Gin and Tonic Cake

Recipe: Gin and Tonic Cake

We first served this cake during our artist residency How to Flatten a Mountain. The weather had been more reliably fine during this program, and Caitriona wanted to create something festive and a bit lighter for the artist’s last night on the farm. Her first thought was to create a lemon drizzle cake, but we were entirely out of lemons. We did, however, have plenty of limes on hand. As someone who enjoys the occasional cocktail, Caitriona decided to build a cake inspired by the popular drink. The cake went down well, and Caitriona has made it several times since. It’s excellent in the late afternoon after a barbecue in the sun.

Caitriona incorporates the flavors of fresh lime, gin, and tonic into each element of the cake. She starts by adding the zest and juice of two limes into the batter. When the sponge has cooled, she then drizzles each layer with a syrup infused with tonic and gin. Lastly, she ices the cake with whipped cream laced with more gin and sugar. A nice touch with this cake is the addition of fresh raspberries worked into each layer, and mint leaves to top. This cake balances sweet and sour notes so well, and even if people have slightly overindulged in their dinner, they always seem to have room for a slice.

A few notes from Caitriona before you begin this recipe. After you add the flour, when making the sponge, only mix the batter until the ingredients are fully incorporated. If you overmix the batter, the resulting sponge will not be as light and fluffy. Caitriona also advises that you taste the batter to ensure there is an adequate amount of lime. Limes can vary, so you may want to add a bit more. When making the syrup be sure to let the tonic and sugar cool before adding the gin; and lastly, when making the whipped cream frosting, you can take some liberties with the amount of gin you add. The amount used depends on your taste and how long you want the party to last! Finally, if you can get your hands on a bottle of Dingle Gin, use it for this recipe; it’s Caitriona’s favorite.

Gin and Tonic Cake: Ingredients

Sponge Cake

  • 16oz room temperature butter

  • 16oz caster sugar

  • 8 large eggs

  • 16oz self-raising flour

  • 3 tbsp milk

  • 2 limes (zest and juice)

Gin and Tonic Syrup

  • 100g Caster sugar

  • 7 tbsp tonic water

  • 6 tbsp gin

Fresh Cream Icing

  • 500ml fresh cream

  • 4 tbsp icing sugar

  • 3 tbsp gin (more to taste, if needed)

  • 125g fresh raspberries


Preheat your oven to 170 C/340 F. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Sieve in the flour, and beat into the mix. Do this until it is all combined; you must not over mix the batter.

Mix in the milk, lime zest, and juice. Put mixture into prepared cake tins and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponge center comes out clean.

While the sponge is baking, make the syrup. In a small saucepan, add in the tonic water and sugar. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Allow the mix to cool, then add the gin.
Once out of the oven for ten minutes, poke holes in the sponge with a skewer. With a pastry brush, brush the surface with about half the syrup. Leave it to cool completely before removing them from the cake tins.

When the sponge is cooled, use a knife and scrape around the edges of the tin so it releases easily. Slice each sponge in two lengthways to make the four layers of your cake.

Make your cream icing. Whip the cream until it reaches a peak that can hold; add in the icing sugar and gin. Taste, and if the gin flavor is not coming through, add a splash more at a time until you get the desired taste that you prefer.

To assemble the cake put a dollop of cream in the center of the cake dish. Put down your first layer of sponge and brush on some syrup. Layer on some, then chop up some fresh raspberries and distribute them on top. Place the next layer of sponge and repeat for all the layers. Apply cream to the outside of the cake and top with fresh raspberries, lime zest, and mint.

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