One quiet morning this past summer, I woke up at a Chateau in Bordeaux. Chateau Tertre was a little bit south of Bordeaux, set among the grape vines that grace the rolling hills. This is a french Chateau in all of it's simple, country majesty. I felt a little giddy, for being so fortunate to be able to spend 4 uninterrupted days in this out of the way place with some of the most talented women food photographers and bloggers from around the world. We were there to share ideas, food, photographs and most importantly, to learn and draw inspiration from each other about our common path; of creating artful photographs with food.
What is it that drives us to want to photograph food over and over? Is it our umbilical attachment to nourishment that makes us spin visual tales about the delicate flavors that permeate a block of cheese? Or the intoxicating memories of a wondrous bottle of wine? Food photographers are a special lot, sisters from different mothers, I think. We love food, love to eat, love to nourish each other and ourselves through food. It's a hedonistic pleasure, to indulge oneself in food and create, and create, and create our art.
So, of course we embarked in our not so guilty pleasure. Our first task was to photograph a lovely Orange Fig and Honey cake made by Linda Lomelino. Not only is Linda a great cook, but she is also a wonderful model, having spent alot of time behind the camera, she understands the many layers of a photo shoot.
Linda is quite the chef. She writes cookbooks and has a wonderful blog; Call Me Cupcake. I searched around her blog for the recipe to this wonderful cake, but , I couldn't locate her version.
The figs, apples, grapes and lavender came from the Chateau. Integrating "gathering" into this photo shoot only made it that much more special.
I couldn't find a recipe from Linda, but I did find a great recipe from Amanda Powell.
Honey Cake with Whipped Mascarpone and Figs
Prep time; 15 minutes Cook time 25 minutes Total Time 1 hour
A simple, yet exotic honey cake with whipped mascarpone and fresh figs. The perfect end of summer dessert. This recipe makes one layer of cake. If you want to make the cake shown in the photos, double the recipe. Create art. Nourish your soul.
Author: Amanda Powell
Serves: 1 cake
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- ½ cup honey, plus more for drizzling
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ cup buttermilk
- zest of one orange
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 5 oz mascarpone, chilled
- ½ cup heavy cream, chilled
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ scant teaspoon almond extract
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 5 - 6 fresh figs
- Grease and flour an 8" round baking pan (one that is about 3" high is best). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, honey, oil, eggs, buttermilk, and orange zest until well combined.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Create a well in the flour, then pour the wet ingredients. Mix until combined, but not over mixed. It is okay if there are a few lumps.
- Pour into the baking pan and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, whip the mascarpone. Add the heavy cream and extracts then beat until soft peaks form. Gently whisk in the powdered sugar.
- Spread the whipped mascarpone onto the cooled cake. Slice the figs and place on top of the cake, then finish with a drizzling of honey.
I can't leave this post without giving the biggest of thanks to Eva Kosmas Flores and Carey Nershi for their tenderhearted guidance and the opportunity that these workshops provide. First We Eat Workshops is a first class program assisting all levels of photographers on their quest to hone their craft and to create the ultimate food photograph.