My friend Mindy was throwing a cool aphrodisiacs-themed event at her perfume shop MIN New York. If you love unique, niche fragrances, you definitely need to check them out, I won’t buy my perfume anywhere else. Mindy always throws great events so I already knew I wanted to go to this, but thought it would be fun to make some desserts featuring the aphrodisiac ingredients/flavors she would be highlighting.
I chose to feature basil and lemon. I love these flavors together and thought basil would be a surprising choice for a dessert.
There are 3 steps to making these cupcakes. I made mini cupcakes since I wanted these to be bite-sized treats. This recipe makes 48 mini cupcakes (or 24 regular sized cupcakes). You can also make this as a cake as well.
First, make the candied basil leaves. I thought the candied basil would add an extra basil flavor and would make a cool decoration on top of the cupcakes.
Get some fresh basil and tear off the leaves. Rinse them under water and let them dry. After they are dried, they are ready for dipping. Beat egg whites until they are frothy and lay out sugar on a plate (you can use regular sugar or superfine sugar). Take each leaf and dip in egg white, getting the excess off. Then dust the leaf with the sugar and lay on a cookie sheet to dry. Once these are dry, you can start decorating.
Now to make the cupcakes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the mini cupcake trays with liners.
In one bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and set aside.
Put basil, sugar, lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until the basil has dissolved into the sugar. The mixture will turn green with little flecks of basil.
Add the basil sugar mixture to large bowl with the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, vanilla and beat together with a hand mixer. Add the flour mixture in a few batches and mix until smooth. The batter will have a slight green color to it, but it won’t be bright green.
Put the batter in the mini cupcake tins and bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes. I like to switch the pans in the oven halfway through to make sure they get evenly cooked. Remove from the oven and cool before frosting.
For the frosting, put the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice in a bowl and beat together until smooth. I like to refrigerate for a bit so it’s easier to frost the cupcakes later. Frost the cupcake and top each with a candied basil leaf.
This was also my first time creating desserts for an event on my own. I have to admit it was a lot of work, but it was also great fun for me. I really love creating unique, fun recipe ideas and having people enjoy them always makes me feel great
For Mindy’s event, I also made these Dark Chocolate Almond Brownie Ganache Bites. I figure who doesn’t love chocolate!