Lady Baltimore Frosting:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
2/3 cup water
2 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch coarse salt
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved, continue to cook without stirring, until it reaches 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Beat the egg whites, vanilla, and the salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form. When the sugar mixture has reached 248 degrees F, pour it into the beaten egg whites, while beating constantly on high speed, until the mixture is cool and is the proper consistency for spreading, about 7 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. .
Butter and flour 2 (9 by 2-inch) round pans; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt 3 times; set aside. .
Prepare cakes: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and water, and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Set batter aside. .
In a clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold gently into reserved batter until well combined. .
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans, and return to the rack to cool, top sides up. .
Prepare filling: Transfer 1 cup frosting to a medium bowl. Add the figs, raisins, and nuts. Stir to combine, and set aside. .
Assemble cake: Place 1 layer on a serving plate; spread with filling. Place the second cake layer on top. Spread frosting over the sides and top of the cake.
(c)2003 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.