This Strawberry Lemon cake with Basil Buttercream Frosting is moist, and packed with fresh, sweet berries. The lemon brightens up the cake, giving it a clean, summer taste. The Basil Buttercream is light and fresh too- not too sweet or heavy, and perfect for a summer dessert. I like to make a simple single layer cake, frosting only the top. I am not a fan of heavy, rich desserts in the summer, so I wanted this cake to have a simple, laid back feel, appropriate for serving on the back deck after a day of burgers and sangria in the sun. Topped with fresh berries, this Strawberry Lemon Cake with Basil Buttercream Frosting looks like it just stepped out of the garden!
This week was the first week of our local CSA program, and I’ve been looking forward to an abundance of fresh produce from my favorite New York farms! Our first CSA share was full of delicious, freshly picked strawberries. I knew right away I’d be making this cake, because it is one of my favorites. Strawberries are a staple in our house and I always have an abundance of fresh basil, either in my window pots or in the garden and I like coming up with new ways to use it. In fact, if you love basil check out my Peach Basil jam, which is one of my most requested jams around the holidays.
If you’re looking for something that just screams warm summer days this cake will not disappoint – although you don’t see basil in very many dessert recipes, the flavor compliments the strawberries and lemon in such a way that you’ll find it hard to resist going back for seconds. I’ve made this with both bottled lemon juice and fresh lemons and you can definitely taste the difference, so I would recommend making sure you have some fresh lemons on hand for this (you’ll need three) – the lemon zest also imparts a flavor you just won’t get from the bottle!
- 1 1/2 Cups flour + 1 Tablespoon
- 1 Cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 Cup (one stick) butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 Cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Lemons, zest and juice
- 2 Cups fresh strawberries, chopped
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 2 Cups of confectioner’s sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Zest and juice the lemons.
- In a medium bowl combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix well.
- In you mixer combine the butter, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest. Mix on medium speed.
- Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of flour over the chopped strawberries, mixing gently until they are coated. Slowly fold the berries into the batter.
- Pour the batter into your pan and bake in a 350 degree oven.
- For a a 9 or 10 inch round pan bake 40 – 45 minutes.
- For an 8 in rouch pan bake 37 – 42 minutes.
- In your mixer mix the butter and sugar until completely combined. Add the lemon juice, zest and basil. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and frost cake.
- I like to add some fresh berries and basil leaves to the top of my cake before serving. If you’re making this ahead of time pop it – covered – in the refrigerator until you need it. Remove it about an hour before serving and allow it to warm up.
After trying it for the first time a friend of mine exclaimed that it reminded her of childhood summers – and it’s hard to not be reminiscent over this cake – because it does! It reminds you of lemonade and fingers sticky from the strawberry juice that runs down them as you bite into the fresh fruit. It brings you back to the smell of basil the wind carries from the small backyard garden as you sit out on the front porch with in the late afternoon. And it’s hard not to fall in love with this cake after the very first bite!
My basil plants are a little more under control thanks to sheer number of times this cake has been requested at barbecues lately, but it won’t be long before I have more than I know what to do with again. What are your favorite recipes for using up excess basil?
And for a little more inspiration, check out my Peach Basil Jam!