Lemon Cake with Basil and Thyme

Adapted from Simply Organic

The idea of combining traditionally sweet dishes with savory herbs has been strangely alluring to me as of late. Perhaps you recall the maple raspberry coffee cake, featuring rosemary and thyme. This is the start of a trend I don’t see ending anytime soon. I also love the concept of salty with sweet. A quick look at my desserts category reveals as much, with a number of salt-kissed sweet treats. This moist cake is not too sweet and the herbs add subtle flavor. Top it with fresh seasonal berries and you’re set. This cake would be perfect with tea at just about any time of day. I might have nibbled a bit at breakfast.

  • 2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (2 large lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar until well-blended and a little fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, basil, thyme, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Add this mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until blended.
  • Add the dry ingredients a little at a time with a few tablespoons of buttermilk in between. I alternated flour mixture and buttermilk at least six times to get all the flour incorporated. You could probably do it with fewer rounds if you are more skilled at dealing with flour than I am. Since I tend to make a terrible mess, I went very slowly.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 35 minutes. Check to be sure a cake tester comes out clean, then remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes. Remove the side of the pan, then allow the cake to cool completely before serving.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. Why stop with basil and thyme? Next time I’ll add some fresh mint, too.
  • 2. I made this in a springform pan, as the recipe instructed, but I’m not sure this was necessary equipment. I’m hesitant to recommend that you try another type of pan, but I truly did not see what the springform design added. My guess is that a simple 9-inch cake pan would do the trick, too.
  • 3. I didn’t actually cut this cake until the day after it was made. It was moist and delicious. It does not need to be refrigerated. I kept it stored on a cake plate with a dome.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 35 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12 (makes one 9-inch cake)


2 responses to “Lemon Cake with Basil and Thyme”

  1. Melissa says:

    Mmmm…I bet this flavor profile would work well in an olive oil cake, too! I’ll have to experiment.

  2. Tricia says:

    This cake is amazing in flavor and simplicity! Thank you! xo

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