Friday, May 18, 2012

Rum & Basil Strawberry Pound Cake

Print or download the recipe:
Rum & Basil Strawberry Pound Cake

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I found this recipe over at Keep It Simple Foods and first tried making it a few weeks ago. Despite the somewhat unusual combination of ingredients it became an instant favorite. It's so light and fresh and I love that it's not overly sweet. However, the first time I made it I really felt like it could use just a touch more sweetness. So I came up with the idea for a sauce (which of course must contain alcohol, right?), and to my delight it turned out perfectly and gave this dessert just the right extra something. I also increased the amount of wet ingredients in the cake (partly necessary just because I live in a super dry climate, but also makes it more soft and moist), and substituted lemon juice for vanilla, which I think gives it a brighter flavor. Sometime I'm going to try this recipe with peaches instead of strawberries; I think the rum would really compliment peaches nicely.

To make this delightful cake, start by puréeing some fresh strawberries in a food processor.

Next, mix together room temperature butter and sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice and eggs and mix well. I cranked the speed on my mixer (my beautiful, wonderful, how-did-I-ever-live-without-it? new KitchenAid mixer) up to high and whipped some air into those eggs. I'm not sure how much good this actually did, but I like to think it added some lightness to the cake.

Then add baking soda and (slowly, while mixing) flour. Then add sour cream and some of that strawberry purée. Isn't it pretty?

When everything is mixed in thoroughly, pour the batter into a well greased bundt pan and put in a 375 degree oven. Bake for 45 minutes, check for doneness by inserting a knife or toothpick (if it's done it will come out clean), and cook for up to an additional 15 minutes if necessary. Let the cake sit for at least 10 minutes before carefully removing from the pan. Cool it completely before serving.

While the cake is baking, make the sauce. Combine the remaining strawberry purée with rum, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat on the stove until it comes to a soft boil, stirring continually until the sugar is dissolved, and then occasionally until the sauce has reduced by almost half and thickened. This could take around 20 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then press it through a fine mesh strainer with a spoon. There should only be a tablespoon or two of pulp/seeds by the time you're done with this, which you should totally spread on a piece of toast and eat as a snack. Refrigerate the sauce.

Chop up lots of fresh basil and whip up some heavy cream sweetened with a touch of powdered sugar.

Combine them. Yes, you heard me right. Sounds strange, I know, but once you experience this crazy flavor fusion you'll think you've died and gone to heaven. Anyway, gently fold in the basil so you don't break down the whipped cream, but do try to get it thoroughly incorporated. Refrigerate it. Try to do this a couple hours (but not more) before serving the dessert, so the basil really has a chance to impart it's flavor to the cream around it.

To serve, slice a piece of cake. Pour a little sauce directly on it so the cake will soak it up, slather it with whipped cream, drizzle a little more sauce over that, and garnish with a fresh strawberry.

My gosh, I could eat this every day for the rest of my life.

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