Gin and lemon drizzle traybake

It was only a matter of time before the gin made it into the food recipes.

I like baking but I’m not a big cake eater. I don’t really care for buttercream and frosting and sickly cupcakes. I prefer a plainer cake, usually a loaf cake. Something about loaf cakes feels more casual, like it’s totally acceptable to always have one in the house and to eat it at any time of the day. The thing that makes this cake for me is the crunchy topping. Using granulated sugar ensures it doesn’t dissolve in the lemon juice and you get a lovely contrast of textures in each mouthful. The cake itself is really soft and light. This is the first time I have added gin to this cake, and I chose a classic gin to complement the lemon flavour. In the cake itself the gin is not that noticeable but it gives the drizzle a nice kick. And it goes down wonderfully served as part of a gin tasting evening as it was here. If you wish to leave the gin out then there are replacements below. Indeed if you are a cake-for-breakfast type of person I would probably recommend de-ginning this cake; it’s a bit much before midday!

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Makes approx. 16 squares

You will need a 9″ (23cm) square cake or roasting tin 

For the cake:

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 30ml gin (or replace with 2 tbsp milk)
  • Zest of 2 lemons

For the topping:

  • 175g granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 100ml gin (or replace with the juice of another lemon)

Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F. Grease the tin and line the bottom and sides with baking parchment.

Add all the cake ingredients into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for around two minutes until well blended. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and smooth the top with the back of a spatula.

Bake on the middle shelf of your preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. The bake is ready when it is coming away slightly from the sides of the tin and it springs back when the centre is pressed lightly with a finger.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes while you make your topping. Mix the sugar with the lemon juice and the gin, it should give a runny yet granular consistency.

Place the cake on a wire rack, removing the baking parchment as you do. With a skewer poke holes in the surface of the cake and spoon the topping over carefully. You may find you have to do this in a couple of layers, letting the syrup soak in, but make sure you cover the entire surface and use all the topping while the cake is still warm. Cut the cake into squares when it has completely cooled.

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