This recipe was developed to highlight one of the fresh organic herbs we grow in our garden. Anise hyssop has a light anise scent and flavor. The flowers are purple and the leaves dark green heart-shaped. Our pastry chef and gardener worked together to perfect this.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and sift them together into a small bowl. Set aside. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, and beat until smooth and well blended. Stir the vanilla and milk together and add to the butter-sugar mixture in two stages alternately with the flour mixture, beating until the batter is well blended and smooth after each addition. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff but moist. Gently stir one-third of the beaten whites into the batter. Fold the rest of the beaten egg whites in. Divide between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in their pans for 5 minutes, then turn out of the pans onto a rack to cool completely. Frost with Anise Hyssop Mascarpone frosting (instructions follow).
Beat mascarpone until smooth.
Anise Hyssop Simple Syrup
To make anise hyssop infusion/syrup bring water and sugar to a boil and add anise hyssop leaves and flowers. Stir to coat. Remove from heat and let cool stirring occasionally. Strain out leaves and squeeze to get all remaining liquid out. Makes about 1-⅓ cups. Save the candied pulp and gently tease the leaves and flowers apart. Spread on a cookie pan lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Air-dry for several days or in a convection oven set at lowest temperature (130 degrees) until crispy dry. Chop the dried candied anise hyssop leaves in an electric food chopper until they resemble medium ground pepper. These have a lot of flavor and can be used to decorate the frosted cake or for other recipes. Any leftover syrup can be refrigerated for up to 3 months. It’s really good as a flavored sweetener for hot or cold drinks.