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Gin and Tonic Cake

Gin & Tonic Cake

The spirit of a classic highball in a show-stopping cake.

Combine drinks and dessert into one stunning presentation with this gorgeous cocktail-inspired cake. In her book, Lemons and Limes: 75 Bright and Zesty Ways to Enjoy Cooking with Citrus, chef and author Ursula Ferrigno channels the botanical flavors of a classic Gin and Tonic into an elegantly decorated dessert.

Soaked in a gin and tonic syrup then drizzled with tangy lemon icing and accented with delicate sugared fruit (which can be prepped up to two days in advance), this Gin and Tonic Cake is sure to be the star of any gathering.


  • 3 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 3 cups plus 5 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 13 eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. gin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. tonic water
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two round cake pans (10-inch and 6 1/2-inch) by greasing with unsalted butter and dusting with flour.

In a food processor, cream together the butter and sugar. Break the eggs into a pitcher, then pour gradually into the running food processor. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the gin, tonic water, zest, flour, and baking powder to the bowl and stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture evenly into the prepared cake pans. Bake the large cake for 50 to 60 minutes and the small cake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the pans for 10 minutes after removing from the oven. Pour the gin and tonic syrup (recipe below) over the warm cakes while still in the pans, spreading with a pastry brush to ensure an even coating. Leave the cakes to cool in the pans before removing.

Cut the tops off the cakes to make them level and even in height. Place the larger cake on a serving plate and center the smaller cake on top. Pour the lemon icing (recipe below) over the top cake and let it drizzle onto the lower cake. Using a metal spatula, spread the icing to form a thin layer on top. Let the icing dry for at least an hour before decorating. Place the sugared fruits and leaves (recipe below) on the top cake and around the edge of the lower cake.

Gin and Tonic SyrupIn a small saucepan, combine 3/4 cup of gin, 3 1/2 Tbsp. of tonic water, 1¼ cups of granulated sugar, and the zest of two lemons. Stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved and then bring to a boil. Boil gently for about 5 minutes until a syrupy consistency is achieved.

Lemon IcingIn a small bowl, combine 2 3/4 cups of confectioner’s sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. of lemon zest, 1/3 cup of lemon juice, and 4 tsp. of extra-light olive oil and whisk until smooth.

Sugared Fruit and LeavesWash and thoroughly dry a selection of small fresh fruits and leaves (such as kumquats, figs, grapes, red currants, citrus leaves, and small grape leaves). In a small bowl, lightly whisk one egg white. Using a pastry brush, brush the fruit and leaves with the egg white. Shake off excess. Thoroughly sprinkle the fruits and leaves with superfine sugar, making sure they have an even coating. Set the fruit aside on a dry tray or plate at room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days before using. Do not refrigerate.

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