Ingredients for a gin and tonic loaf
Baking has been an integral part of my life since I was a little girl. I recall watching my mom in the kitchen, eagerly awaiting the batter bowl and spoon to lick clean once the session ended. I was always disappointed that she hadn’t left a little more for me, and dispelled her warnings of raw eggs and flour which would give me a tummy ache, vowing that someday I would leave enough for myself feast on.
As I grew older, my own baking journey began with its initial mark in the form of a burn on my right arm from a pancake session I had embarked upon while my parents had been out.
I was not deterred by the minor mishap and went on to take home economics in high school which was not simply easier to pass than science (ok maybe a little), but we also learnt about the biology behind eggs, the intricacies of yeast, all about meat and even a little interior design and basic sewing too. I can safely say that these are the lessons that I took into my adult life, not the square root of 17 or quadratic equations.
I’m not too shabby when it comes to culinary endeavors, not a ground breaking inventor but my food is certainly edible and at times highly favoured- particularly my Czech meals for some reason. It is at baking that I excel the most and find a sort of inner peace; until something burns or flops of course.
Baking ingredients may be a little pricier than other foodstuffs, which does act as a slight deterrent but the larger problem is my waistline which expands every time I turn on the oven because I tend to gobble up everything that comes out of that delicious forge.
With bikini season only a distant memory, I decided it was high time to produce some confections, only this time using gin! I found a recipe on the Good Housekeeping website and made a few minor alterations including the use of lemons instead of limes. For any who want to view it; http://www.goodhousekeeping.co.uk/food/recipes/gin-and-tonic-loaf
There was no better opportunity to use my brand new Sipsmith gin, which I procured in the very heart of London. I personally found the flavour of Sipsmith to be very smooth and soft, enough so that I would certainly sip it neat. This gin has a nose, palate and finish that strongly features lemon which is why I opted to use lemons instead of limes in this particular bake.
I was mostly happy with the result. The loaf was good but the trouble with alcohol comes in when you heat or cook it, most of the kick evaporates leaving you with just a hint which isn’t always enough.
Pouring gin into the batter
To compensate, I poured a good shot into the icing sugar which went straight onto the top of the cake. The candied lemons were very flavoursome though perhaps next time I would add the gin only after taking the pot off the stove and letting them steep for a while.
In spite of minor complications, the loaf turned out well and tasted even better. The only additional advice I have is to check your oven temperature – I am not certain if my thermostat is broken but my loaf started burning after only 15 minutes in the oven and I still had another 45 minutes to go. If it was not my oven giving me a hard time and you also find your cake catching then my advice would be to pop some foil over the entire cake while it bakes. Once it is out of the oven, even if it has caught a little on the edges, it is no tragedy because that is the bottom of the loaf. A few hacks here and there with a serrated knife will leave you with a clean base to flip over onto and begin decorating. Just like that, you too will have yourself the perfect gin loaf. Experiment with the gin as you see fit but be careful of overdoing it. This is the one time that there is such a thing as too much gin!
Be sure to keep your own gin and tonic topped off!
The final beautiful loaf
I am looking forward to the warmer months in which I will be able to make gin ice lollies and iced tea but for now I have set my sights on a trifle which may turn out just boozy enough for me.
Watch the quick video I created (the whisk didn’t work so well in the beginning!!!)
Be sure to catch the full video in case you missed it