You may recall that last week… I judged a little dessert competition. Times are tough.

Gin and Tonic Cake I

I then came home that night and ate a very unnecessary grilled cheese, but whatever. Details.

Not important.

Very important? One of the desserts was a gin and tonic cake, but it came right smack in the middle of the other desserts. While it was incredible – super moist (sorry people, no other word describes it) and soft and totally loaded with enough gin to get someone drunk – I was so overwhelmed with food that I didn’t have a minute to think about it. Then I came home.

Then I wanted gin cake.

And the freaking gin and tonic cake was all I could think about.

Gin and Tonic Cake I

I wasn’t sure where to begin, but I was pretty sure that the cake base was lime. So I went off this lemon lime cake I made last Spring, then covered it in a gin glaze while the cake was still warm. Then covered that in a gin icing once the cake cooled. Sugar and gin. My new favorite combo!

I took said cake to a party we had to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday on Sunday. Well, scratch that. I took HALF a cake to a party we had to celebrate my grandpa’s birthday on Sunday because that’s just how it goes when you write about food on the internet to your invisible friends.

The consensus? I could TOTALLY taste the gin. To the point where after a bites, I decided I “was soooooo wasted man.” Okay. Not really. But it was strong to this non-frequent gin drinker. Super strong. Overwhelmingly strong, but in a great way. Very much like the cake I ate last week.

Gin and Tonic Cake I

My grandpa, who drinks gin and loves it (and also told me he was not impressed with my brand of gin), didn’t think it tasted much like gin at all. His words: I’d rather have the drink. It’s cool… when you’re in your 80s you can say whatever the heck you want and get away with it.

My brother, who never drinks gin except for this one time four years ago when he had a party that consisted of a bunch of college students using a TURKEY BASTER to suck gin out of a gin bucket (I’m still having nightmares), could really, really taste the gin. After a few bites he claimed it was “very strong.” I don’t think he ate any more. Gin bucket trauma.

My mom, who occasionally drinks gin but always drinks bourbon, could taste the gin and is still eating the cake for breakfast… as we speak. Huge fan.

My aunt, who is known for her fun signature cocktails, sometimes which include gin, swears she couldn’t really taste the gin. But she really liked the cake.

My dad looked at me like I was insane when I went to serve him a slice.

And my uncle, who doesn’t drink gin at all, could definitely taste the gin and found it to be pretty dang strong.

Gin and Tonic Cake I

So, like… I don’t even know. The cake is fantastic. It is super fluffy and soft, and since you poke holes in it like that old school 90s better-than-sex-cake and it is drenched with a gin glaze, it does get super moist. (And yes, that’s my second use of “moist” in this post because have you checked out a thesaurus? I am not describing this cake as clammy, damp, drippy or soggy.) Let’s just say: it totally depends on your gin tolerance. You MUST have somewhat of a palate for it.

I highly suggest taking the gin glazes and beginning with a base of 1-2 tablespoons of gin, then tasting from there. We adored the strong gin flavor mixed with the thick lime cake, but it may be a little too much for some people.

If you can’t handle gin whatsoever… if you tossed your cookies one too many times in college or had your own turkey baster incident, I would not make this cake. I mean, you could totally try, but I do not want to witness the aftermath of your first bite. Stick with something lime-ish and only lime-ish. I’ll have your share of gin.

Gin and Tonic Cake I

Gin and Tonic Cake

[cake adapted from my lemon lime cake]

makes one large 9×13 baking dish

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly zested lime rind

1/4 cup gin

1/4 cup milk

juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add in sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl if needed. Add in each egg one at a time, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next. Add in vanilla and lime zest and mix.

With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the dry ingredients. Add in gin, milk and lime juice, mixing until combined and scraping the bowl if necessary. Add remaining flour and beat until just combined. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until top is golden and center is not jiggly. Remove cake from over and immediately poke holes over top with a toothpick or fork. Pour gin glaze over then, then let cake cool completely. While cake is cooling, mix up icing and once cooled, frosted. Note: you can sub tonic water in for the gin/milk portion of the recipe if desired.


Gin Glaze

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

5 tablespoons gin

the juice of 1 lime

Mix ingredients together until a glaze forms, then pour over cake immediately while it is still warm. Note: start with 1-2 tablespoons of gin, if more non-gin liquid is needed, use tonic water, milk or cream. You can use more tonic in the glaze if desired.


Gin Icing

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2-3 tablespoons gin

drop of vanilla extract

Mix ingredients together until a very thick but spreadable icing forms. Once cake has completely cooled, spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake. Note: start with 1-2 tablespoons of gin, if more non-gin liquid is needed, use tonic water, milk or cream. You can sub more tonic (instead of gin) in the frosting if desired.

Gin and Tonic Cake I

Now I’d like a loaf of bread to soak up the gin.

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225 Responses to “Gin and Tonic Cake.”

  1. #
    Melissa — May 2, 2012 @ 7:06 am

    I NEED this cake! It look so amazing (and I love gin)!


