Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake

The perfect summer picnic dessert! This fig cake is made with an Earl Grey based cake, frosted with honey cream cheese and topped with fresh figs and toasted pistachios.

Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake | the little epicurean

I once believed figs were chewy cookies. As a kid, if you told me that figs were fruits, I’d laugh in your face. To me, figs were cookies that came in a yellow box.

(The company that makes those cookies I speak of just recently removed “fig” from their name to dispel any confusion because they now make cookies with all sorts of fruit fillings.)

Fast forward to my early teens and I was finally introduced to this lovely fruit. I recall my dad eating some one Saturday morning. In typical fashion, he was eating them over the sink.

As I was making my breakfast, I noticed the beautiful interior of the fruit. Curious, I asked him what it was. My dad, who doesn’t like to explain things unless it’s about math or chemistry, just handed me one and said to try it.

BAM. No explanation needed. I immediately fell in love with this sweet and delicate fruit.

Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake | the little epicureanHoney Earl Grey Fig Cake

Last year I made this fig tart with pistachios and honey. I made it over and over again until figs were no longer in season. Now that figs are back, it’s only natural I try to make a fig cake.

This honey Earl Grey fig cake is the perfect ending to a cocktail party, picnic lunch, Sunday brunch, pretty much any random or special day. I don’t really need any excuse to make it!

Asides from figs, I love, LOVE, love Earl Grey tea. If it’s on the menu, you bet I’m ordering it- especially if it’s an Earl Grey based dessert.

One of my favorite cafes in the area serves a delicious Earl Grey tiramisu. My favorite restaurant in Las Vegas makes an unforgettable Earl Grey cheesecake (I still dream about it).

Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake | the little epicurean

How to infuse Earl Grey flavor:

I used the cake base from my strawberry vanilla cake recipe.  There are two ways to infuse tea flavors into baked goods.

One: you could simply grind up the tea leaves and add into the batter. Or two: you could steep Early Grey tea in whole milk until the liquid is super concentrated. (I prefer the latter!)

Yes, you need to use whole milk. (Or even better, heavy cream!) Why? Because flavor is transported through fat.

Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake | the little epicurean

Figs and honey are such a great combo (so is Earl Grey and honey!). The cream cheese frosting works well to enhance to the orange notes of the Earl Grey. If you’d like to make a proper frosted cake, don’t worry. There is plenty of frosting to coat the sides of the cake.

Because it’s summer (and I like less work), I left the sides of the cake exposed. Lastly, because I feel all desserts need a little crunch, I sprinkled some pistachios on top.

Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake

Yield: 6-inch cake

Author Maryanne Cabrera


Earl Grey Cake:

  • 1/2 cup (113 g) whole milk
  • 2 earl grey tea bags (abour 2 ½ teaspoons loose tea)
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 g) cake flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ( 1 1/2 teaspoons) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, or vanilla extract
  • 6 Tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (149 g) granulated sugar

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz (226 g) cream cheese* room temperature
  • 2 oz (56 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (230 g) confectioners' sugar*
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  • figs
  • honey
  • pistachios


Earl Grey Cake:

  1. Microwave milk for 90 seconds to 2 minutes until very hot. Steep tea bags for 20 minutes. Squeeze out as much liquid from tea bags. Remove tea bags.  Stir in egg whites and vanilla paste. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper and set aside.

  3. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter and sugar. Add 1/3 of dry flour mixture. Mix on low speed. Add 1/2 of liquid mixture. Continue to mix on low speed and add another 1/3 of dry flour mixture. Add remaining liquid mixture. Mix on low and add remaining 1/3 of dry flour mixture. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. Batter should be smooth. 

  5. Divide batter between two prepared cake pans. Level batter using the back of a spoon or a mini offset spatula. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating once halfway through baking. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before unmolding. Place cake on wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Scrape down bowl as needed. Add confectioners' sugar, honey, and salt. Mix until frosting is smooth and thoroughly combine.


  1. Level cooled cake as needed. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or cake plate. Spread a generous amount of honey cream cheese frosting into an even layer over cake. Place another cake layer on top. Top with frosting. Place sliced figs on top of cake. Sprinkle pistachios on top. Drizzle honey as desired. Keep cake stored in the fridge until ready to serve. Let cake sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to allow cake to soften. Drizzle additional honey, as desired, before serving.

Recipe Notes

Ingredient Notes:

  • Be sure to use block American cream cheese. Do not use light cream cheese or whipped cream cheese. 
  • Do not use mascarpone, Neufchâtel, or creme fraiche in place of American cream cheese.
  • Add up to 1 1/2 cups additional confectioners' sugar to thicken frosting to your desired consistency. 

Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake | the little epicurean

Honey Earl Grey Fig Cake
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Becky Hardin | The Cookie Rookie

This is just beautiful in every way!!!! You knocked it out of the park with this one!

Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous)

also obsessed with earl grey- it’s my favorite flavor of macaron, and recently tried (and loved!) an earl grey latte.

    Maryanne Cabrera

    There’s this local cafe that serves “London Fog” – it’s an earl grey latte with a shot of espresso. That drink started my earl grey obsession. SO GOOD! I haven’t tried an earl grey macaron… must find one soon! :)

Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)

Girlfriend this cake is absolutely stunning. Like I will be seriously dreaming about its perfection!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thank you so much Jocelyn! That means so much coming from you :) xoxo

June @ How to Philosophize with Cake

That looks amazing! Definitely a worthy use for fresh figs. Love the earl grey flavor too :)


This is an amazing cake! My store has been selling big containers of figs for cheap, we can’t get enough of them :)

[email protected] Cooking on the Front Burner

What a show stopper of a dessert – it looks fantastic!

