Fresh Raspberry Basil Coffee Cake & Cream Cheese Buttercream

EpicureanPiranha | July 30th, 2011 - 20:01

Juicy Raspberries & Fragrant Basil ~ Beautiful & Delicious

Fresh Raspberry & Basil Coffee Cake 09

This wonderful coffee cake is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea in the garden!

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.

Fresh raspberries from the garden

Juicy, ruby-red, summer raspberries ~ delicious!

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.

Fresh Raspberry & Basil Coffee Cake

Go on! Be tempted :-}

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.


Fresh Raspberry & Basil Coffee Cake 04

The marriage of fresh raspberries and basil is perfect! The cake itself is rich and moist, yet still feels light.


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 ♥

Fresh Raspberry & Basil Coffee Cake with Lemon-scented Cream Cheese Buttercream

This delicious cake is even more delicious with a Lemon-scented Cream Cheese Buttercream. If you serve the cake warm, just add a dollop of buttercream, crème fraiche or thick, rich, Greek yogurt and more fresh berries to each plate at the last minute before serving.


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.

Fresh Raspberry & Basil Coffee Cake

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 ♥

The Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and position the rack in the centre of the oven [or for fan ovens, 160 C or 325 F).
  • Butter a 23 cm (9 inch) square Pyrex® dish.
Metric Ingredient Preparation
500 ml All-purpose (plain) flour
10 ml Baking powder
3.75 ml Salt
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.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl until well combined.
  • Add the butter to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light. Add the sugar and continue beating for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating very well between each until mixture is pale and smooth.
  • Now, fold in about a third of the flour mixture by hand just to moisten (there will be lumps).
  • Fold in about half the milk until almost combined, then add the remaining flour mixture and fold in just to moisten.
  • Fold in the remaining milk until almost combined.
  • Fold in raspberries and basil, and immediately pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Even out the top with a knife or spatula.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over cook!
  • Place the cake on a cake rack to cool, leaving it in the baking dish.
  • Once the cake is completely cold, it can be iced with the Cream Cheese Buttercream below, or if you want to serve it warm, then just top each portion right before serving with a dollop of the buttercream, crème fraiche, or even with rich, creamy, full fat Greek yogurt and fresh raspberries.

The Lemon-scented Cream Cheese Buttercream:

Quantity Ingredient Preparation
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.
  • Zest the lemon if using and set aside.
  • Add the cream cheese and butter to the food processor; pulse a few times just to loosen.
  • Add half of the icing sugar, and pulse just until barely incorporated. Add remaining sugar and scrape bowl down.
  • Pulse a few times until sugar is nearly incorporated. Add vanilla and lemon zest. Pulse until creamy.

Use to frost the completely cooled cake or serve on the side if you want to eat the cake while it’s still warm.

2 Responses to “Fresh Raspberry Basil Coffee Cake & Cream Cheese Buttercream”

  1. dubonnet says:

    Ahhh! T.y!!! I must try this while the raspberries are still available!
    Hope you post the green tea and white chocolate one here too….I accidently deleted the one you sent me…!

    • Hi Sharon ~ I’m not sure from which account I sent it to you, but I’ll try to find it and email through again. I will be posting it but I want to post a few other things first (which I think you’ll like!) :- >

      Have a great weekend!

      ~ marie x

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