Classic Chiffon Cake with Basil Whipped Cream and Strawberries
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Classic Chiffon Cake with Basil Whipped Cream and Strawberries

Our mothers and grandmothers made airy, delicate chiffon cakes–but, they never go out of style–and for a good reason: they are light with a tender crumb, a perfect way to end a meal. For this recipe, we keep the cake itself traditional in the flavoring profile, but modernize the accompaniments. Why not! Instead of basic whipped cream, we use a mini food processor to grind fresh basil leaves with granulated sugar, and then whip that with the cream for a beautifully green-hued garnish for the top of the cake or on the plate. You’ll see, it’s an unexpected, yet natural and elegant pairing with fresh strawberries alongside.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted & divided
  • 2 tablespoons Hot Water
  • 4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt

Macerated Strawberries

  • 3 cups Ripe Strawberries, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons White Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Pinch Sea Salt

Basil Whipped Cream

  • 8 Large Basil Leaves
  • 2 tablespoons White Sugar
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Method

  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 180ºC. Generously butter a 23-cm cake pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of hot water in a glass measuring cup. Keep warm.
  3. Place the eggs in the bowl of your KitchenAid® Stand Mixer fitted with the wire whip. Attach the KitchenAid® Sifter + Scale Attachment to your mixer. Close the ingredient valve. Weigh the sugar in the ingredient hopper. Turn the mixer to high speed and whip the eggs for 1 minute. Open the ingredient valve, and sift the sugar into the mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow, and the mixture falls in ribbons from the whip, about 8 to 10 minutes. About 5 minutes into the mixing time, slowly pour the vanilla down the side of the bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, close the ingredient valve and weigh the flour, baking powder, and salt in the ingredient hopper, taring the scale between ingredients. Once the eggs have reached the ribbon stage, turn the mixer to low speed, open the ingredient valve, and sift in the flour mixture. Be careful not to overmix the batter. Remove the mixer bowl, and use a rubber spatula to blend in any flour remaining on the sides of the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted butter mixture, just until combined.
  5. Gently pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake the cake until the top is lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the pan. The edges will sink in a bit. Once the cake is completely cool, run a table knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, peel off the parchment, and then turn the cake right side up. Transfer to a cake plate.  
  6. While the cake is baking, prepare the strawberries. Cut the strawberries in half (or in quarters if strawberries are large)and place in a medium bowl. Gently toss with the sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Let macerate while the cake bakes.
  7. To make the whipped cream, put the sugar in the work bowl of a mini food processor. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and place on top. Pulse until the basil and sugar are completely ground together. (Tiny flecks of basil remaining are fine.) Pour the whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. Add the basil sugar. Begin whipping the cream on medium-low speed until it begins to thicken, and then increase the mixer speed to high and whip until medium stiff peaks form. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. To serve the cake, spread the basil whipped cream over the top of the cake leaving a 2.5-cm border all around the edges. Use a slotted spoon to drain the berries. Mound the berries in the center of the cake. Cut into wedges and serve. The cake is best when served on the day it is baked. Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in a covered cake box.
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