A SPLASH OF GIN

Food & Drink - - TABLE OF CONTENTS -

Many of the in­gre­di­ents that give gins their dis­tinc­tive pro­files add their warmth and spice to bak­ing, so how about a Gin & Tonic cake?

There’s a spe­cial alchemy to craft­ing gin. Se­lect­ing from a range of fra­grant botan­i­cals— rar­efied or­ris root and grains of par­adise; more fa­mil­iar spices like anise, cin­na­mon, saf­fron and nut­meg; citrus rind and, al­ways, ju­niper for its dis­tinc­tive “ginny” flavour and aroma—each dis­tiller cre­ates a unique spirit. Ex­ot­ica aside, many of the in­gre­di­ents that give fine gins their dis­tinc­tive pro­files are found in our kitchens where they add their warmth and spice to our favourite bak­ing recipes. Which got us think­ing….

What if we mar­ried gin and tonic, not in a glass but in a bak­ing pan, along with some gin-friendly flavour­ings? The re­sult is a spe­cial, adults-only con­fec­tion that would make the per­fect fi­nale to a smart lit­tle cock­tail party. Our stun­ning cake fea­tures ju­niper for that dis­tinc­tive hit of gin. There’s lime, of course (what’s a G&T with­out a twist?) and car­damom to echo the spice notes in our go-to gin. Vapour-in­fused in small batches, Ge­or­gian Bay Gin (LCBO 448597, $39.95) uses hand-picked ju­niper from the shores of On­tario’s Ge­or­gian Bay. We love its citrus and ju­niper notes and hints of car­damom. It’s a Cana­dian clas­sic in the mak­ing. Our Bundt cake is, too.

GIN & TONIC BUNDT CAKE

Make sure to mea­sure the flour for this moist cake us­ing the spoon-and-sweep method (spoon the flour into the mea­sur­ing cup un­til it heaps above the rim, then sweep a knife across the cup to level the flour), rather than scoop­ing the flour di­rectly from the con­tainer. It’s worth buy­ing new ju­niper berries rather than us­ing any lan­guish­ing in your cup­board where they quickly lose their dis­tinc­tive flavour.

CAKE

Softened un­salted but­ter and all-pur­pose flour for coat­ing pan

4 tsp (20 mL) dried ju­niper berries

2 cups (500 mL) gran­u­lated sugar, di­vided 1 cup (250 mL) un­salted but­ter, softened

3 cups (750 mL) all-pur­pose flour

2 tsp (10 mL) ground car­damom

½ tsp (2 mL) bak­ing soda

½ tsp (2 mL) ta­ble salt

4 large eggs, at room tem­per­a­ture

4 tsp (20 mL) finely grated lime zest

(about 3 large limes)

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

1 cup (250 mL) but­ter­milk (shake car­ton well be­fore mea­sur­ing)

2 tbsp (30 mL) gin

G&T SYRUP

1 tbsp (15 mL) ju­niper berries ½ cup (125 mL) gran­u­lated sugar ½ cup (125 mL) tonic wa­ter

2 tbsp (30 mL) gin

GIN & LIME GLAZE

1½ cups (375 mL) ic­ing sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice, ap­prox. 1 tbsp (15 mL) gin, ap­prox.

1 tsp (5 mL) white corn syrup

Pinch of ta­ble salt

Candied Lime Rind (recipe fol­lows) or finely grated lime zest for gar­nish

1 Pre­heat oven to 325°F (160°C).

2 For cake, gen­er­ously but­ter a 10-inch (3 L) Bundt pan. Tip a lit­tle flour into pan, then tilt pan to com­pletely coat in­sides with flour. Tap to tip out ex­cess flour, then set pan aside.

3 In a small skil­let, toast ju­niper berries over medium heat un­til plump, glossy and fra­grant, about 2 min­utes. Re­move from heat and let cool com­pletely. 4 In a spice grinder, com­bine toasted ju­niper berries and 1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar. Grind un­til mix­ture is re­duced to a fine pow­der (this can take a cou­ple of min­utes).

5 In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl and us­ing a hand-held elec­tric mixer), beat to­gether ju­niper mix­ture, re­main­ing sugar and but­ter un­til light and fluffy.

6 Mean­while, in a medium bowl, whisk to­gether flour, car­damom, bak­ing soda and salt, then set aside.

7 Beat eggs into sugar mix­ture, 1 at a time, beat­ing well af­ter each ad­di­tion and scrap­ing down sides of bowl if nec­es­sary. Beat in lime zest, then beat in vanilla.

