Give your dessert a twist with a chocolate basil cake
Give your dessert a twist with a chocolate basil cake

Give your dessert a twist with a chocolate basil cake

If you’re an inner-city dweller who uses your small abode as an excuse for not growing your own food, then new cookbook Courtyard Kitchen is for you. Author Natalie Boog guides readers through the process of growing their own herbs and potted fruits on balconies, courtyards and window boxes, from selecting the best plants for your space to information on seasons and plant care, before dishing up more than 80 recipes using those home-grown goodies. This divine cake snips basil straight from the garden and throws it into the mixing bowl with your usual baking staples to create a moreish chocolate cake with a herby zest.

1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
4 large handfuls basil leaves
100 g unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
½ cup hot water

60 g unsalted butter, softened
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅓ cup milk
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
3½ cups icing sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 20-cm round cake tin and line with baking paper.

Process the sugar and basil in a food processor until the basil is finely chopped.

Put the melted butter, cocoa and basil sugar in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until smooth and well combined. Stir in the baking powder and salt, then slowly add the flour and stir until just combined. Add the hot water and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand for five minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting, beat the butter and cocoa together using an electric mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the milk and vanilla and combine well. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Recipe and images from Courtyard Kitchen by Natalie Boog, published by Murdoch Books. 

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