Before leaving London for Venice, I had been corresponding with my mum about the season and the weather in Italy. Heat and humidity would welcome us, she told me, but also a lot of summer fruit and vegetables. I couldn’t wait to bite the first tomato, a crunchy cucumber, some deeply flavorful bell peppers. “The raspberry bush is going crazy, here. I collect some berries every day, and I’m saving them in the freezer for when you come.”
It was, indeed, very hot. To get some solace, we had to stay all day on the shore, enjoying the only breeze we could find in miles, the one which blows from the sea. It felt like heaven like it should have been – a hot, sticky, humid, salty and sandy summer. The way it has always been, the way I would like it to be. This is a note to my future self.
A summer storm surprised us one morning, forcing us inside for a few hours. We thought to bake some cake for the following breakfasts and went to the garden to pick some herbs to see how to work them into a berry cake. Basil and raspberry is a combination I was curious about, and so I thought I’d give it a try. It turned out to be unique, striking yet delicate and light. A touch of flaky sea salt, an idea that I took from Heidi, gave this cake a further depth of flavor, and an elegant, final touch.
Raspberry Almond Basil Cake
275g/ 2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
110 g/ 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, plus more for dusting the cake
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 large eggs
300 ml/ 1 1/4 cup natural greek yogurt
2 cups (fresh or frozen) raspberries
1 teaspoon large grain salt (I used Maldon)
Preheat oven to 200C/400° F. Grease and flour a 26cm/11-inch tart pan. Combine the almond flour, baking powder, sugar and basil in a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the eggs and the yogurt. Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir until just combined – do not overmix it. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Drop the berries across the top and push them down lightly into the batter. Sprinkle with some more sugar and the salt. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is cooked through (a toothpick in the center should come out clean). Remove and cool on a rack before serving.