There are all sorts of berries that have been popping up on my feed lately – partly cos it’s summer in most places! Living in a perpetual tropical island in Singapore, we don’t really have 4 seasons – it’s kinda summer all the time and some people love it. I guess that means we do get berries year round, but they are extra big and sweet and juicy during these months!
I love using berries for their natural colour and flavour, and I love anything mixed berries (esp tarts OMG MIXED BERRIES TARTS anyone feeling me??). But one thing I’ve learnt the past couple of months is that basil goes very well berries, esp the ones that tend to the more sour spectrum (think red berries and raspberries). I only stumbled upon this life-changing revelation when I visited a quaint little ice cream store near where I live. They were serving home-churned ice cream in thyme-infused cones. I was munching on blue berries that I just bought from the grocery store when my heart decided I needed some ice cream in my life. I bought the basil flavour to go with my thyme-cone and because my 2 hands were now full with a box of blue berries and an ice cream, I topped the Basil Ice Cream with my berries. I think I inhaled that combination in 3 minutes flat.
I immediately went online to find some sort of combination recipe, and this is adapted from a recipe from the ever wonderful The Woks of Life. I added more butter so that it’ll be moister and denser, just the way I liked it. The berries used are up to you, so I used whatever I could find - raspberries, strawberries and blueberries
Basil seems to be increasingly versatile in the food I’ve been preparing. Now it has it footprints on both my sweet and savoury recipes. A really awesome part of this cake is the final glaze to give it a gorgeous shine. It not only makes it more beautiful than it already is, but it also seals in the flavour in each and every bite – the taste of summer.
I recommend eating this slightly warmed up, with a touch of plain vanilla ice cream or cream. It’s also great for baking the night before, and then grabbing a quick slice to-go on a hectic Monday morning. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, remember?
Now please be prepared for a photo spam. I can’t think of anything else nicer than a mixed berries medley and basil infused sugar!
Berry Butter Cake with Basil
Makes a 9-inch regular cake
3/4 cup sugar
15 basil leaves
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 teaspoon baking powder
A sprinkle of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups of mixed berries - I used strawberries (cut), raspberries and blueberries this round
1/4 cup apricot jam
1. Grease a 9-inch rounded cake pan
2. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C
3. In a food processor, blitz the sugar, basil leaves and lemon zest. Make sure there are no obvious pieces of basil leaves or lemon zest left. You should get a beautiful green coloured basil-flavoured sugar
(Look at that late afternoon light!)
4. Set aside 1 tablespoon of sugar
5. Mix together the remaining sugar, softened butter, baking powder and salt until smooth
6. Add in the eggs 1 at a time until combined. Then mix in the vanilla extract
7. Lower the mixer speed and add in the flour. Mix till thoroughly combined but make sure you do not over-mix it. The batter should be a beautiful green.
8. Spread the batter onto the pan - it should be a relatively thin later
9. Sprinkle the berries onto the batter and lightly press down (do not submerge them). Then sprinkle the remaining basil-flavoured sugar over the berries
(Topped with the basil sugar!)
10. Bake for 30-35 mins, or until an inserted toothpick in the middle comes out clean
11. Let the cake cool till room temperature.
(Fresh out of the pan!)
12. In the mean time, heat up the apricot jam in a small bowl until warm and of a glaze texture. Brush the top of the cake gently with the warmed apricot jam to give if the finishing touch
13. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or cream, or even cold as a quick snack.