This freezer friendly cake is great to have in case of any unexpected guests. Make Philippa Davis' fig, chocolate and cognac cake for a stress-free Christmas


This fig, chocolate and cognac cake is perfect for the festive season. It keeps well up to four days and it is suitable for freezing, making it a great offering for when an unexpected guest arrives for tea.

For more festive sweet treats, try our Christmas brownies with hazelnuts and cherries or biscotti with almonds and orange.


This fig, chocolate and cognac cake smells so delicious when it’s baking that you will want it eat it straightaway but if you can hold back it will keep really well for up to four days. It freezes perfectly so it’s great as part of your Christmas feasting armoury; it’s also gluten free.

Serves 8 – 10

  • 200g dried figs
  • 150ml cognac
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 300g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 150g salted butter
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 100g caster sugar

To serve

  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp icing sugar
  • 250g of brandy butter

To make this fig, chocolate and cognac cake, you will need a 10in springform cake tin lightly greased and lined with baking paper. Arrange your oven with a low shelf and a high one. Then place a flat baking tray on the higher shelf. This will help prevent the top of the cake becoming overcooked.

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

In a small saucepan heat the figs, cognac and honey till the liquid has evaporated by just over half. Leave to cool then blitz in a food processor till smooth.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl set over gently simmering water. Once melted, take off the heat, give it a quick whisk and leave to cool slightly.

Quickly whisk the yolks into the chocolate mix, then add the blitzed fig mixture. Using an electric mixer whisk the whites into soft peak then add the sugar in a couple of stages over a few minutes – you are not making meringue but you want the whites to hold their shape.

Stir a third of the whites into the chocolate to loosen the mix then gently fold in the rest of the whites trying not to knock out too much air but making sure there are no blobs of white left.

Carefully pour into the tin and bake on the lower shelf for 35 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Once cooked leave to cool in the tin then turn out on to a plate, dust with cocoa powder and icing sugar and serve in slices with a spoonful of brandy butter.