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. #
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction — May 3, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    This is pretty darn genius – the frosting looks amazing!


  2. #
    Danielle — May 3, 2012 @ 6:52 pm

    My girlfriend just sent me this recipe…..I love your writing, I love your family’s reaction to this cake and I love gin. This could be the beginning of something beautiful.


  3. #
    jenn chic — May 3, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

    I will go forth to the kitchen immediately – limes in one hand, Bombay in the other. “Yes, honey, I’m baking a cake. I swear.” Thanks for the inspiration. Mid-afternoon birthday party tomorrow will be fun-fun-fun…unless I’m too hungover from baking.


  4. #
    Emily Barklage — May 3, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

    I wonder if you could use vodka instead of gin?


    • Esz — October 9th, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

      I think you definitely could – however vodka usually has less of a distinct flavour compared to gin – it was originally created to have no flavour at all. So it might be harder to pick out.


  5. #
    cathy — May 4, 2012 @ 11:44 am

    Gin and I are besties. I hafta to make this cake ASAP!!!


  6. #
    Cookie and Kate — May 4, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    This is crazy! Crazy awesome. I thought I didn’t like gin for the longest time, only to realize that I actually didn’t like the tonic water that always accompanied it! Considering that your cake doesn’t have any tonic in it (that would be weird), I’m into this idea. So intrigued, in fact, that I may have to stop what I’ve doing and make it right now.


  7. #
    Caitlin — May 4, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

    I have been reading your blog for a while now (big yay for love of bacon & Pittsburgh & tangential thoughts) and tried a number of your recipes, but this post could not have come at a better time. My sister is a gin snob and we are celebrating her birthday tomorrow. I wasn’t going to make her a cake, but you better believe I am going to make one now! As for your choice in gin, I think it was a nice choice. :)


  8. #
    Jennifer — May 4, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    I also used your lemon lime cake recipe as inspiration last summer for what I call a Vodka Gimlet Cake – if you want to check it out!


  9. #
    Michaela — May 4, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    Dear god. I think I’ve found my birthday cake.


  10. #
    Teresa — May 4, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    This is my hubby’s dream cake! LOVE the Hendricks in the background – mouthwatering – the cake and the Hendricks! Can’t wait to try this one.


  11. #
    LP @dishclips — May 5, 2012 @ 2:30 am

    Drunk with envy with this cake!


  12. #
    stephanie — May 6, 2012 @ 12:38 am

    I made this tonight but used Rangpur…lime flavored gin. Definitely increased the lime flavor.


  13. #
    Leslie @ healthybybalance — May 6, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

    oh my god! Thank you and I love you…seriously…huge fan of the gin and tonic and well, also cake…On a side note, I think it’s crazy fun to hide alcohol in food…I’m off to drink…I mean bake.


  14. #
    Misty — May 7, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    Love the story of the reactions to this cake! I have no negative associations with gin so I am going to give it a go. Thanks for the recipe!


  15. #
    Finch — May 9, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

    This sounds fantastic. I might make this using tonic entirely in either the icing or the glaze.
    I’ve just read the word ‘gin’ so many times that it’s not a real word anymore.


  16. #
    Em — May 9, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    SO PERFECT! I now have a huge craving for this cake!


  17. #
    Jackie — May 10, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    I have no words for the amount of YEARNING I have for this cake.
    My heart is literally fluttering.
    Oh gin, how I love you.
    Thank god someone’s figured out how to incorporate it into a dessert … now, finally, my family won’t judge my cousin and I so harshly when we ask for “more gin” instead of “pass the dessert” at family gatherings …


  18. #
    Milli — May 10, 2012 @ 1:12 pm

    Must make this for the hubs’ birthday in November. G+T is his favorite! Thanks for sharing.


  19. #
    Ryan — May 10, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

    I made this for my Boyfriend’s birthday last week, and it was a total hit for the entire party.

