A delightful cake infused with freeze-dried strawberries, soaked in basil syrup and lavishly topped with mascarpone frosting and fresh juicy strawberries.
180g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 large eggs, at room temperature
150g almond meal
10g freeze-dried strawberry powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp fine sea salt
375g strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced, to serve
30g toasted slivered almonds, to serve
125ml lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons)
150g caster sugar
20g (medium bunch) fresh basil leaves, washed
150ml double thick cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat oven to (165°C/145°C fan-forced) and lightly grease or cake tin or line with baking paper.
Beat butter, sugar and lemon zest in stand mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs one by one while beating on medium speed, scraping the bowl between each egg to ensure ingredients are well combined.
Combine almond meal, semolina, strawberry powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, then slowly add half the dry ingredients to the mixer while beating on low-medium speed.
Continue beating while adding half the lemon juice, then remaining dry ingredients, then remaining juice, until well combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan, ensuring a smooth, even surface.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Prick the surface of the cake with a skewer or cake tester with at least 12-15 holes, then spoon over with basil syrup, allowing the syrup to absorb into the warm cake. Allow to cool completely in pan.
Place sugar and juice in a small saucepan on medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes until mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
Place basil leaves and zest in a food processer and blitz to a paste while pouring the syrup into the processor to achieve a deep green basil syrup.
Gently whisk together mascarpone, cream and icing sugar by hand. Take great care not to over-whisk as the frosting can easily split.
Place cake on serving platter and spread with mascarpone frosting.
Decorate with fresh strawberry slices and toasted slivered almonds.
Makes one round 17.5cm (7”) cake and serves 8-10 people