  2. #
    Rachel Cooks — May 2, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    Wow–genius! And I love your grandpa’s take, hilarious! I don’t think I ever had or ever will have a conversation with my grandpa about gin, lol!


  3. #
    Cia — May 2, 2012 @ 7:08 am

    Could I replace the gin with more lime juice do you think? It looks yummy but my housemate doesn’t drink…I don’t want to end up with her on the floor…


  4. #
    Stacy T — May 2, 2012 @ 7:10 am

    If you used Hendricks gin (can see it in your pics) that’s an amazing gin!! Hysterical story as always. I hate gin. Can’t go near it. But will make this cake bc someone I love does. I’m so sweet it’s pathetic.


    • Natalie - The Precious Things — May 2nd, 2012 @ 11:00 am

      I can totally relate. Gin dropped off my drinks list many, many years ago! Nevertheless this sounds like an interesting combo that for sure would be appreciated by my friends.


  5. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — May 2, 2012 @ 7:12 am

    I love this cake, it’s beautiful! I want some now!! Right now I said!!!


  6. #
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey — May 2, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever had gin, but me + hard alcohol = no bueno. Too many nights in college…. aaaand Vegas.


  7. #
    Katrina — May 2, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    This idea is brilliant!! Yum!!


  8. #
    Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) — May 2, 2012 @ 7:25 am

    I have a feeling people love when you come to their parties! This looks perfect for a summer time celebration!


  9. #
    Katie — May 2, 2012 @ 7:25 am

    This is my boyfriend and I’s favorite drink! Now we have an excuse to eat it, too. Awesome.


  10. #
    Simply Life — May 2, 2012 @ 7:27 am

    haha, I love hearing the reactions for each family member based on their experiences with gin! so true!


  11. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — May 2, 2012 @ 7:28 am

    I’m willing to risk flashbacks to try a slice of this!


  12. #
    Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles — May 2, 2012 @ 7:34 am

    Ha! Your poor brother. What an ordeal that must have been- I don’t know what would keep me from eating cake though!


  13. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — May 2, 2012 @ 7:41 am

    I’m definitely in the “I can’t stand gin” camp, but like you said, I’ll go lime-y and you can have the gin to yourself. ;)


  14. #
    BinomialBaker — May 2, 2012 @ 7:44 am

    This is so fun! I love your stories and the cake looks amazing!


  15. #
    shelly (cookies and cups) — May 2, 2012 @ 7:48 am

    That glaze. That GLAZE!
    I suffer from Goldschlager trauma, I get it.


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 10:12 am

      Oooh I sorta do too. But then it just looks so prettttttty in the bottle.


  16. #
    Kim — May 2, 2012 @ 7:57 am

    OMGosh…literally laughing out loud at the synonyms you were choosing not to use to describe this cake!


  17. #
    Genna — May 2, 2012 @ 8:04 am

    Your blog stories are the best, I love your honesty and humor (u could do comedy) and your cakes are amazeballs – goes without saying.


  18. #
    Amber H — May 2, 2012 @ 8:08 am

    This post was exactly what I needed this hump day morning. “Hump day” – almost as cringe inducing as “moist”. You crack me up.


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 10:10 am

      Oh you are so right. I hate “hump day” too.


  19. #
    The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh — May 2, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    I’m betting I could taste the gin since I don’t drink but Grandpa’s reaction is HILARIOUS!


  20. #
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat — May 2, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    My best friends from college always ordered Gin & Tonics when we went out – I’d be the rum & coke girl, but I definitely want to make this for them the next time we all get together!


  21. #
    dena — May 2, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    That cake looks AMAZING!!! What gin did you use?


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 10:10 am



      • Stacy — May 2nd, 2012 @ 11:02 am

        At our bar we call Hendricks “life altering gin”…makes a fabulous martini! Going to love introducing the gang to this cake. Thank you!!

  22. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — May 2, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    I love me some boozey desserts. Great recipe!


  23. #
    Laura — May 2, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    This is amazing! I almost just want to make it so I can taste it so I can add to the list of people saying that they taste it/don’t taste it. I’d probably taste it though!


  24. #
    Abby — May 2, 2012 @ 8:53 am

    I don’t think I have ever had gin. And if I ever do, I’m sure it will be in the form of this cake. I think it sounds great!


  25. #
    Kim in MD — May 2, 2012 @ 8:59 am

    You always make me laugh out loud, Jessica! This cake looks amazing! Crazy, but amazing! :-)


  26. #
    Amanda at the red table — May 2, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    I have a friend who would literally bathe in this cake, ESPECIALLY if the gin flavor was strong :)!


  27. #
    Jessica — May 2, 2012 @ 9:12 am

    Do you know I am allergic to gin? I know, right.


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 10:09 am



  28. #
    Ryan @ Spicy Richmond — May 2, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    I love a classic Gin and Tonic so this sounds divine!


  29. #
    Catalina @ Cake with Love — May 2, 2012 @ 9:27 am

    I love super moist cakes, that just melt in your mouthm this one looks like a winner in my books!!


  30. #
    Anne Weber-Falk — May 2, 2012 @ 9:27 am

    As much as I love, love, love cake, I won’t be trying this one. I went a bit over board with the gin and tonics one night and now I can’t drink the stuff. The smell alone sends me reeling. UGH!


