I Samuel 30:12: 'and gave him a piece of fig-cake and two raisin-cake'. The are many references to fruit cakes given as gifts and in payment for goods or services in the scriptures. I am wondering what these cakes looked like. Were they compressed fruit that could be easily transported and sliced as required? Was it a method of preserving the fruit? Did they come in a particular size?
Figs were an important source of food. Figs were cultivated throughout the land of Israel and fresh or dried figs were part of the daily diet. A common way of preparing dried figs was to chop them and press them into a cake.
Raisins were also pressed into clusters and dried as cakes, which kept the interior raisins softer
Figs are one of the biblical Seven Species and are frequently mentioned in the Bible (for example, 1 Samuel 25:18, 1 Samuel 30:12 and 1 Chronicles 12:41). The remains of dried figs have been discovered from as early as the Neolithic period in Gezer, Israel and Gilgal in the Jordan Valley.
The fig tree (ficus carica) grew well in the hill country and produced two crops a season. Early ripening figs were regarded as delicacy because of their sweetness and were eaten fresh. Figs ripening in the later harvest were often dried and strung into a chain, or pressed into hard round or square-shaped cakes called a develah, and stored as a major source of winter food. The blocks of dried fig were sliced and eaten like bread