Basil Olive Oil Cake

Three layers of basil scented cake filled with just a hint of Lemon Mousseline Buttercream make an elegant summer treat. The filling is based on pastry cream. Start by making Basil Water to flavor the cake. Recipe credited to NYC pastry Chef, Ron Paprocki.


  • 8 oz bundle of fresh basil, leaves and stems
  • 4 cups (946 ml) boiling water
  • 2 quart (1.9 l) ice bath
  • 1 cup (236ml) water
  • 2 cups (240 gr) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon (3 gr) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (2 gr) baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 gr) salt
  • 1 ½ (320 gr) cups sugar
  • ¾ cup (175 ml) basil water
  • 2 eggs (100 gr)
  • 2 ¼ cups (532 ml) milk
  • ¾ cup (150 gr) sugar
  • 3 egg yolks (54 gr)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup (28 gr) cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (283 gr) butter
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 ¼ cups (769 ml) of pastry cream


Time: 2 hours
  • Blanch the basil leaves for 20 seconds. Lift them with a skimmer or slotted spoon and refresh in ice water.
  • In a blender, combine 1 cup of water with the basil leaves. Blend on high for 1 minute. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer and reserve. Discard any bits that remain in the strainer. Measure ¾ cup of the basil liquid to use for the olive oil cake.
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F and position the rack in the center. Line a quarter sheet pan (9"" x 13""/ 229 mm x 330 mm) with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the first four dry ingredients. Stir in the sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, basil water and eggs.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients into the liquid by hand until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the pan.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and invert onto parchment paper in order to flatten the top of the cake and cool.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, scald ½ of the milk blended with ½ of the sugar.
  • In a bowl, add the remaining milk and sugar, add cornstarch, eggs and salt. Whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into the saucepan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture is thick.
  • Put the pastry cream in a bowl and lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool.
  • Beat the butter with the lemon zest until soft and creamy. Add the room temperature pastry cream and beat until creamy and uniform. You can use a stand mixer outfitted with the paddle blade.
  • On a flat surface, trim the cake to remove the crust and any browned edges.
  • Cut the cake in half along the short axis. Halve each half the short way. You will have four equal slices. Use an offset spatula to spread a ¼ inch layer of the mousseline on three slices and stack them together.
  • Place the remaining slice on top to crown the cake, then ice it.
  • Confectioner's sugar Fresh raspberries 8 sprigs of basil Dust with confectioner's sugar, garnish each serving with fresh raspberries and a sprig of basil.
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