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Citrus Almond Basil Cake

09 July

Serves 6

This recipe is from an old Herb Companion magazine I tucked away. I had forgotten how delightful this surprisingly light cake is. The basil provides a nice compliment to the citrus-almond flavor.

1 1/4 c. almonds, blanched
4 eggs, separated
1 c. organic sugar, divided
2 Tbs. fresh basil, finely chopped
grated rind and juice of 3 oranges (about 1 1/4 c. juice and 3 Tbs. rind)
1 Tbs. anise-flavored liqueur (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8 inch springform pan with lightly buttered parchment paper.
2. Using a food processor, chop almonds until coarse. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with 1/2 c. of sugar until thick. With the motor running, add the yolk mixture through the feed tube, processing until the mixture is thick and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in orange rind and chopped basil. If the mixture is too thick, stir in 1-2 Tbs. orange juice, until it is the consistency of batter.
3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Sprinkle 1 Tbs. sugar over and beat until peaks hold their shape. Gently fold half of the egg whites into the almond mixture until just evenly mixed. Quickly (but gently!) fold in the other half, being careful not to over mix in order to keep air in the whites.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 minutes, or until set in the middle and light golden in color. Cool and transfer to a serving plate.
5. Make the orange sauce: In a sauce pan, combine orange juice and remaining sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Adjust heat and lightly boil for 10 minutes, or until thickened slightly. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur, if using. Drizzle orange sauce over the top of the cake and let sit for 20 minuted or longer before serving. Alternatively, make a puddle of orange sauce on each plate and place a slice of cake on top.
6. Can dust with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh basil leaves.