Preheat the oven to 160°C and line and grease 2 x round 8 inch cake tins.
In a large bowl or food mixer whisk the lemon zest into the sugar until fragrant.
Add the butter one cube at a time and beat into the lemon sugar until pale, light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed.
Then mix in the vanilla extract.
Whisk together the flours, baking powder and sea salt in a separate mixing bowl until completely combined.
Add the flour mix alternately with the milk, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
Divide the batter between the cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes when the sponge is coming away from the sides of the tin and an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
Leave in the tins for 5 minutes to rest then gently turn out onto cooling racks and leave to cool completely.
Strawberry Basil Honey Jam
Place everything but the chia seeds and strawberry powder in a pan and turn on the heat, crushing the strawberries gently with a wooden spoon into the rest of the ingredients.
Bring the jam to a low boil, then simmer for a couple of minutes.
Stir in the chia seeds and strawberry powder, cook for a further minute then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Place everything in the food processor and whizz together until smooth.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the buttercream will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
Divide the buttercream so you have ¾ of the buttercream in one bowl and ¼ in another.
Mix the strawberry powder with the ¾ amount of buttercream and the sweet pesto with the ¼ amount.
Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or stand.
Pipe one circle of strawberry buttercream on the top at the very edge of the sponge. This will act as a dam for the strawberry jam.
Spread the strawberry jam evenly on the top of sponge to the edges of the buttercream dam.
Place the second sponge on top.
Cover the strawberry buttercream over the top and the top half of the cake sides using a palette knife.
Cover the bottom half of the sides with the sweet pesto buttercream. Use the palette knife to gentle blend the two flavours of buttercream together where they meet.
Decorate the top of the cake with strawberries and basil leaves.
I am loving Nirvana Cakery’s beautiful blog at the moment and took inspiration for this Strawberry Sweet Pesto Cake from her stunning Raspberry Matcha Cake, using the same colour palette. I also adapted her raspberry jam filling into my Strawberry Basil Honey Jam.