Strawberry basil seems an unusual pairing - one belongs in sweets and breakfast, the other in lunch heirloom tomato and fresh mozzarella salads. Since strawberry season began in late May, I kept seeing various desserts with this pairing (strawberry basil shortcake anyone?) and for the longest time I was too skeptical to try it. Then I ended up with some overripe strawberries and a handful of basil that needed using...
What's incredible about this cake is its texture, despite the heavy berries. That comes from the use of egg whites and cake flour and the way the oils are blended in. I modeled the recipe for this cake after Stella Parks' Double Strawberry Cake on Serious Eats, and omitted the freeze-dried strawberries simply because I was out of them though I imagine they would improve the color with specks of pretty pink.
Purple Basil Strawberry Cake
Adapted from Stella Parks' double strawberry cake recipe with a few modifications, and halved it to make two 5" cakes (can do 6, with slightly less cooking time)
8.25 oz cake flour
1 1/8 cup granulated sugar
9 oz chopped strawberries
1/4 cup purple basil
3 oz softened unsalted butter
3 oz canola oil
1/4 heaped teaspoon baking soda
1/4 heaped teaspoon salt
1 1/2 heaped teaspoon baking powder
3 oz egg whites (from about 3 eggs)
Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour two 5 or 6" cake pans.
Puree strawberries and basil together.
With a stand or hand mixer, beat butter, oil and all dry ingredients except flour together until the mixture becomes sandy.
Add egg whites, one at a time with mixer still running.
Scrape bottom of mixer and beat until well-combined.
In parts, alternate between adding the cake flour and strawberry basil mix, ending on the flour.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Frost with vanilla buttercream of your choosing.