Apologies for not letting all of you know that I’d be away from my desk for a few days; I have food adventures to report, but I’ll get to those tomorrow.
In the meantime, chocolate cake. Specifically, chocolate basil cake. My parents are visiting, my dad loves chocolate—what better reason to bake a cake? Moreover, it was relatively cool yesterday thanks to a few thunderstorms; there was a chance I wouldn’t melt from the heat of the oven.
This dessert evolved last summer, the result of my husband’s prowess in growing fresh herbs. We had a bumper crop of basil, and because I’ve always loved making desserts with fresh mint, it came to me that I might be able to use fresh basil in similar ways as the mint. Basil has essences of mint and cinnamon to me, so it seemed relatively reasonable (unlike some of my other experiments)
I soon discovered from my trials (and only a few errors) that basil works beautifully in a wide range of desserts, especially chocolate ones. (Part of the inspiration came from samplings of chocolates from innovative chocolatiers, such as Vosges chocolates, for their unusual chocolate flavors.)
I developed the cake and frosting for my Enlightened Chocolate book, but with other flavorings. It’s a one-bowl batter cake; no beaters required. It turns out perfectly every time, even when (as I have done) you (almost) forget to add the baking soda and have to stir it in to the finished batter.
To transform the cake into a basil creation, I saunttered down easy lane, processing the basil and sugar with a few pulses in the food processor. It takes all of 30 seconds and the result looks like gorgeous emerald green sand; it adds a familiar yet exotic flavor to the cake.
Stay tuned later this evening: I’ll be posting a giveaway option for some yummy treats, something I haven’t done before.
Cheers, and happy baking!
Enlightened Chocolate Basil Cake with Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
Nonstick baking spray with flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves (plus addition leaves for garnish)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup hot water
1 recipe chocolate sour cream, frosting (below)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.
Place the sugar and basil in a food processor. Process until basil is chopped fine and uniformly green in color (it will look slightly wet).
In a large bowl whisk the melted butter, cocoa powder and basil sugar until well-blended. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, until blended and smooth. Stir in the baking soda, vanilla, and salt.
Gradually add flour to bowl, stirring just until blended (do not overstir). Add hot water to mixture, stirring just until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 22-25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares. Cool completely, Prepare sour cream frosting. Spread over cake and garnish with basil leaves, if desired. Makes 9 servings (serving size: 1 wedge).
Light Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
6 tablespoon reduced fat sour cream
1 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl whisk the powdered sugar and cocoa powder; set aside. In a separate medium bowl beat the sour cream and melted chocolate with an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Gradually add sugar mixture to sour cream mixture, beating at low speed until well-blended. Add vanilla and beat well for 1 minute until very smooth and creamy.
Nutrition per Serving (1/9 of frosted cake):
Calories 281; Fat 8.9g (poly 2.6g, mono 4.7g, sat 1.1g); Protein 5.3g; Cholesterol 1mg; Carbohydrate 50g.