Andi @ The Weary Chef

I love the taste of figs, and I can’t think of a more beautiful fruit. This cake looks amazing! I’m also completely smitten with your blog design. So clean and sweet and welcoming :)

Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life

An absolutely beautiful cake! My best friend loves figs so I can’t wait until they are in season here in Australia. I’ll be showing up with this gorgeous creation at one of our summer family barbecues for sure :)
I love all the different elements, all special and awesome, and put together they create a lovely, complexly flavoured, cake.

Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector)

My family loves figs, and this is such a beautiful cake!

Meg @ With Salt and Wit

Oh those fig newtons still take me back to my childhood and how they were ‘Mom’s cookies’ because you know, I wanted the chocoalte, caramel and peanut butter loaded cookies. None with fruit in it! Now as I approach my 30’s, I adore all things with figs. This cake is a beauty!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Meg! Hmm.. if given a choice between figs and chocolate/caramel/peanut butter… I’d have to think really hard :)


This is one gorgeous cake! I love how thick the layers are. And the figs are a great touch!

Michelle @ The Complete Savorist

This is beautiful. If my cakes ever turned out this pretty, I’d be loathe to cut into it.

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Michelle! Slicing into the cake is always torture for me!

Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen

Gorgeous Maryanne! I have been dying to make things with figs lately! This is going to the top of the list!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Mary Ann! I’ve been so obsessed with figs this summer. More fig recipes coming up soon!


This recipe is calling to me – tea and figs and cake, pinkies out!

Caroline @ Pinch Me, I'm Eating

This looks incredible! I, too, love all things figgy and Earl Grey-infused and this sounds like a delightful combo! Can’t wait to try this soon. Any suggestions for something to use instead of vanilla paste? I have extract and vanilla bean powder at home. Thanks for sharing this beautiful dessert!

Annie Feng

So keen for this when Figs are back in season down in Aus!

Sarah N

Made this cake yesterday! It was a huge hit. Everyone loved it! Just wondering if the cake is supposed to be on the denser side. Wonder if it was because I didn’t Use a mixer


Could you tell me the ingredients scaled for 9″ pans? Is it just an additional 1/3 of everything?

Thanks, Monica


    Monica, for 9 inch pans, triple the quantity of ingredients.

Christine Kwak

Omg thus looks amazing and sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try!


Do you think one could add chopped pistachios in the batter or substitute pistachios for walnuts in this recipe?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    If you add chopped pistachios in the batter, it make it a bit difficult slicing the cake. Yes, you can definitely sub in pistachios for walnuts to garnish the cake!


This looks amazing, we had earl grey as a flavor for our wedding cake, I can’t wait to make this for my wife for her birthday this year. Additionally, that cake stand is gorgeous, any chance of you sharing where it came from?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Hope your wife has a very happy birthday! That’s so sweet that you’re making her cake! The cake stand is from Aheirloom. They make great cake stands!


Can I just ask if anyone has actually made this cake? I’ve read a lot of the comments below and everyone seems to be saying how much they love figs, and how beautiful the cake is (which i agree with!), but has anyone made it?

I made it this evening and it was a disaster! A stodgy sponge with no trace of earl grey flavour. I am in England, so maybe I got the proportions wrong (I always find the whole cup/tablespoon thing difficult) I do wonder why not just weigh ingredients??

Anyway. it was unusable. I’ve made the icing, so am now baking a sponge to use it on, and I have the figs and pistachios, so hope it will come good in the end, but I have thrown the original cakes away!

I just wanted to ask…was it just unbeaten egg whites as the recipe says? Is it plain flour not self raising (this is what google told me cake flour is).

I’d be grateful to understand where I went so wrong! Many thanks!


    I’m having trouble too. So far this darn cake has been in my oven for over an hour with no signs of firming up.

    Maryanne Cabrera

    I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve made this cake several times without fail. I also test each recipe at least three times before posting it on my site.

    Perhaps your oven temperature is off? I keep a thermometer in my oven to ensure the temperature inside is accurate.


Hi. When younsay stir in egg whites, do you mean whipped or not?
I made this cake a year or two ago and it came out beautifully, but for the life if me I can’t remember if I beat the egg whites or not

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Simply stir the egg whites with the tea and vanilla until smooth. No need to whip it.


Hello! When I saw this recipe it was love at first sight, so I waited for the figs on my tree to be ready and this afternoon I tried to make the cake. It was a bit of a disaster.. The Earl Grey cake part was fine, I took it out of the oven, got it out of the pan. Wonderful! The frosting part… Not so much. I’m Italian, so I converted the measures in grams and I thought I did it right.. But it came out liquid.. I don’t know why, and ruined the whole thing. I mean, I completed the cake but it is obviously horrible.. Sooo thoughts to help me for a possible next time?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Hi Elisa! Thanks for trying out the recipe. Did you use American block cream cheese? Or did you use soft Italian cream cheese like mascarpone? They are very different. Mascarpone is much softer and would cause the frosting to turn into a liquid.


hi! can you make this cake sugar free? i love the idea but I cant have sugar 😥😋😊❤

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Sorry, I don’t have experience using sugar-free baking substitutes.


This looks amazing but can I make it with two 9 inch layers and the same amount of frosting?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Yes, you can bake it in two 9-inch cake pans. The layers will be much thinner and you will have to reduce the baking time by 5-10 minutes or so. Frosting will be just enough to create the “naked” look similar to the ones in the photos.


Hi! Can I use 1/2 honey in place of 3/4 cup sugar in the cake?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Hi! I don’t recommend it. The creaming of the butter and sugar creates texture and helps with the leavening of the cake.

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