    I woke him up from a nap with the last bit of icing in the bowl, and that was a present enough!


  20. #
    Nadine Danz — May 11, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

    Hi Nadine – didn’t you show me how you pizazzed-up a gin & tonic at Hubbard’s party? So when i saw this recipe I thought you would get a chuckle out of it – and maybe want to try it! – Jan


  21. #
    Shelly — May 11, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    Gin+Tonic+ Cake=You are my HERO.


  22. #
    Leigh — May 13, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    G&Ts are my favorite drinks of all time, so I will have to try this cake! Maybe your grandpa didn’t like the Hendricks with lime? I’ve always seen Hendricks and tonic served with cucumber, and supposedly lime doesn’t go well with it. I personally like Tanqueray the most, which always goes with lime.


  23. #
    Cait — May 13, 2012 @ 9:50 pm

    I have to say, gin and tonic isn’t my favorite, mainly because of the gin, but I am a huge bee’s knees fiend, and this gin glaze is also amazing over a honey-lemon cake. Tastes just like the cocktail! Great call. I just finished up my birthday week (that’s right, I said week and I stand behind it), but am totally going to do a recap this weekend with this cake center stage.


    • Cait — May 13th, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

      *Meant to say I disliked tonic, not gin… as you can see the cake is doing its job admirably.


  24. #
    Pamela Grimmett — May 22, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    I made this cake over the weekend to take to a friends houe, it was AMAZING! I traded the Gin for Sky Vodka. The trzture of the cake is real close to pound cake, with just a hint of the vodka flavor. It is to die for! Will be making it again, and eating it with a Vodka Tonic with a twist of lime!:):)


  25. #
    Mary St.Angelo — May 25, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

    I just made this for my family and we all loved it! They love gin and tonic, and they didn’t taste the alcohol at all, but loved the lime flavor. I do not drink, so I tasted the gin quite strongly. It’s perfectly soft, smooth, and moist and has loads of flavor. Thanks so much for this recipe!


  26. #
    Kelly — May 31, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

    Could this be made into cupcakes? Has it been tried?
    Can’t wait to make for a gin-loving friend’s birthday!


  27. #
    Martina — June 5, 2012 @ 3:21 am

    I am going to try this cake on Saturday. I see the glaze needs to be put on the cake while it is still warm. Does the cake need to be served immediately? (hopefully not )


    • Jessica — June 5th, 2012 @ 6:59 am



      • Sarah — February 20th, 2013 @ 2:53 pm

        Does it need to be refrigerated?!

  28. #
    kelly — June 8, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! I modified it to make a Whiskey Ginger version in a 9″ round pan. Here’s my version:

    It was amazing! I’ll be using this recipe again soon.


  29. #
    Pat — June 22, 2012 @ 10:26 pm



  30. #
    Tommy — July 10, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    I love (love, love) gin & tonic. So a gin cake with a gin glaze and gin icing … yowza! Great stuff.


  31. #
    Sean — July 17, 2012 @ 11:46 am

    I have just made this to eat tonight with people. The batter itself tasted amazing..


  32. #
    Sarah Belizaire-Butler — July 20, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    That’s it – I’m making Gin & Tonic cake for my work bake off next week. Inspired. Beautiful pictures


  33. #
    Sarah Belizaire-Butler — July 23, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    Thanks so much for this recipe, I used it today in my work bake off and it went down a treat.
    Thanks for sharing


  34. #
    Carol — July 30, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

    Loved this recipe! I made it for a gin and tonic lovin’ birthday girl, and she took down 3 pieces! The cake is VERY sweet. Not being an avid baker myself, I don’t know if you could cut the sweet factor. The batter tasted great and the finished cake had just a little bit of warmth as it went down your throat! All and all a big hit. Thanks for sharing! If you have any ideas of ways to temper the sweetness I would love to hear it!


