Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Basil Olive Oil Cake with Strawberry Balsamic Buttercream

What happens when you pick up good habits? Your bad, bad habits strike back with a vengeance. If walls could talk, my kitchen would reveal how much I love licking eggy, salmonella-laced batter off of the spatula and munching on salted nuts handfuls at a time. It would tell of the cakes that I've baked but not eaten, of the guacamole I've scooped right off of the kitchen counter and introduced to my savory-craver, of the time I almost got drunk off of a spoonful of vanilla extract (God, help me).

Good habit: starting a new workout routine. Bad habit: baking cakes and cupcakes (and frosting) the night before your pilates class. Verdict: worth every bite. Because my sweet tooth has never really sprung, I am constantly searching for palate whetting desserts that satisfy my need for muted flavors. This recipe came to mind after finding similar, but not quite perfect dishes. And here's a little secret: it's semi-homemade. Do I look like I have time to make a cake from scratch? Girl, please. I added a bit of my favorite herb and a few splashes (plus one) of my faaavorite condiment and voila: basil olive oil cake with strawberry balsamic buttercream. Fresh enough for spring, but deeply flavorful for any season.

Yield: 9 inch cake

> 1 box classic yellow cake mix (sub cooking oil for olive oil)
> 1 bunch basil (shredded)

> 1 cup butter (softened)
> pinch of salt
> 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
> 1 box confectioners' sugar (16 oz.)
> 1/2 cup strawberry preserves (I used sugar-free)
> 2 or so tablespoons balsamic vinegar (to taste)

- Prepare cake mix as directed on box, substituting olive oil for cooking oil.
- Rough chop/shred basil leaves, leaving stems out, and add to batter.
- Mix with electric beater until incorporated.

- Whip butter, salt, and vanilla until creamy.
- Then, whip in powdered sugar in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. 
- Add jam and vinegar and continue until incorporated.

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Merci beaucoup!

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