Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vanilla Pound Cake with Thai Basil Tea Syrup

I wanted something sweet but not overly so when I decided to bake a cake this past weekend. I settled on pound cake and since I had Thai basil from my CSA, I thought I would make a Thai basil tea syrup to pour over the cake.

The syrup provided a sweet contrast to the dense vanilla cake. The tea was the star but the Thai basil provided a subtle licorice flavor. If I didn't have other plans for the cake (hopefully a post in the next few days), I would have poured the syrup over the top of the cake before it cooled to allow it to soak into the cake. But adding it after baking was just as good too.

For the cake
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the syrup
1 cup water
1 tea bag, I used regular Lipton
1 bunch Thai basil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 6-cup (8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch) loaf pan; set aside.

~Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, beating just until combined (do not overmix).

~Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour (tent with aluminum foil if browning too quickly). Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack, and turn upright to cool completely. If glazing the entire cake, brush top of cake with syrup while still warm.

To make the syrup:
~Bring one cup of water to boil. Add tea bag and steep for 15 minutes. Return to a boil and reduce to a simmer and reduce by half, about 20 minutes. Add the basil and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.

~Meanwhile, in a separate pot, combine 1/4 cup sugar and water and heat over medium heat until sugar dissolved. Allow to cool and combine with the tea basil reduction. Brush on top of warm cake or serve on the side.

recipe modified from: here

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