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. #
    Bee and Jay — May 2, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    Love this idea! We are big G&T guys. OK, we’re not actually big guys who drink G&T, but…well, you probably get our drift.

    So… we’re wondering where the tonic comes in. Quinine is such an essential component of the flavour of the cocktail that we’d love to see it make it into the cake recipe somehow. Maybe reduce it to a syrup & incorporate it into the icing?

    What do you think?


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

      I think you could definitely use tonic in the cake (subbing for the gin/milk) and you could also totally use it in the glaze or the frosting! I like the idea of reducing it to a syrup tho – that sounds fantastic. It could possibly replace the first gin glaze!


  2. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — May 2, 2012 @ 11:59 am

    i’ve never actually had gin and tonic although i think cake form might be the best introduction EVAH


  3. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — May 2, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    Gin cake for breakfast? Your Mom sounds so cool!


  4. #
    Samantha — May 2, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    Ohhhh, you used Hendrick’s…. my favorite.

    I’m excited. My jeans are not.


  5. #
    Mia — May 2, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    Jessica, if you want to come live with me and pay your rent in gin cake, that would be A-okay. And I LOVE living alone. Love it. But for regular access to this cake? I could adapt


  6. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 2, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

    I would love to drink my dessert. Perfect! Actually one day in Grand Cayman about 8 years ago Scott and I did just that with Rum Cake and we are still talking about it :) We both got drunk from cake. If that gives you any idea just how much cake we ate AND how well-laced with rum it was!


  7. #
    Bart Rood — May 2, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    Where’s the tonic?


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

      You can sub tonic for the liquid parts in the cake, in the glaze (depending on how strong you want your frosting) or the icing.


  8. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — May 2, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    YES! I’m so glad you shared this recipe with us! After reading your post about the gin n tonic cake you tasted, I was really craving a slice. Now I’ll have a whole cake! Yippieeeeee!


  9. #
    OliePants — May 2, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    I think I got a little buzzed just looking at this cake. Gin and sugar would be a delicious combination!!!


  10. #
    Jamie {green beans & grapefruit} — May 2, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

    Hmm have had lots of gin but never in a cake! Nice.


  11. #
    Heather Carrillo — May 2, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

    I love gin. LOVE it! I’m so so SO happy for this recipe!


  12. #
    Eileen — May 2, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

    That does sound amazing–but I have to day I agree with your grandpa, and would take the 2-minute gin and tonic over the 45-minute cake!


  13. #
    jenna — May 2, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    dang girl this sounds yummy!!!!!love the lime combo.


  14. #
    Kristen @ notsodomesticated — May 2, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    I love what you said about your grandpa! You’re so right … when you’re 80, you can say whatever you want! ;)


  15. #
    Jenna — May 2, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

    Ahh my mom LOVES gin! I can’t wait to make this for mothers day! Thank you so much Jessica!


  16. #
    Mary @ Bake Break — May 2, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    Oh man. This looks INCREDIBLE. I’m a huge G&T fan, so I’m pretty sure this would be like heaven for me… I will definitely be making this!


  17. #
    Miriam — May 2, 2012 @ 2:41 pm

    lol that was an awesome description of your familly party! I believe that famillies particularities are so enternaining!


    • Miriam — May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

      Entertaining : I should always review myself… ;) Family only one l… there is too l in french (famille) it’s confusing…


      • Miriam — May 2nd, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

        two… good thing I had no gin for lunch!

        • Jessica — May 2nd, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

          ha – are you SURE you didn’t drink any gin for lunch?

          • Miriam — May 2nd, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

            My mind is soggy due to 3 months of forced sedentary (knee injury) and… I REALLY need some vacation from work. I think I’m going to make this cake tonight! For me and my boyfriend who just broke his wrist (people are referring to us lately as the unlucky couple but well, there is always worst!).

  18. #
    Tara — May 2, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    I think that this would be awesome with rum instead of gin with a little mind, kind of like a moijto cake!??

    BTW, I love your blog, I stalk it daily :)


  19. #
    Tara — May 2, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    oop, mint, not mind!


  20. #
    elizabeth @ chronic venture — May 2, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    there are no words.


  21. #
    Amber @ Slim Pickin's Kitchen — May 2, 2012 @ 3:25 pm

    I would give it a try FOR SURE!!! Sounds amazingly *moist* to me ;)


  22. #
    Jen Marie — May 2, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

    Awesome! I’ve never tried Gin & Tonic, though. So, maybe I should make a necessary trip to the bar. You know, for research purposes….


  23. #
    Ashley — May 2, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

    Is it bad I’ve totally done “gin-buckets” in college…more than once..


    • kyla — May 2nd, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

      No judgement zone! I haven’t had gin buckets but I have had billy buckets(17 shots of liquor with sugary soda). It was awesome.


  24. #
    what katie's baking — May 2, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

    the only thing better than alcoholic drinks is alcoholic desserts. ohhh yum.


  25. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — May 2, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    I think your Gin and Tonic Cake and my Margarita Cake should get together and have a PAR-TAY! :)


  26. #
    Moni Meals — May 2, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

    this is so specatcular! love the idea. Well Done! :)


  27. #
    Sarah McD — May 2, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

    1) Not a fan of gin (maybe I just haven’t had good gin?) but definitely going to try this with my first love, silver tequila. 2) Have you read / used Booze Cakes? I have it and still need to try out the recipes I have bookmarked, like the Long Island Iced Tea Cake Shots. However, the book is definitely lacking a Gin and Tonic cake.


