- Small pleasures, small pleasures, who would deny us these? Gin toddies, large measures -
As a child of the nineties, Charles Dickens' tragic heroine taught me from an early age that small pleasures make for a very fine life indeed. I'd even go so far as to suggest that Nancy paid her spirit of choice a bit of a disservice. To this writer at least, large measures make for large pleasures - but maybe that's just personal preference.
Nancy had clearly twigged that there are very few situations for which a G&T is inappropriate. Summer, winter, formal, casual - the gin and tonic is the little black dress of the drinks cabinet. It's hard to beat a well made gin and tonic, so much so that my work colleagues swear by the infamous 'gin interlude', so named as a refreshing break from the steady flow of prosecco (*fulfilled every PR stereotype in a single sentence*).
That aside, Uncle Gordons and Auntie Sapphire have certainly nurtured my friends and I through our younger years, being there through the good, bad, ugly and side-splittingly hilarious. You've got to hand it to my gin-relatives, they've always got your back.
And so it was as I sipped on a particularly good G&T last weekend that I wondered, why not put gin in a cake? Adding a little spirit to your baked goods is nothing new, but you don't often stumble across Gordons or Bombay in the ingredients list. This cake took a few attempts to get right - I'm rather disappointed at the caution I exercised on my first attempt, as this little number can certainly hold her drink.
A beauty this cake is not, but don't let that fool you. She's seeped in gin and rich with sunny lemon zest. I think it really works, but don't take my word for it. Bake 'er up for someone special, and they'll be the rum to your baba before you've got the ice out of the freezer.
4 eggs, weighed in their shells
equal weight of:
8-10 shots of your favourite gin
dash tonic water (optional)
150g granulated sugar
Ensure that all your ingredients are at room temperature, and preheat the oven to 180C. Weigh your eggs in their shells, and make a note of the exact weight. Weigh out this much butter and caster sugar, and cream together until light, fluffy and pale. Crack in the eggs, and beat until combined. Sieve in the flour, mix again, then grate in the zest of both lemons. Stir through the juice of 1 lemon and 3-4 shots of gin, then pour into a lined 1kg loaf tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, or until the cake passes the knife test.
Remove from the oven, and set aside while you make the drizzle. combine the sugar, gin, tonic and remaining lemon in a bowl. Prick the surface of the cake with a fork, then poor over the drizzle. Don't worry if it looks messy - it will more than make up for it in flavour.