You may remember that in the past couple of years, the Empress and I have had the onerous duty of judging the annual Allen & Unwin Staff Bakeoff (I recall waxing lyrical about it here and here). Well, this year I can report that the duty was even more onerous, because the Empress was struck down by a bout of near pneumonia and was unable to drag herself from her sick bed even for cake, which is, I think I can say, unprecedented. (I suspect the only thing that would have got her off her deathbed that day would have been the world’s best bit of bacon, but even that would have been a struggle.)
So in my last year as judge, it was a tricky task. I was aided by the fact that some of the most dedicated contenders were out of the country or not competing this year for other reasons, so my task was slightly easier. But that still made fifteen tiny pieces of cake, biscuit and savoury tart I had to eat!
The winner this year, by a hair’s breadth, was Kate Justelius-Wright with this gorgeous and original Gin & Tonic Cake. As you will know, I have more a salty-fat-tooth than a sweet one, so this was a very subjective judgement (which may prompt A&U competitors to quite reasonably ask what the hell I was doing there anyway!) – but this cake is exactly my cup of tea: a thick syrupy slab of citrussy goodness. It is not too sweet, has the deliciously bitter & chewy shred of lemon on top – and let’s face it, any cake with gin in it cannot be a bad thing.
Kate has kindly supplied the recipe*, which comes from Julie Le Clerk’s Favourite Cakes. Judging by the deliciousness of this one, you sweet-toothed cake lovers might want this baby on your Christmas lists … I plan to give this a shot quite soon, possibly employing the one-for-the-cake, one-for-the-cook G&T methodology. The photo here is of Kate’s cake. I think you should all go make it and report back to us here. And for my next post I shall be returning to my spiritual home in the savoury world.
* Note, added May 4 2012: I’m afraid I have been feeling a bit worried about this post, given that the recipe is not mine or Kate’s, and I’m not sure whether the reproduction I had here is word for word or an adaptation. So, to be on the safe side of courtesy and ethics I’m removing it and suggesting that you buy or borrow Julie’s book for the original. Sorry to disappoint those hoping for the recipe. The book looks wonderful though so I am sure it will be worth the cover price!