I love this combination of flavours and this moist little cake has the added advantage of keeping beautifully for several days.
I generally serve it as a dessert cake but have also enjoyed it a few days later with a cup of tea or coffee. The raspberries and basil are great but if you cannot find the herb, little sprigs of mint would be a good addition.
Do not replace the citrus flavoured basil with the more easily available sweet basil, as the flavours do not work. The other alternative to the herb would be a last minute grating of lime zest over the cake. Pomegranate seeds rolled on a tea towel to dry them would also make a sparkling addition.
I sometimes replace the raspberry decoration with slices of peeled mango which I sweeten lightly with caster sugar and flavour with a little lime zest and juice.
Serves 8 – 12
- 5 eggs
- 150g caster sugar
- 200g butter melted and cooled
- 50g cream flour
- Level teaspoon baking powder
- 200g pistachios ground to a fine but slightly gritty powder
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 drops almond extract
- 150g icing sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- C 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 150g raspberries
- 24 small lemon basil leaves or failing that 24 whole pistachios
- 150g mango slices sweetened with 1-2 teaspoons of sugar and sharpened with the zest and juice of ½ a lime.
- Preheat oven to 170c
- Paint the sides of a 24cm spring-form tin with melted butter, dust it out lightly with a little flour to coat the sides of the tin and line the base with a disc of parchment paper .
- Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until foamy. Add the sugar and continue to whisk well to mix. The volume of the mixture will not increase but the sugar will be dissolved.
- Add the butter gradually while continuing to whisk. Sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold in gently. With a light hand, fold in the pistachios, lemon zest and almond extract and continue to mix thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth over the surface and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 35 minutes until the cake is nicely coloured and barley coming away from the sides of the tin.
- Place the cake still in the tin on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Run a blunt table knife around the inside of the tin and remove the cake. Replace on the wire rack, parchment paper side down and allow to become completely cold.
- To make the icing, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon zest and using a wooden spoon, add the lemon juice to make a barely spreadable icing. Be cautious with the addition of the lemon juice as even a few drops of juice too much can create a thin and liquid icing. If this happens, sieve in a little more icing sugar in small increments.
- Remove the disc of parchment from the cooled cake and place on a large flat plate. Spread the icing over the top of the cake just to the edge. Some of the icing will drizzle down the sides in pleasing drips.
- Cut the raspberries in half lengthways or in cross section slices to reveal their shiny interiors. Place on the icing in no particular order but at the same time distributing them as evenly as possible. Scatter on the basil leaves.
- Serve with softly whipped cream.