Here at the Gin Box we’ve been hearing a lot about gin and tonic cake and we’ve tried a couple of examples that were pretty good so we decided to give it a go ourselves. Now there is a minor issue in that we don’t really bake.

We can certainly cook a mean roast dinner and BBQ like a trooper but baking has never really featured highly on the skill set. Cue our good friends at Social Pantry in London. They’ve got lots of experience with gin and tonic and more importantly lots and lots of experience with excellent cake.

First up we had to decide on a cake medium - this was easy, sponge. Next up was shape and as we can only really think of three - loaf shaped, round shaped or fairy shaped - it wasn’t too difficult to reach a conclusion. Fairy.

So having purchased a dozen appropriate cake cups we consulted SP on the best possible recipe.


  • 175g Self Raising Flour
  • 175g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 175g Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Eggs
  • 70ml Good Quality Tonic Water

For the butter icing:

  • 200g Butter
  • 450g Icing sugar
  • 1 Lemon (juiced)

“But where’s the bloody gin?”

I hear you say. Well, in the interests of scientific curiosity we thought it a good idea to experiment with a variety of gins in order to offer some sound advice to any tipsy baker that might decide to follow in our footsteps. So the gins we chose were as follows:

  1. NB - A classic London dry (think of this as the control), that’s just won the award for BEST london dry no less
  2. Sibling - A more fruity gin with blueberries and vanilla in the botanicals.
  3. Jensen’s Old Tom - We wondered if the sweeter flavour of the Old tom might be fairly appropriate for cake making.


  1. Preheat oven to 170 and make sure your butter is soft enough to work with.
  2. Mix together your sugar and butter to a creamy consistency.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time until they are fully combined.
  4. Sift the flour in making sure you fold rather than mix.
  5. Add the tonic water and again fold into the mix.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 20 mins or until a knife pierced into the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the baking tray and leave on a rack to cool.
  8. While the cakes are still warm, pierce the top and brush a generous amount of gin into each one.

For the butter icing

  1. Whisk the above ingredients together in a bowl until you get a light, fluffy mix and pipe onto each cake once cooled.
  2. We then garnished with some lemon zest on the cakes with Jensen’s and NB in them and a bit of orange zest on the Sibling cakes.

The Winner

For me the winner was the Jensen’s Old Tom cakes.
All of them were lovely and moist (thanks to the tonic I think) and had a great ‘ginny’ flavour but overall the Old Tom gave the most depth of flavour with just the right amount of sweetness.

I think you could add more gin to the butter icing if you wished.