Gin and Tonic Syrup Sponges
It’ no secret that we at the Cake Nest love a good G&T. Or any old G&T for that matter. However, if I had my way, I would drink them more than once a day and that could result in some unfortunate spellings on message cakes. So why not combine this deliciously refreshing beverage with cake, another top favourite here? Following in the footsteps of our G&T cake balls (which were my main source of inspiration) I came up with a dessert for Sunday lunch: effortless to make and combines the light fragrant flavour of a gin and tonic, without the effort of mincing up juniper berries (ahem, Steve).
Finding the best flavour combination in the syrup sponge was a brain teaser. There is debate on the best g&t accompaniment; many gin experts claim lime shouldn’t even be considered, while strips of mango are fashionable in the Mediterranean. Personally, I think a simple slice of cucumber works wonders, but I’m yet to find a dessert containing cucumber. Therefore I quickly settled on grapefruit. Sweeter than lemon or lime, it remains tangy and refreshing, while its luminous pink draws the eye like a bakery window display. I also added the zest of a lime to bring out this gentle flavour with a bit of punch in the soft and sweet sponge. The dessert is light and fluffy, unlike many syrupy stodgy puddings, therefore complimenting the delicate flavour of a gin and tonic, while the sticky syrup is tart with a hit of booze. (Alcohol ratios can be adapted…)
100ml tonic water
Juice of half a grapefruit
75g caster sugar
4 half segments of grapefruit, rind intact
1. Measure out the liquids and pour into a heavy-based pan. Add the sugar and mix until dissolved. Put the pan on low to medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. grapefruit
2. Once the syrup has reduced by half, add the grapefruit segments and leave on a low heat to soften. When ready, the fruit should still hold its shape but be sticky and soft. Remove from the syrup and set aside.
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
Zest of 1 grapefruit
Zest of 1 lime
125g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
4tbsp tonic water (slightly flat) baking tips
3. Grease four moulds/ramekins/individual pudding basins with butter and flour. Set the oven to 180C.
4. To make the sponges, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time until incorporated.
5. Add the grapefruit and lime zest to the mixture and fold it in with sifted flour and baking powder. Gin & Tonic Cake
6. Pour in the tonic water and fold. The mixture might look a little loose or curdled – if so add a splash of milk.
7. Divide the syrup between the four pudding moulds then spoon the cake mixture on top. Bake for 25 minutes on the top shelf of the oven.
8. Once cooked slide a knife around the moulds and let them set for a minute or so before turning them upside-down on plates. Again, leave them for a moment before removing the mould. Serve with a candied segment of grapefruit on top and a dollop of crème fraiche or ice cream.