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.