Holiday Gift Idea and an Olive Oil Lemon Cake with Basil and Pomegranate

A little twist to the traditional lemon cake. Spruce up your holiday table and serve this Olive Oil Lemon Cake with Basil and Pomegranate. Sponsored by AeroGarden ULTRA.

Olive Oil Lemon Cake with Basil and Pomegranate by

When it comes to gift-giving, I tend to be a procrastinator. I know some people have all of their holiday gift shopping done way before November rolls in. I am definitely NOT one of those people. When my kids were little and they didn’t pay too close attention to the latest and greatest toys out there, it was easy. But now, even for family and friends, I’m finding myself dreading the holiday shopping.

I always tell my husband, when it comes to gifts, it’s about the thought behind the gift, not the gift itself. My husband is the type who stops at the grocery store on his way home from work on my birthday and shops for my card and gift there. Yes, not much thought involved. Flowers and champagne get a little old after a dozen years. Gift shopping is definitely not in his genetic makeup.

I think I have a solution for both of us.

I was recently offered the chance to test out an AeroGarden ULTRA, which is a great tool for growing herbs during the long winter months. Turns out this was a great gift for me, as I am also challenged in the green-thumb department. I need all the help I can get when it comes to gardening, as I am easily distracted.

AeroGarden ULTRA Basil for Lemon Cake with Basil and Pomegranate

My kids were totally fascinated with the AeroGarden, as well. It didn’t take long to set up on our kitchen counter. The garden didn’t require much watering, besides the original filling up of the water well. Everyday the kids would stop by the AeroGarden and check the status of our seedlings.

“They sprouted! They sprouted!”

We are growing 7 different varieties of basil, and it only took a couple of days for the basil seedlings to sprout. A few days later there were recognizable leaves. A few more days after that and the little domes were removed. We were growing basil in winter!

“Mommy, it’s time to feed the plants!” No guesswork here. The AeroGarden told me that two weeks had passed and it was time to drop in the food. It was super easy and the kids were able to measure it out and pour it in themselves.

After three weeks, you could pick off and use some of the basil leaves, but it was into the fourth week when I really started using my basil.

Olive Oil Lemon Cake with Basil and Pomegranate by

And I made a cake. A beautiful Olive Oil Lemon Basil Cake with Pomegranate. You know me, it HAS to have pomegranate.

Lemon Basil Cake

Fresh Basil is the secret ingredient that makes this cake very special. Topped with fresh pomegranate and chopped pistachios, it makes a very festive treat. Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain Greek
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1 lemon, zest grated
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, fresh, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 TBS finely chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped basil, fresh


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Apply non-stick spray to one 9-inch round cake pan or a 9-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together:
    • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/8 tsp salt
  3. In a large bowl, mix together until combined:
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain Greek
    • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 3 eggs, large
    • 1 lemon , zest grated
    • 1/3 cup fresh basil, fresh , finely chopped
  4. In batches, mix flour mixture into yogurt mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan.
  6. Place the cake in the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Place the cake on a cooling rack, and let it cool for 20 minutes prior to serving.
  8. For the glaze, whisk together until smooth:
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tsp lemon juice
  9. Drizzle glaze over the cake prior to serving.
  10. Garnish cake with:
    • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils
    • 1 TBS finely chopped pistachios
    • 1/2 tsp finely chopped basil, fresh


Serving Suggestions: Perfect for your afternoon tea or served with fresh seasonal fruit.

Prep Time:

Yield: Serves 8

Cook Time:

So if you have a gardener in your life, or even a gardener-wanna-be, like me, who could use a little help, AeroGrow will be running its ‘12 Days of Deals’ for the holidays with discounts and special bundles for the season. Plus, get up to 20% on everything storewide when using promo code ‘Holiday20’ in the shopping cart at checkout. It’s a unique gift that shows you put some thought in the gift buying process. You can learn more here!

And me? I will continue to help my husband find ME the perfect gift for holidays. He’s just bummed that he didn’t give me the AeroGarden himself.

