole pint.


  2. Anonymous11:52 AM

    This is Dale again. I forgot to mention that you can cut back on the amount of sugar to account for the extra figs that you add.


  3. Anonymous2:52 PM

    I couldn't help but get in on these comments...Philip made me a fig cake for my birthday. It was wonderful. One afternoon Dale gave me his rendition of the recipe (the one above)...I have had his cooking too..he is also a great cook! Lou Ann

  4. Anonymous4:30 PM

    haven't been to ocracoke in almost 20 years now. was wondering if any of you know if the pirates chest gift shop on ocracoke was once in business in frisco. it sounds simialr to the business that once was there. it is no longer listed as being in business on frisco. have been hunting down the places i used to go to.
    we made so many trips to the outer banks for so many years. love it there. cathy

  5. You are correct. The Pirate's Chest gift shop was originally in Frisco. The owners moved it to Ocracoke. Several years ago they sold the business to their long-time employee, Amy Srail.

  6. In the recipe is "preserved figs". Is this the same as fig preserves? I make fig preserves every year and would love to try this cake.

  7. Yes, use fig preserves. Fig cake is delicious.

  8. Anonymous4:31 PM

    Whenever we call your shop all we get is a phone message that goes on and on the number that we are calling is (252) 928-5541...we wanted to ask a few questions but no one ever answers, we don't want a call back or play phone tag. When are your store hours when a person is actually there? Thanks

    1. I am sorry about that. We are short-handed right now, and Jude has been inundated with robo-calls. In order to get anything done she has but the phone on voice mail. Call 252.928.6300 between 10:30 am & 5 pm. That should do it.

  9. Anonymous3:48 PM

    Thanks for answering my inability to contact anyone in your shop. I will try again and try to be patient!

  10. Anonymous9:12 AM

    I am sure there is a reason for using preserves, rather than the fruit....straight. Has anyone done that? Used fresh figs?

  11. I had Ocracoke Fig cake at Thurston House when my husband and I visited there many years ago. . . it seems like only yesterday but it's been 8 years I think and we now live in TX... and yet, I can recall vividly the cake and the lovely ladies at Thurston House. Talk about a lasting memory!


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