Who fancies a G&T… in a cake?

I created this recipe at a food festival last autumn. I was walking around, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying what my home county of Cumbria has to offer, when I stumbled upon a fabulous gin. It got me thinking… How could I work the beautiful botanicals and classic British drink that is gin and tonic into my baking? 

By delicious. guest expert, TV presenter and baker Peter Sidwell

Who fancies a G&T… in a cake?

In my test kitchen at the Simply Good Cookery School I’ve been busy developing a yogurt-based cake that’s easy to make and versatile for carrying flavours… And so the gin and tonic lime cake was born and baked. It went down a storm at the festival, let me tell you.

gandt cake

The recipe has plenty of lime zest in it, which gives the sponge zing. Rather that smothering the top with icing sugar I decided a syrup would be the best way of delivering the all-important gin and tonic flavour to the sponge. Finally, a good sprinkle of granulated sugar over the top of the cake is a nostalgic reminder of how Granny used to make a lemon drizzle cake. 

TIP Using a yogurt-based recipe for the sponge gives the cake a pleasing, soft crumb and means it will keep for up to a week in an airtight container. But I suspect it won’t last that long…


  • 225g butter, at room temperature
  • 275g golden caster sugar 
  • Finely grated zest and juice from 2 limes (put the zest and juice in separate small bowls)
  • 3 large eggs, beaten 
  • 210g natural full-fat yogurt 
  • 330g self-raising flour 
  • 100ml gin 
  • 100ml tonic 
  • 150g granulated sugar, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling


1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3. Grease a 15cm x 30 cm cake tin and line with baking parchment.

2. Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and add the golden caster sugar. Add the lime zest and, using an electric whisk (or you can do it by hand), give it a quick whisk to bring it all together. Don’t worry about creaming the mix until fluffy – that’s not necessary with this recipe.

3. Add the eggs and yogurt to the bowl, then give the mixture another quick whisk. Add the flour then, using a metal spoon, carefully bring the mixture together. Don’t beat the life out of it – mix until the flour has just been incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the lined cake tin and smooth the top.

4. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

5. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put 100g of the granulated sugar into a pan with the gin, tonic and lime juice. Place the pan on a medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil, then let it bubble for 3-4 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Take off the heat.

6. Using a fork, carefully poke lots of holes in the top of the cake. Spoon half the syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in. After a couple of minutes spoon over the remaining syrup. It may seem as if there’s a lot of syrup, but it will all sink in to create a wonderfully moist cake – so moist it doubles up as a pudding.

7. Finally, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar over the top of the cake, remove it carefully from the tin, then leave to cool on a wire rack.

Web editor’s note: When I made this in the test kitchen I served it, still warm, with Jude’s new gin and tonic ice cream – available from Ocado from June 1.

gin and tonic cake with ice cream

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