First, preheat your oven to 180C (160C fan, gas 4). Then, grease some muffin or pudding tins with plenty of butter (or marge, if it’s all you have!).
Chop your figs into discs no more than half a centimetre thick. Add a teaspoon of syrup or sugar to the bottom of 6 pudding tins or 10 muffin spaces – you can add more if you have leftover mix so save half a fig! On top of your sugar/syrup, place one or two of your fig discs.
Into a large bowl, add the eggs, margarine, flour, sugar, baking powder and milk. Using an electric or hand whisk, whisk everything together until totally smooth and just a tiny wee bit lighter than it was before. You’ll notice a subtle change. Don’t overmix – no more than 30s to a minute.
Place your cake mix on top of your fig discs in your tin – don’t fill more than ¾ of the way as this mix will rise like nothing else! Place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until a pale golden brown and springy when pressed.
When they’re done, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. When ready, turn them out so the figs are on top. You can add some more syrup or dust with icing sugar at this point, then serve, hot, with custard or ice cream. They can be microwaved to re-heat.
When buying your figs, look for a soft, dark skin. Figs don’t ripen after they’ve been packaged so don’t buy harder, greener ones and expect them to become nice. If they have a sour smell, they’re usually a wee bit past their best. Local is nearly always best; they don’t travel well.