Gin & Tonic Cakes

It’s World Gin Day, and what better excuse do you need to combine two of the best things in life: gin and cake.

These delicate little cakes are packed with flavour – and a fair bit of booze, too! As with my Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Marscapone Buttercream, the decoration is simplistic: designed to complement the flavour of the sponge rather than over-shadow it. The gin glaze lends a sweetness, which is balanced by the curls of zesty lime.

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I made these to take to a party where people had dietary requirements, so when I made them they were gluten- and dairy-free, using gluten-free self-raising flour, almond milk and dairy-free butter. So if you have any of those requirements yourself, rest assured that these cakes adapt well!

Ingredients (makes 15):
– 125ml milk
– 12 juniper berries, crushed
– 200g butter, softened
– 250g granulated sugar
– 3 eggs
– 1 lime, zested
– 1 lemon, zested
– 250g self-raising flour

For the syrup:
– 75ml gin
– 75ml tonic
– 75g caster sugar
– 12 juniper berries, crushed

For the glaze:
– 150g icing sugar
– 2 tbsp gin
– 1 lime, zested

1. Begin by preheating the oven to 180°C. Line two muffin trays with cupcake cases (if you only have one then no worries: you’ll just need to bake them in two batches).

2. Pour the milk into a small saucepan with the crushed juniper berries. Heat until it just starts to boil, then immediately remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the lemon and lime zest.

4. Gently fold in the flour, stirring until no white streaks remain. Pour in the milk mixture through a sieve to remove the juniper berries, and stir into the mixture.

5. Fill each cupcake case about 2/3 full, then bake for 20-25 minutes, until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

6. While the cakes are baking, make the syrup: put all the ingredients into a small saucepan, and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for 5-10 minutes to reduce and thicken, then remove from the heat and sieve to remove the juniper berries.

7. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, use a cocktail stick to make several little holes in them. Drizzle over the syrup (about 2 tsp per cake), then set aside to cool completely.

8. Once the cakes are cool, mix together the icing sugar and gin to make a glaze. If you think it seems a little thick add a drop more gin, or a little more icing sugar if it’s too runny. Spoon a small amount of the glaze onto each cake, using the back of the spoon to help spread it evenly. Sprinkle with the lime zest to finish.

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Interested in learning more about gin? Check out my review of the Gin Festival, Cambridge 2016.

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