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1 3/4 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter (or flavorless oil, if preferred) 
3/4 cup boiling water


1.5 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks) 
12 basil leaves (or 4 sprigs rosemary, if you prefer), plus more for decoration
2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt (about 1/4 tsp) 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs whole milk



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Grease two 8 x 3 inch cake pans and line with parchment rounds or dust heavily with cocoa powder once greased. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted butter or oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Whisk in the boiling water. 

Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking doneness at 28 minutes.  (Mine was about 30). Let cool in the pans for 15 mins and then invert onto a rack and let them cool completely before you frost. 

To make the frosting: 

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the basil leaves, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 minutes stirring often.  You don’t want the butter to brown here. Strain out the basil leaves and transfer to a metal bowl.  (NOTE: This step can be done the night before, which is what I did, then placed in the fridge overnight.  Then it can be softened at room temp the next morning before beating with the other frosting ingredients). If you cannot make the butter infusion the night before, you’ll want to place the bowl of hot basil butter in an ice bath and use an electric mixer to beat it it until it becomes pale and fluffy again.  Once the butter is this consistency, beat in the sugar, salt, vanilla and milk. 

Level the cakes and frost or decorate as desired.  Yummmmm-o.

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