In my humble opinion, gin is one of the best spirits around. There’s so many variations out there, and I love it how one gin never tastes the same as another, plus it’s a really versatile ingredient, as this recipe shows.
I got this gin from John Lewis as part of an afternoon tea feature I’m working on, and so was intrigued to see how it would hold up when added to a cake mixture. Turns out pretty well! Now this recipe is a labour of love, with a few different stages to get to the finished cakes, but it’s totally worth the wait!
For the mixture:
200g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
200g (7oz) golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
200g (7oz) self-raising flour
Finely grated zest 1 lime
75ml (3fl oz) Rhubarb & Ginger gin
For the syrup:
50g (4oz) golden caster sugar
50ml (4fl oz) elderflower tonic water
2tbsp Rhubarb and Ginger gin
For the buttercream:
200g unsalted butter, softened
450g icing sugar
2-3tbsp Rhubarb & Ginger gin, to taste
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Line a six hole muffin tin with cupcake cases. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about five minutes. Gradually add eggs, beating well after each addition.
2. Fold in flour and lemon zest, followed by the gin. Spoon into cases and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a cake comes out clean. This mixture gave me enough for two rounds of trays.
3. Meanwhile, gently heat the caster sugar and tonic water in a small pan, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Turn up heat and boil for one minute. Stir in gin.
4. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, poke holes into the top with a skewer and pour over the gin syrup. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool down, the cake need to be completely cooled before icing.
5. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Beat the butter until soft and free of lumps, then beat in the icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the gin to taste and the lemon zest. Pipe onto the cooled
5. To decorate, use candied lemon slices or whatever decoration you like. To create the lemon slices seen in this recipe, simply thinly slice lemon and boil in 1 part water, two parts caster sugar for 10 minutes and leave to cool.
Let me know if you try these out – I can imagine the opportunities with this base mixture are endless – perhaps strawberry gin with strawberry decoration is next on the list. Watch this space…