One of the first times I had a G&T was when I went to stay at a friend’s house one of the half-terms or leave-outs back in the good ol’ Malvern days. My goodness, that was a good day. Some people tell me it’s weird that I love it since it’s an ‘old man drink’, but I don’t get it… There’s honestly been very few situations in my life for which a G&T is inappropriate. Sunny, rainy, formal, casual… The G&T is my LBD & red lip combo of the drinks trolley.
Since spring seems to have finally graced us here in London, I decided to treat myself to a glorious G&T (Hendricks & Fevertree Indian tonic to be exact. With cucumber, of course, I ain’t no peasant). And so it was, as I sipped on that particularly good G&T this weekend that I wondered, this could be damn good as a cake. Adding a little booze in bakes is nothing new; that gelato place on Liverpool’s Lark Lane do a pretty decent G&T sorbet, so why not put a little gin in my cake?
This took several times to perfect. I was a bit too cautious with the amount of gin I put in in my first few attempts; this baby can certainly hold her drink. This cake is certainly not the most aesthetically pleasing, but don’t let her plain exterior fool you – she’s baked with gin & bright lime zest (I would’ve used cucumber here, but I thought would be a bit pointless), seeped with a gin and tonic syrup, iced with a gin and tonic glaze, and topped with some candied limes. In hindsight, I should’ve used something with a bit more emphasis on juniper like Bombay Sapphire to complement the lime better, but Hendricks is what I had on hand, so I had to make do. Still, the sponge is rich, boozy, and moist, and I think it worked really well as a cake! But don’t just take my word for it – bake her up for someone special. Or if you’re a pig like me, bake her up for yourself!
- 3 large eggs, weighed without their shells
- However much the eggs weighed, equal weight of: self-raising flour, caster sugar, butter (softened at room temperature)
- Zest of 2 limes
- 60ml of gin
G&T syrup: 125ml tonic water, 125ml caster sugar, 2tbsp gin
Candied limes: 2 limes, not the ones you zested. Caster sugar, as needed.
Gin glaze: 100g icing sugar, as much gin as you need to make a glaze with the consistency of your liking. I used about 2tbsp.
WHAT TO DO:
Sponge: Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan). Grease and line your 900g (2lb) loaf tin; set aside. For this cake, I use the all-in-one method: put all the cake ingredients into your mixer and beat for a minute. Scrape down the sides to make sure all the bits at the bottom are incorporated, then beat for another 30 seconds. The batter should be light and moussey, and smells incredible. Load up your loaf tin, and stick it in the oven for 55min to an hour.
Syrup: Place the tonic water and sugar in a small pan and heat on a medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Then crank up the heat and let the syrup boil and thicken – about 10 minutes. (Make sure it’s not so thick that it wouldn’t be able to soak the sponge.) Take out 2tbsp of the syrup and put in a bowl. Add the 2tbsp of gin. Set aside.
Candied limes: Cut your limes lengthways in half. Carefully slice thin slices (2-3mm) and set aside. You might not need to slice up both limes. Just try to make sure the lime slices are similar size – i.e. discard the smaller slices that were from the ends of the limes. As you can see from the photo, I got impatient with the sizing them up perfectly thing… Get a place a baking sheet on a plate and sprinkle caster sugar on top; set aside. Place the lime slices into the pan with the remaining syrup. Heat and simmer until limes turn translucent. Take out the slices carefully because the syrup is hot and place onto the caster sugar. Sprinkle some more sugar on top until the slices are covered with sugar on both sides. Set aside until its dry.
Gin glaze: Sift 100g of icing sugar into a bowl and add gin in. Start with a little bit and work your way up. Remember – you can always add liquid to loosen up a batter or frosting or glaze, but you can never take it away once you’d added too much, so go slow. Mix it all together until it becomes a smooth, white, gin-ny glaze.
Assembling the cake: Around the 1-hour mark, a skewer in the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean – your cake is ready for decorating, huzzah! Poke multiple holes into your cake with a skewer or a chopstick and brush the gin & tonic syrup on, letting it soak the cake. Take your cake out of the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Once it’s cooled, pour over the gin glaze. Add the lime slices on top down the centre, et voila! Achievement unlocked! You can now enjoy a perfect G&T cake whilst you sip on your G&T.
Until next time,