Strawberry and basil is a classic combination, though maybe not in cake form I’ll concede. The idea to combine them in cake just sprung into my head one day, and when I thought about the flavour combination and how lovely the colours would look together I just knew I had to create it!
This definitely is abit of a marmite bake, I’m not sure my parents were so interested when I proffered it to them. But, I really love it. The basil cake is almost savoury in flavour, but paired with the sweet strawberry buttercream is the perfect combination. If you don’t have as big of a sweet tooth, this could be the perfect bake for you!
To make the basil cake I blitzed a load of basil leaves with the caster sugar, and then just made a simple traybake cake as if I were using regular sugar. Infusing the basil this way really helped to ensure the flavour was distributed evenly throughout, and gave the gorgeous green coloured sponge – no artificial food colouring needed here!
I decided to create a traybake, as I really wanted to cut out little circles to make ‘mini’ cakes. But you could just as easily pour the batter into two (or maybe three!) layer cake tins and stack and buttercream a regular cake. Its extra work to make the mini cakes, but I think they look so adorable! And are abit different than cutting a regular slice. With this method though, they are best eaten on the day of baking.
For the buttercream, I created a simple butter/icing sugar combo but added freeze-dried strawberries that I had blitzed to a fine powder. I love using freeze-dried fruit in recipes. Its so versatile and gives such a powerful flavour that doesn’t taste synthetic. And of course, it also means a natural food colouring!
I really hope you like these strawberry and basil cakes, especially after all the chocolate consumed over Easter!
Strawberry and Basil Cakes
- 2 tbsp basil leaves from four stalks
- 225 g caster sugar
- 225 g unsalted butter
- 275 g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 4 tbsp whole milk
- 3 g freeze-dried strawberries
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 175 g icing sugar
- For the cake: Firstly, preheat the oven to Fan 160C/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line a 30x23cm baking tin.
- Place the basil leaves and sugar into a food processor, and blitz until the basil is completely broken up and combined.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and basil sugar using an electric whisk until its light and fluffy. Then add the rest of the cake ingredients and beat until just combined, ensuring you scrape down the sides to incorporate the whole mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake has shrunk a little from the sides of the tin and springs back when lightly pressed. Leave the cake to cool a little in the tin, and then remove and place onto a cooling rack.
- For the buttercream: Blitz the freeze-dried strawberries until they're a fine powder. Then place in a bowl, with the butter and icing sugar. Whisk using an electric whisk, for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Then place in a piping bag and set aside.
- To assemble: Once the basil cake is completely cool, using a 2.5 inch round cutter, cut out 16 rounds. Then snip off the end of the piping bag, and pipe small circles on top of each cake round before stacking them to create 8 mini cakes.