  28. #
    Alicia — May 2, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    wow that looks amazing!!!


  29. #
    Quiche-ing Queen — May 2, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    Boozy cake!!!


  30. #
    Cate — May 2, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

    I cannot wait to try this! I love your grandpa for not being impressed by your choice in gin, but I do love me some Hendrick’s!


  31. #
    Lisa L — May 2, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

    Along the lines of this unusual pairing, what do you think of this? It was tweeted out by LA food blogger/journalist Pat Saperstein on her EatingLA blog: “Frankly Fresh launches hummus in Dirty Martini & Bloody Mary flavors. I don’t really think hummus and cocktails belong in same phrase…”

    Would you give boozed up hummus a try?


  32. #
    Lisa L — May 2, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

    Also, since both gin and tonic have that juniper/bitter flavor, what do you use to offset a little? Also, is there a way you can burn off the gin so the alcohol level is reduced but flavor remains? Usually it would burn off when you bake it but if you are dropping full strength alcohol into cake as a glaze after baking, it would retain all its kick. I like the taste of gin but not its effects sometimes if you ya know what I mean. :)


  33. #
    Amber — May 2, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    Once my Italian-speaking Mother-in-law was trying to describe a cake she made, and she unintentionally married the words ‘moist’ and ‘tasty’ into MOISTY. It is the best word and I use it to describe those things that can only be described as ‘MOISTY.’ Your gin cake sounds like it’s moisty.


  34. #
    Stephen & Jennifer — May 2, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

    What a Superb idea!! Never have I heard of such a cake. You really have the best ideas. When my creative juices are blocked, I love to run to your dessert section and form a new concoction.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Peace & Sweets,
    Sweet Robichaux


  35. #
    Em (Wine and Butter) — May 2, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    80 years old and still throwing parties – that combined with Mother Lovett stories have me fully convinced that your family have some good genes girl.

    I LOVE Gin and Tonic and I would love to have one right now with this cake!


  36. #
    Christine — May 2, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

    The cake looks excellent. I just subscribed to your blog because yes, your recipes look delicious, but I also need a daily laugh and you seem to hit it !!! :) Thanks!


  37. #
    Nicole {Sweet Peony} — May 2, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

    Oh. My. Yummmmm. Seriously. That cake is cray.


  38. #
    Nicole — May 2, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

    I want to get drunk off this cake.


  39. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — May 3, 2012 @ 1:23 am

    Not a fan of gin but I am a fan of cakes that look this freakin amazing!


  40. #
    Di @ Life is Di-licious — May 3, 2012 @ 5:06 am

    I love a G&T in the summertime. I’d never considered turning it into a cake – brilliant! I’m a Bombay Blue Sapphire girl myself.


  41. #
    idiosyncratic eye — May 3, 2012 @ 7:42 am

    I’m thinking tequila for some reason! Mmm. Don’t tell anyone what’s in their cake because when it comes to alcohol everyone has preconceived notions, you might even be able to sneak a bit up on your dad like that! ;)


  42. #
    idiosyncratic eye — May 3, 2012 @ 7:43 am

    Scratch that, not tequila, a lemon cake with limencello. Mmm-mmm. Like very grown up lemon grizzle cake. :)


  43. #
    cecilia g — May 3, 2012 @ 8:01 am

    Wow i am going to try that. I will take Grandpa’s advice and get a good bottle of gin too.. This is quite a radical cake and i love your family!! c


  44. #
    Autumn — May 3, 2012 @ 9:55 am

    LOVE gin! Love gin & tonics! I will find an excuse to make this cake! Looks amazing and I have no doubt I’ll love it :)


  45. #
    Tracy — May 3, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    This looks seriously amazing. I had my first gin & tonic last year and I loved it, so I’m all over this cake.


  46. #
    Legally Delish — May 3, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    I heart gin. This is so going to be the Memorial Day BBQ cake….or the lemoncello idea. or the tequila. It’s going to be a long long weekend.


  47. #
    Stephanie — May 3, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    Not a big fan of gin but my cousin makes a margarita cheesecake to die for….seriously!!


  48. #
    Jentry Nielsen — May 3, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

    This sounds SO good! I love a good alcohol and dessert combo! I have had gin a few times, luckily no turkey baster incident so I feel safe to go HEAVY on the gin, light on the cake and lime! ;)

    Can’t wait to try it out!
    What about margarita cake, in spirits of Cinco de Mayo Saturday?! That’d be a good one to try! :)


  49. #
    Marisa — May 3, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    Think these could be made in cupcake form??


  50. #
    Kat — May 3, 2012 @ 2:54 pm

    I’m a huge gin fan- what type did you use? The ones I love are very ginny tasting but there are a lot out there now with more mild flavors. For a gin crowd (like your grandpa) maybe try something stronger like Boodles or beefeater or tanqueray.

    My friends are not such gin people but I’m betting subbing tequila for gin would make a great Margarita cake. Maybe throw in a little orange zest and triple sec.



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