I finally settled on this Chocolate-Basil Torte recipe from Hogwash. I've had my eye on it for a long time. This recipe was one of the beaten finalists when my friends chose the Japanese Cheesecake a few weeks ago. I think this has to be a winner. Dark, rich and chocolately. The basil should work excellently and, as per instructions, it can be eaten more or less straight from the oven! I wonder whether this really needs the ganache. I have a felling it doesn't and would go great with some fromage frais or yoghurt. I may try it without, I'll decide on baking day.
TIME: 40 minutes active time
MAKES: 8 to 10 servings
For the cake:
110g unsalted butter plus extra for greasing pan
110g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 packed cup fresh basil (leaves only)
3 large eggs, room temperature
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
For the ganache:
110g chopped bittersweet chocolate (65% to 75% cacao)
95ml heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and center a rack in the middle of the oven. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of wax paper or parchment paper, and butter the paper.
Place the butter and the chocolate in a small saucepan and melt over very low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the mixture is smooth, transfer to a large mixing bowl, stir in the vanilla and salt, and set aside.
Next, make a basil sugar: pulse the sugar and the basil together in a food processor until the basil is very finely chopped and uniformly green in color. The sugar will look slightly wet.
Add the basil sugar to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, blending completely between additions. Sift the cocoa powder over the batter and fold it in until no dry spots remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the cake barely begins to crack. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a round serving plate.
While the cake cools, make the ganache: place the chocolate and the cream in a small saucepan, and stir constantly over very low heat until melted and smooth. Using a flat spatula or knife, spread the ganache over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, if desired. (Hint: Using the ganache immediately will mean a thin coating that drips easily down the sides of the cake; in this case, it’s best to frost the cake over a cooling rack, then transfer it to a serving plate. You can also let the ganache cool a bit, then spread it just on the top, more like a thin frosting.)
Serve warm or at room temperature. To store, let cool completely, then cover and keep at room temperature up to 3 days.