    • Shelley — July 13th, 2015 @ 12:15 am

      YES this. I decorated Milk Arrowroot biscuits with junior high students last week and even their icing-M&Ms-popping candy-gummy bear concoctions weren’t as sweet as this cake.


  35. #
    Ladybug — February 11, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    I made this cake last weekend for a birthday party and guess what? Everybody loooved it, but hardly anyone could taste the gin. I do have to be fair and admit that I didn’t use any gin in the icing, because I thought that there would surely be too much gin-taste when I’d do so, so I made it with tonic from a can. Next time I’ll just go all the way! Oh and this was, by the way, about the first time I made a cake that I actually enjoyed eating myself (I’m not so much hung on sweetness)!!! Great conversation piece too ;-)


  36. #
    Sarah — February 19, 2013 @ 9:46 pm

    Hi! I hope someone sees this! I am making this cake tomorrow for my boyfriend’s birthday. Do I need to refrigerate after I make it?!? Please help!! SOS! Thank you!!! : ) : )


    • Jessica — February 20th, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

      I would put it in the fridge if you are making it a day ahead of time – it doesn’t NEED to be but it will help! and let it come to room temp before serving.


  37. #
    Bri — February 24, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

    Love gin and tonics so I had to make this cake.
    Some things I would do differently…
    – The cake is really dry, I would throw in some sour cream to make it more moist.
    – Also, the frosting (not the glaze) came out so chunky it was unspreadable. I put some butter and a small splash of milk.

    Other then that, really good.


  38. #
    Nan — June 24, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

    This was an ok cake. It has nothing to do with gin and tonic though. First, there is no tonic. Tonic is a major player in a gin and tonic. I would call this more of a gin gimlet cake. If you’re a gin drinker and you want to taste gin you had better mix yourself up a strong one to wash this cake down. The cake itself was a nice heavy moist lime cake. A great heat of the summer refreshing cake. Perhaps my taste buds are fried by past gins. I served this to 10 people at a party and the response was the same from all. Good cake but it doesn’t taste like gin.. I’d have to agree with Grampa. “I’d rather have the drink.” Let me add “also”

    I did tweak this recipe a little. The frosting seemed a bit thin to me. I added 4 oz of cream cheese..and the full amount of gin. Mine was a little dry because the first lime I juiced was a dud. I only got about 1/8 cup of juice out of it. I should have gotten about 1/4 cup. This was a missed opportunity to add more gin. This is a recipe that needs more investigation.


  39. #
    DarlingSweet — September 14, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

    So, is there any way to get the original gin and tonic cake recipe, the one you judged? I have high blood sugar, and the amount of powdered sugar looks staggering to me. I love G&T’s, so I’d like to try this, but would like one with less sugar?


    • Jessica — September 14th, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

      unfortunately not, it was over a year ago and a charity thing and i don’t think there was a record of who submitted what. the original version definitely didn’t have less sugar though – it may have even had more! maybe you can omit the glaze?? or you could even try another low sugar cake recipe and use the gin/sugar glaze from this one??


  40. #
    Sarah J. George — November 14, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    I love this cake. I made it for my gin drinking group (yes, we have one that meets monthly to drink fancy gin). It was an absolute success and I’m now famous for gin cake. (Although I’ve been passing your recipe on.) Thank you!

    Oh and I do a gluten free version made with brown rice flour.


  41. #
    Ada — November 27, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    I LOVE this cake! One f my friends made it last thanksgiving and i could not get enough! Will be making it for this thanksgiving, Christmas, ….


  42. #
    Sam — April 20, 2014 @ 12:30 am

    When do I unmould the cake? After it has cooled down?


  43. #
    Lynne Robinson — April 22, 2014 @ 9:39 pm

    I’m going to try our son & daughter’s gin out of Ballard, WA – BIG GIN – in this recipe!


  44. #
    Jayna — October 29, 2015 @ 1:07 pm

    Can you sub the milk for tonic? Love the frosting idea :-)



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