Juicy, ruby-red, summer raspberries, are one of my favourite summer fruits! My preferred way of savouring these beauties is to eat them fresh with nothing added, or lightly crushed with whipped cream or thick, rich, Greek yogurt, sandwiched in layers of meringue.
But a few summers ago, I had the pleasure of staying at “Auberge Le Coeur d’Or“, a charming auberge in North Hatley (Quebec). The inn is owned and operated by charming hosts Carole and her husband, gourmet chef Dominique. Dominique prepares the wonderful meals as well as other delicious treats, such as home-made jams, served in their charming restaurant. I discovered that these were available for purchase, so I stocked up on several before leaving. Dominique’s fresh raspberry and basil jam was a revelation, the basil adding delicate warm notes and toning down the usual sweetness of pure raspberry jam. It is this lovely marriage of flavours which inspired me to create this scrumptious coffee cake.
It may sound like there is a lot of basil in the cake, but the flavour is actually quite delicate, especially if you purchase the basil from a supermarket, whether it is in a small packet or a small plant. Fresh basil grown in your garden will normally have more flavour, as will Thai or Vietnamese basil. Believe it or not, there are approximately 150 types of basil, according to some sources! (I grow six of these myself.) So try using different types. Thai basil is especially good if you can find it.
I like to serve this cake with a Cream Cheese Buttercream, or a more traditional European buttercream made with a custard, perfumed with vanilla and lemon zest. If you prefer, serve the cake warm: place a square of cake on a serving plate, top with a dollop of buttercream, crème fraiche, or rich, creamy, full fat Greek yogurt, and decorate with fresh raspberries or a raspberry-basil coulis ♥
I have to admit that I used to have a hard time making cream cheese- based frostings until I discovered the method below ~ they would always be too runny! I discovered the secrets to making cream-cheese frostings that are thick enough to swirl into pretty patterns, or even pipe in decorative shapes, is to (1) use the cream cheese cold from the fridge, and (2) not to overbeat it! Overbeating will cause the cheese to break down and become thin and lumpy, which is definitely not what you want! The butter should be at room temperature but not too soft. The best way of making this smooth, creamy buttercream is to use a food processor. If you don’t have one, then be careful not to overbeat it ~ stop as soon as a thick, creamy consistency is reached.
Although this cake tastes best served the day it’s made, it will keep in the fridge for several days. Cover the dish with cling film and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Enjoy ♥
|500 ml||All-purpose (plain) flour|
|10 ml||Baking powder|
|170 g||Sweet (unsalted) butter||Room temperature (170 g = 3/4 cup)|
|375 ml||Granulated sugar|
|2||Large eggs||Room temperature.|
|185 ml||Milk||Room temperature.|
|400 ml||Fresh raspberries||Do not use frozen as the mixture will be too wet!.|
|45 ml||Hand torn fresh basil leaves, packed.|
|250 ml||Cream cheese||Cold. I use Philadelphia.|
|90 g||Sweet (unsalted) butter||Room temperature but not too soft.|
|500 ml||Icing (powdered) sugar||Sift if lumpy.|
|5 ml||Vanilla extract|
|Zest of a large lemon||If you prefer, replace by an additional 5 ml of vanilla.|
Use to frost the completely cooled cake or serve on the side if you want to eat the cake while it’s still warm.