Chocolate, basil and sichuan pepper loaf cake

Chocolate, basil and sichuan pepper loaf cake

Loaf al cioccolato, basilico e pepe di sichuan

By
From
The Italian Baker
Serves
8-10

This is an explosion of exotic flavours. Basil is my favourite herb in the entire world – I eat the leaves all summer straight from the big plant I grow on my terrace, so it was just natural for me to develop a cake recipe using basil. Sichuan pepper (which isn’t actually a pepper, but is so called because its berries resemble black peppercorns) is widely used in China and can be found in almost every supermarket these days. I recommend you grind it yourself, with a pestle and mortar or in a spice grinder, for a full flavour.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
50g good-quality cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
90ml milk
bunch fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground sichuan pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter a 1lb loaf tin and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl and using hand-held electric beaters, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa powder and beat on a low speed until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Once incorporated, stir in the flour mixture and milk alternately in three additions, starting and ending with the flour.
  4. Finally, stir in the basil and Sichuan pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40–45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before inverting on to a wire rack. Dust with cocoa powder and serve.
Tags:
baking
cakes
biscuits
Italian
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