Lemon and basil cake

Lemon and basil cake

By
From
Slow
Serves
10
Photographer
Tara Fisher

This is a traditional method for making a cake, but the basil isn’t a traditional addition. Using it in cakes and puddings gives them the flavour of pistachios – it sounds odd, but it really does. It’s great with lemon, and next time you have strawberries, try them with fresh basil. It was one of my chef’s ideas to blend the sugar with the basil for the topping, and it works a treat.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g melted butter, plus extra for greasing
250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
4 lemons, grated zest and juiced
350g caster sugar
6 eggs
150ml double cream
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
25g fresh basil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and dust a 1kg loaf tin with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. Put the lemon zest in a large mixing bowl with 300g of the sugar, eggs, cream, salt and melted butter. Whisk with an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy, then gradually add the flour and baking powder. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  3. Check if the cake is cooked by inserting a clean skewer or knife into the centre – if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If not, bake for a further 10 minutes and check once more.
  4. Meanwhile, strain the lemon juice into a small food processor and add the remaining 50g sugar and basil leaves and stalks. Process to a fine purée, then pass through a sieve into a bowl.
  5. Spoon the basil syrup over the cake and leave it to soak in for 30 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the tin, slice and serve warm or cold.
Tags:
James Martin
Saturday Kitchen
slow cooking
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