Sorry, dear. It’s not going to be THAT easy for you!

Disclosure: As part of the Kitchen PLAY Community, I was paid a stipend to develop a dessert recipe using the basil I grew with my AeroGarden. All of the opinions I expressed here are my own. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t blog about it!

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20 Responses to Holiday Gift Idea and an Olive Oil Lemon Cake with Basil and Pomegranate

  1. Two things:
    1. I can’t stop staring at this stunning cake. It reminds me of the very delicate, lavishly decorated glass Christmas ornaments in those fancy boutiques. Seriously gorgeous!
    2. After reading all the AeroGarden posts, I’m totally tempted to ask for one for Christmas. I love gardening, so the thought of doing it all winter (without dirt & weeds aka me making a mess) is super appealing.

    3. (okay so I lied about it only being two things) I love lemon + herbs in sweet things, so I need to try this cake!

    • You are so sweet, Kelly! Thank you! I have to say, growing these herbs was a no brainer. Especially when you are busy and tell yourself all the time, “I’ll water the plants tomorrow” and never do. These babies would be dead if they were in the traditional pot!

  2. Lemon and basil? And pomegranate? Lovely combo! Great cake, and that indoor garden thingy looks way cool. Mrs K R and I have gotten to the point where we don’t exchange gifts anymore – neither one of us wants more stuff, and anything we do want we just buy anyway. We do exchange small things – it’s fun to shop for each other! – but really just fun little trinkets. Anyway, fun post – thanks.

  3. I love the lemon/basil combination… and the addition of pomegranate is just exquisite! My man and I have decided not to buy too much for each other, as we really need to downsize nowadays! Happy Christmas to you and yours and thank you for a great recipe!

  4. Simply gorgeous lemon cake and I love all the flavors you’ve got going on here! Normally my hubby sounds a bit like yours in the gift giving department, but after he surprised me this past weekend w/ my wine tasting trip to Temecula, ALL is forgiven 🙂

  5. Wonderful indoor garden. maybe my black thumb will turn green. GREG

  6. What an amazing indoor garden! Your cake on the other hand is more than amazing!

  7. This is absolutely gorgeous!!

  8. You always have beautiful recipes using pomegranate! This cake looks so beautiful!!! And I love that basil is in the cake! I have never tried that before! Sounds really delicious!

  9. Glad I’m not the only one who still has names to cross off the shopping list. I can never seem to finish until just a few days for Christmas. On another note, I love, love this cake. It’s not only gorgeous but the flavor combinations are wonderful. My herbs are done for the season so maybe I should look into the AeroGarden. I bet it’s fun to see the herbs grow!

  10. Oh my goodness, how gorgeous is this! And such a great combination of flavors and colors, too. Bravo!

  11. Oh yum, I love the addition of pomegranate, works so well with the lemon and transforms the cake into something very special.
    The airo garden is a super cool idea. Need to show that my mum, she will love it. Do they have gardens like that for the heavy humid rainy season? That would be too cool because fragile colder climate plants don’t like high humidity.

    btw I feel the same way about giving gifts. The thought counts.

  12. Wow Laura, this cake is absolutely stunning – and so beautifully festive! I’m struggling to get my butt out and go shopping for gifts right now. I blame it on being busy (it’s true) and it being too cold outside (even truer). Maybe I’ll just bake everybody a loaf of this and call it a day ;).

  13. Pomegranates! Love them and their little bursts of flavor. Great picture too. 🙂

  14. I love lemon cakes and this is so pretty with the pomegranate topping!

  15. Danielle at #

    Looks heavenly! I love adding herbs to my baked goods.

  16. Alex at #

    This sounds sooo good I love the combo! I’ve actually been looking for an indoor herb garden tool because I can’t’ seem to keep anything alive outside

  17. I ant stop staring at that fab cake and the even better picture. Would not have thought to put lemon and basil together in a cake. On my super yum list.

  18. Kumar's Kitchen at #

    beautiful cake…especially with those red pomegranate dotting the top…it looks perfectly tempting and scrumptious,thanks for sharing 🙂


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