Local flavor: The Kinnakeet fig cake

Published 7:03 am Friday, December 18, 2020

In every village along the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, interpretive storyboards are now installed. The 21 displays tell stories gathered from the villages along one of the nation’s great coastal landscapes.

The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, one of only 150 national byways in the United States, follows NC 12 for 138 miles from Whalebone Junction in Dare County through Bodie Island and Hatteras Island, to Ocracoke and on to Down East Carteret County. Two ferry rides are part of this national byway.

The Kinnakeet – now Avon – interpretive panel shows historic pictures of the village harbor and a schoolhouse. Another historic photograph captures the hunting tradition of Avon and Hatteras Island.

The interpretive panel for Kinnakeet is installed along the Avon sidewalk running beside the NC 12 Highway and in front of Kinnakeet Shores Soundside. Look for one of two green benches.

fig cake

Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy photo

Each interpretive panel has a recipe from the village in the lower right corner of the display.

The Taste of Kinnakeet is a traditional community recipe for fig cake.

Many variations of this traditional dessert exist and in the Kinnakeet Kitchens Cookbook, published by the St. John’s United Methodist Church Women in 2008, three slightly different recipes for fig cake are included.

On Ocracoke Island, an annual fig festival is held in August.

The Ocracoke Preservation Society tells the story of the creation of the traditional Ocracoke fig cake. “Once upon a time, Margaret Garrish, an Ocracoke housewife, wanted to bake a date cake. But here she was, stuck on an island, with no dates in her pantry, so she substituted with something she had on hand: fig preserves. Thus, the Ocracoke fig cake (as we know it today) was born.”

A Taste of Kinnakeet (Avon)

Kinnakeet Fig Cake

2 cups sugar

1 cup cooking oil

3 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cooked figs or 1 pint-jar of fig preserves

1 cup chopped pecans

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. allspice

Combine all ingredients in the order they are listed and beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Follow the order they are added for a delicious fig cake.

Pour into well-greased tube pan and bake one hour at 350 degrees.

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