  31. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — May 2, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    Is there a “Sh!t Grandpas Say” on the internet somewhere – because your Gramps response should totally be in that video. By the time your’e in your 80’s just give ’em the good stuff. They’ve earned it.
    This looks fabulous – as a gin and tonic lover myself. I’d be all over it.


  32. #
    Ashley — May 2, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    The texture of the cake looks ridiculous. Good gosh woman! How about a caramel bourbon cake next?? hehe


  33. #
    Villy @ For the love of Feeding — May 2, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    Drooling!! It looks awesome!


  34. #
    Stephanie — May 2, 2012 @ 10:00 am

    i’m not a huge fan of gin, UNLESS its in a gin bucket.

    we loved gin buckets in college, and we’re still making them into our mid (read: late) 20s. we just serve them in pitchers now instead of out of turkey basters. one of my all time favorite summer drinks to make.

    if anyone is wondering, a gin bucket is a handle of gin, two 2 liter bottles of Sprite, and the juice of 12 lemons and 12 limes traditionally made in a bucket type vessel and served with a turkey baster.


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 10:07 am

      Okay since you are doing this in pitchers, I can get on board.


  35. #
    Wenderly — May 2, 2012 @ 10:04 am

    Yum, does this sound decadently divine!


  36. #
    Chelsy — May 2, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    i can take some gin…or two or three glasses. This cake looks ah-mazingly yummy! I really need a slice asap! I agree with your mom and I just want to lay in a pile of that glaze and let it seep through the pores on my body. Haha!


  37. #
    chelcie @ chelcie's food files — May 2, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    regardless of how much gin i’ve drank (a LOT when I studied abroad in Spain) random? kind of..well anyways I would LOVE this.


  38. #
    Betty Londergan — May 2, 2012 @ 10:20 am

    I already know I’d love the cake (TWO different people sent this to me, so yeah, I’m a known gin-head) but what I really want is to hang out with your family! I love that you have your aunts, uncles, grandpop and siblings all weighing in on the cake — plus, they’ve each got their own well-established drinking habits and history. What a fam! GREAT post and I am so trying this cake … tonight!!


  39. #
    Betty Londergan — May 2, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    p.s. Boodles is the best gin around … hands down. Just so you can impress your grandpa!


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

      I will need to try it!


  40. #
    Sarah Carletti — May 2, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    I just discovered you. Yeah, I live in a cave, I’m from PA so you’ll have to forgive me. But I just love your writing style, pics, and recipes.


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

      Thank you Sarah!


  41. #
    nicole @ I am a Honey Bee — May 2, 2012 @ 10:40 am

    wow this is just like a boozy tres leches! I should make this for my friend who LOVES gin.

    Your grandpa sounds amazing. so awesome.


  42. #
    Greg — May 2, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    Hendricks + Cucumber is awesome. Hendricks + Lime, not so much. It’s the rose hips in the distillation that makes that particular gin so different. I’m betting if you used Tanqueray Ten (milder aromatics) or Old Raj (stronger London dry style) it would taste even better. Now I’m wondering about making a cucumber-flavoured cake with your gin glaze+icing….


    • Anna — May 2nd, 2012 @ 11:25 am

      I was JUST going to comment this. I wonder if you would get enough flavor from substituting cucumber for lime (can you even zest a cucumber, really?).


      • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

        I like this idea because I love how refreshing cucumber could be, but I honestly have no idea how to get cucumber flavor! Is there a cucumber extract? Also, thanks for giving me the heads up on the Hendricks!

  43. #
    sarah — May 2, 2012 @ 10:48 am

    I would have never dreamed of transferring gin and tonic to a cake. Not saying I wouldn’t love it, just never would have imagined. I think I’m going to have to make this for a cocktail party I’m planning on attending. I know I’ll be the only person bringing this! That means I’ll rock and I don’t have to worry if my shoes are fancy enough.


  44. #
    DessertForTwo — May 2, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    I’m so ready for this! And next time I make a cake, I’m definitely going to describe it as clammy and damp. It will do wonders for your tastebuds! :)


  45. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — May 2, 2012 @ 11:13 am

    Not a big gin fan, but I can’t pass up cake in any form! This looks so moist and fluffy… perfectly delicious enough to scarf down after dinner!


  46. #
    Laurie Halliday — May 2, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    I’m thinking of maybe substituting coconut rum for the gin. While I’m not a gin fan, I’m a HUGE boozy cake fan. I think the lime will go well with the coconut….lol.


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

      Agreed… I think I have to do that too.


  47. #
    Cait's Plate — May 2, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    Love the photos today!!


  48. #
    Sandie Gallagher — May 2, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    I always heard ….”gin makes you sin”. LOL !


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

      love this.


  49. #
    dena — May 2, 2012 @ 11:37 am

    Instead of “moist” how about “sultry?” Yeah, me neither …


  50. #
    Cassie — May 2, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    I have no gin traumas so I have no problem with inhaling this cake. Or just the glaze by itself.


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