Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Jan Gautro
16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

Make the cake ahead, and freeze it for up to two weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature before glazing. Follow the directions for applying the glaze in two steps to allow it to permeate the cake more thoroughly. A fresh basil sprig is a lovely garnish.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°.

Step 2

To prepare cake, coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon butter, and dust with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Step 3

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and the remaining 9 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in rind and extract. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine buttermilk and 2 tablespoons juice. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Step 4

Place egg whites in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form, using clean, dry beaters. Add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold one-third of egg white mixture into batter; fold in remaining egg white mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Step 5

To prepare glaze, combine half-and-half and basil in a small microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds. Let stand 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard basil. Combine half-and-half, powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons juice, and dash of salt; stir with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle half of glaze over cake; let stand 5 minutes or until set. Repeat procedure with remaining glaze.

Ratings & Reviews

tastytreats's Review

September 22, 2010
I agree with the comment that the basil flavor is a little subtle, and I would add a bit more next time. The cake has a great crust that's a little crunchy and chewy, and is a nice complement to the soft, dense center. Would be great for a shower or tea.

stalteril's Review

Melissa R.
August 23, 2010
I think I perfected this recipe. I added 1/4 cup of cornmeal, cut the sugar by a third, added 1/2 cup chopped basil to batter then put equal parts lemon juice and sugar syrup on hot loaves (I made 4 mini). I topped with a sprinkling of demerara sugar. Excellent texture and the basil/lemon combination is wonderful. I have never baked with basil before.

Melissa R.'s Review

July 31, 2010
Love the lemon and basil glaze. It makes it taste bright and is perfect in summer.

doherty's Review

July 03, 2010
I LOVE this cake :)