Lemon Basil Cake with Honey-Wine Reduction - Minnesota Uncorked™

Lemon Basil Cake with Honey-Wine Reduction

Because if you’re not baking with wine — what are you baking with?

Cake Ingredients
½ c sugar
11 tbsp butter, softened
2 eggs
8 oz plain (or vanilla) greek yogurt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
9 oz (2 c) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp chopped basil

Honey-Wine Reduction
¼ c sugar
¼ c La Crescent wine
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


Pre-heat oven to 350 and prepare a 10×5 loaf pan by greasing reeeeally well (or lining with parchment or foil).

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  If you have a fine-weave colander, set atop the bowl and dump the dry ingredients in that — on top of the flour mixture, sprinkle the lemon zest.

Shake the colander until all the flour falls through — the zest will likely not make it through, but will be coated in flour to prevent it from sticking together (you don’t want it clumpy).  If you don’t have a fine-weave colander to use for sifting, simply stir together with a fork to distribute.

In your mixer with the whisk attachment, whip together the sugar and butter until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Turn to low and blend in the eggs, yogurt, and lastly, 2 tbsp lemon juice.

Separate the basil leaves from the stalk, arrange in a pile and roll.  Slice thinly into strips, and then cut along the other way to chop.

Switch to the paddle attachment on your mixer and blend in the flour until just crumbly, don’t overmix! Sprinkle in the basil and let the paddle turn just 1-2 more times to fold in (careful not to bruise the basil!)

Gently scrape into well-greased pan.

BUT WAIT! Where’s the wine?

Never fear, open a bottle, pour yourself a glass, and kick back because this cake’s gonna take 50-55 minutes to bake. You might even have time to polish off the whole bottle…

While you wait, start the reduction.  In a small sauce pan, pour in ¼ c wine and ¼ c honey.

Bring to a boil while gently whisking.  Let boil for just one minute, then turn to low and allow to simmer another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp of lemon juice.

When you remove the cake from the oven, poke lightly with a fork and brush with the honey-wine reduction while still warm.

Best served once completely cooled, with a glass of wine.

I store this cake in the fridge…

Why La Crescent Wine?

La Crescent has some light citrus flavors and tropical notes that complement the lemon and basil. La Crescent also has a bite of acidity which is a nice contrast to the buttery richness of the cake.

Should you find yourself short on La Crescent (or not living in an area accessible to cold-climate variety wines), this would be just as well made/served with a Spatlese Riesling.

This recipe is a redux of the “key lime coconut yogurt cake” from Fine Cooking. One day I found myself short on coconut (and key limes) but craving this decadent cake, and decided to improvise. On that note, the key lime cake is also fabulous and you should try it too- tip: use coconut oil instead of butter!  Cheers!

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About The Author

Lauren Voigt

Lauren launched Minnesota Uncorked™ to encourage exploration of wine. When she's not masquerading as a wine writer on the internet, Lauren earns her keep as a marketing specialist in the wine industry. Lauren can be reached at lauren@mnuncorked.com. She is certified in wine through WSET (Level III, Distinction), a Certified Wine Professional (CWP) through Saint Paul College, and a Spanish Wine Scholar (SWS) through Vine Lab Wine & Spirts Academy.
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