Elven Sa'lanar (Lemon Basil Yogurt Cake)

Mini Loaves. I imagine elves love food in tiny form.

Mini Loaves. I imagine elves love food in tiny form.

Immortality creates exquisite tastes. While lesser creatures that obtain such a blessing often indulge in wanton behavior, elves approach their gifts with a stoic resolve rarely seen among their mortal kin. Of course, that doesn't mean they can't eat well. Elven bakers and cooks have had millennia to perfect their craft. Over the life of an elven baker millions of cakes are cooked, and each one is a lesson in improvement. Living forever does have it's benefits.

It was once attempted to transfer this knowledge to the rest of the world, and the result, a 439 page tome On the Kneading of SImple Wheat Breads, sold poorly. There is only so much that can be taught without centuries of direct, hands on experience.

Below is an human version of an elven dish "Sa'lanar" (roughly translated as "the last breath of summer before fall"). Even in this crude approximation, the multi-tiered flavor from the basil and the lemon is sublime. Keeping with Elven tradition, it is traditionally served throughout the Empire the weekend before the beginning of fall.

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon extract
3/4 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup  vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil

For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sour cream or milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and then set aside. Mix very well.

Mix the lemon extract and sugar until fully combined. Then add the yogurt, lemon juice, oil and eggs. Mix. Add the vanilla extract and the fresh basil.

In halves, pour the dry ingredients into the wet. Be careful not to overstir.  Bake. It takes about 25 minutes for a mini-loaf to bake, and probably upwards of 50 for a traditional cake or loaf pan.

While the cake is baking, mix all the glaze ingredients together. Drizzle over the cake once it has cooled. If there is any extra, put it in a serving dish next to the cake.

The basil should be fresh. The basil flavor in this cake is delicate at best, and using dried substances will probably make it non-existent.
If you really have time, the zest of two lemons will substitute for the extract, and probably make it taste better. I used the extract and it was fine.
This recipe was tested using greek yogurt, which I believe yields a denser cake. Regardless,  unflavored yogurt should be used otherwise the dish might be too sweet, although I wonder if you reduced the sugar and reached for a blueberry flavored yogurt. 

This recipe was found here. Which itself was a modified version from a Trader Joe's cake mix. Praise their good work.

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