Gin + tonic + cake: what’s not to love?

October 24, 2011

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!


  1. wow, that sounds divine…I shall make as soon as I am able

  2. Good grief that sounds good. Exactly my kind of cake as well. G&T and *lots* of citrus. Delicious

  3. Oh sounds delicious – any recipe by Julie le Clerc is great, she’s one of my favourite cooks. Highly recommend her Simple Deli Food cookbook.

  4. I’ll have the G&T, hold the cake.

  5. Sounds great.
    This’ll be causing a sensation down the Ashram on Friday night. I may be the only person to be ejected from spiritual path due to cake related infringements, will blame it all on C Wood.

  6. The only time I had a drink in the past 35 yrs was a couple of
    G & T’s.
    Everyone said all I did was sit around and smile,well grin stupidly I think is more accurate.
    Might have to give the cake a whirl and see what happened second time around. Hhmm, leave the simmering off and just pour the gin on…. The bloke’ll love it (the grinning more than the cake I suspect)
    Les xxx

  7. I love gin (vitamin G) + tonic, will definitely give that a go, thanks for sharing 🙂

  8. Love the idea of sexing up your good old butter cake type of recipe.
    Should create some good conversation among some of my friends who are lucky enough to enjoy it with me. Thanks Nancy

  9. Oh, that is definitely one for me. YUM.

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