Weekend Recipe | Gin & Tonic Cake

A magnificent special occasion cake, for all gin-and-tonic lovers. The sugared fruit decorations can be prepared up to two days in advance.



415 g unsalted butter, diced and softened

660 g caster sugar

13 eggs

11⁄2 tablespoons gin

11⁄2 tablespoons tonic water

zest of 2 lemons

zest of 2 oranges

420 ‘00’ plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 quantity Gin and Tonic Syrup

1 quantity Lemon Icing

1 quantity Sugared Fruit

1 x 25-cm round cake pan and

1 x 17-cm round cake pan, greased with unsalted butter and floured


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.
  • In a food processor, cream together the butter and sugar. Break the eggs into a jug and pour them into the food processor, through the feed tube, with the processor running. Pour the contents of the processor into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the gin, tonic, zest, flour and baking powder to the mixing bowl and stir well to combine. (If you have a large domestic food processor or one with a strong motor, the dry ingredients and flavourings could be incorporated in the food processor.)
  • Pour the mixture evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake the large cake in the preheated oven for 50–60 minutes and the smaller cake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Leave the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes.
  • Pour the gin and tonic syrup over the warm cakes, spreading it with a pastry brush to ensure an even coating. Leave the cakes to cool in the pans before removing.
  • Cut the tops off the cakes to make them level and even in height. Place the larger cake on a serving plate and centre the smaller cake on top.
  • Pour the lemon icing over the top cake and let it drizzle down onto the lower cake. Using a metal spatula, spread the icing to form a thin layer. Let the icing dry for at least an hour before decorating.
  • Place the sugared fruits and leaves decoratively on the top cake and around the edge of the lower cake.

Gin and Tonic Syrup


180ml gin

3 ½ tablespoons tonic water

250g granulated sugar

zest of 2 unwaxed lemons


  • Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved and then bring to the boil. Boil gently for approximately 5 minutes, until a syrupy consistency is achieved.

Lemon Icing

380g icing sugar

1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest

70ml lemon juice

4 teaspoons extra light olive oil


  • In a small bowl combine all the ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Sugared Fruit

These pretty fruits can be made up to two days in advance, and add the perfect finishing flourish to your cake.


A selection of small fresh fruits with skin (eg. Kumquats, grapes, figs, redcurrants, blackcurrants)

A few small kumquat, lemon or orange leaves or small grape leaves

1 egg white

200g caster sugar


  • To make the sugared fruit, wash and thoroughly dry all the fruits and leaves.
  • Pour the egg white into a small bowl and whisk it lightly.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the fruits and leaves with egg white. Shake off any excess. Thoroughly sprinkle the fruits and leaves with the sugar, making sure they have an even coating.
  • Set the fruit aside on a dry tray or plate at room temperature for at least 2 hours, or overnight, before using. Do not refrigerate.

Recipe taken from Lemon & Limes by Ursula Ferrigno, (Ryland Peters & Small, £14.99) Photography Clare Winfield. 

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