Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Gin & Tonic Cake Mark 2

You may recall that my offering for my very first Clandestine Cake Club visit was a gin and tonic cake, and its safe to say there was scope for a lot of improvement in the recipe.

Well, when I heard that the theme for this month's Newcastle Clandestine Cake Club was Baking With Beverages, I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to give it another shot (haha, see what I did there?).

Last time, I thought the sponge was a very dense odd texture, the topping was too runny, and it just didn't taste of enough gin for my liking.

So i did a bit more research, and i found this blog by BakerGal. As you can see from the link, she tried a lime based sponge recipe, with the gin and tonic syrup, and a cream cheese cream topping, with gin in it of course. However, she also had a few improvements to make, so I used her recipe as a basis, did the suggested tweaks, and made the odd change here and there as i saw fit.

The result? Well, the cakes turned out fine. I put a smallish (probably actually quite large) dash of gin into the cake mixture to go along with the zesty lime sponge. It smelt rather nice and seemed to have a good texture when it came out of the oven.

As BakerGal suggested, I omitted the water from the gin syrup, and added about 50mls extra.

I fed the cake, then fed the cake again, then, when it was clearly at saturation point thought to myself "You can never have too much gin, even if you are a cake" so I sloshed another load on, only to have a huge crisis of panic that the cake was going to turn into a gin-flavoured mush. I spread a layer of lime marmalade, then went on to deal with the topping.

Again, I went along with the suggestion of BakerGal and substituted the whipping cream for sour cream. I also used half mascapone and half cream cheese. But the topping ended up being a total disaster, to be honest. Admittedly, it was a nice tasting disaster, but it ended up looking awful.  In a deja vu moment, the topping ended up far too runny, so it dripped, squidged, and flopped all over, producing a not-so-attractive totally miserable effect. If I were to make this again, I think I'd just omit the cream from the topping. I put less in than the recipe asked for anyway so goodness only knows what it would have turned out like had i put the full amount it. Without, it was a stiff, cream cheese butter frosting with a dash of G&T syrup, which probably would have been totally fine on it's own.

drip, drip, drip :(
But, never fear, for I had to hand a) some edible glitter b) some writing icing c) a variety of cocktail based tat.

NB: The cocktail picks around the outside are cleverly disguised as decorative, but are actually there in a desperate bid to keep the cake from completely disintegrating.
And so, with only a moderate amount of shame, and quite a lot of concern about the fact that it may entirely disintegrate on the way, I took along my cake to this month's Clandestine Cake Club, where it was promptly adorned with even more glitter and cocktail tat.

Cocktail umbrellas make everything better.
It made it in one, rather sloppy piece, but on cutting was actually surprisingly resilient, with quite a good texture. It had a very pleasing gin and tonic taste- you could tell that there was gin in it, which was what i wanted. None of this subtle flavouring malarkey for me, I want to know that there is GIN in my CAKE, dammit!

The reception at Cake Club was mixed. People were either "OMG GIN IN A CAKE" or responded with a slightly queasy "ummmm, I don't drink gin", evidently in most part due to memories of epic hangovers of days past. The general gist from those that tried it was that it was nice, it most definitely did taste of gin, and that the texture of the sponge was MUCH improved compared to the previous attempt at gin cake. However, it wasn't a show-stopper, or a life-changer, and there is still definite room for improvement where the topping is involved.

There is really only one explanation for this high failure rate in gin and tonic cake technology. And I think that is physics. allow me to explain:

gin + tonic+ cake= pleasing treat
gin + tonic+cake+prettiness= something so amazing a wormhole will open and the universe will eat itself in a blaze of sulphurous fury.

Allow me to apologise right now by the way, but I have NO pics at all from this month's cake club. I forgot my camera, and my little Blackberry is severely lacking in the camera states. The Venue was the amazing dining room at Blackfriars. It was a really brilliant room, with two long banqueting tables just perfect for displaying such a huge range of cakes. But alas, the lighting in there was quite dim, and my little flashless Blackberry just couldn't cope. I shall let you know when some other cake clubbers add some posts to their blogs, so you can peruse their beautiful pictures of this cakey heaven. It was great to see and meet some new faces, and to catch up with some familiar faces.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Hayley!

    Thanks for trying some of the tweaks I was thinking of. This is one experimental recipe I'd love to keep pursuing, in hopes of finally getting an awesome gin and tonic cake. I'll keep your experiences in mind on my next go-around with it! I'll check in with you when I do, since it looks like we're on a shared quest for a common end.

    Another thought I've had is to try the next iteration in cupcake form...