8 With a rub­ber spat­ula or large metal spoon, fold flour mix­ture into sugar mix­ture al­ter­nately with but­ter­milk, mak­ing 3 ad­di­tions of flour and 2 of but­ter­milk, un­til no streaks of flour re­main. Fold in gin (bat­ter may look cur­dled, but don’t worry).

9 Scrape bat­ter into pre­pared pan and smooth top level. Bake un­til a slim skewer in­serted in cen­tre of cake comes out clean and cake starts to pull away from sides of pan, 65 to 75 min­utes.

10 Re­move cake from oven. Run a small spat­ula around edge of pan and around cen­tre post. Put pan on wire rack and let cake cool in pan for 10 min­utes.

11 While cake is cool­ing, pre­pare G&T syrup. Crush ju­niper berries in a mor­tar and pes­tle, then tip into a small saucepan. Add sugar and tonic wa­ter to saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stir­ring to dis­solve sugar. Let mix­ture bub­ble un­til liquid has re­duced by half, about 5 min­utes. Re­move from heat; strain through a fine sieve into a small pitcher, dis­card­ing ju­niper berries. Stir in gin.

12 Af­ter cake has cooled for 10 min­utes, turn it out of pan onto a wire rack set over a rimmed bak­ing sheet. With a slim skewer, make deep holes all over top of cake.

13 Very grad­u­ally driz­zle hot G&T syrup over cake, let­ting cake absorb syrup be­fore adding more. Let cake cool com­pletely on wire rack.

14 For gin and lime glaze, sift ic­ing sugar into a medium bowl. In a small bowl, stir to­gether 1 tbsp (15 mL) lime juice, 1 tbsp (15 mL) gin, corn syrup and salt. Grad­u­ally whisk lime juice mix­ture into ic­ing sugar un­til glaze is smooth. If glaze is too thick to driz­zle, whisk in a lit­tle more lime juice or gin, ac­cord­ing to taste.

15 Ei­ther leave cake on wire rack over bak­ing sheet or care­fully trans­fer it to a serv­ing plate. If mov­ing to a serv­ing plate, place strips of parch­ment paper un­der cake all way round to pre­vent glaze from drip­ping onto plate, if de­sired. Grad­u­ally driz­zle glaze evenly over cake, let­ting ex­cess drib­ble down sides.

16 Ar­range Candied Lime Rind dec­o­ra­tively on top of glaze, or sprin­kle with grated lime zest. Set cake aside at room tem­per­a­ture un­til glaze has set, at least 1 hour. Ei­ther care­fully trans­fer cake to a serv­ing plate, or re­move parch­ment paper. Cut cake into slices to serve.

Makes one 10-inch (30-cm) cake, 16 to 20 slices CANDIED LIME RIND

You can use this method to candy any citrus rind for a tangy gar­nish for cakes and pas­tries. The candied zest will keep for sev­eral weeks in an air­tight con­tainer at room tem­per­a­ture.

1 lime

1 cup (250 mL) gran­u­lated sugar, di­vided ⅓ cup (80 mL) wa­ter

1 Trim ends from lime, then cut lime length­wise into 8 wedges. With a small, very sharp knife, cut away and dis­card flesh and as much white pith as pos­si­ble from each wedge, un­til in­side of rind looks green. Cut each piece of rind length­wise into very thin strips.

2 Put strips of lime rind in a small saucepan and add enough cold wa­ter to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, then boil, un­cov­ered, for 5 min­utes. Drain well.

3 Re­turn rind to saucepan and cover again with cold wa­ter. Bring to a boil, then boil for 5 min­utes. Drain well. Re­peat this process once again, for a to­tal of 3 times. Set rind aside.

4 In same saucepan, com­bine ½ cup (125 mL) sugar and ⅓ cup (80 mL) wa­ter and stir over medium-high heat un­til sugar dis­solves. Bring to a boil. Add lime rind and re­duce heat to medium-low. Sim­mer, un­cov­ered, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til rind is translu­cent, about 40 min­utes. As liquid re­duces, lower heat fur­ther to main­tain a gen­tle bub­ble.

5 Mean­while, spread out re­main­ing sugar in a large shal­low dish. Line a large bak­ing sheet with parch­ment paper.

6 Drain lime rind through a fine sieve. Us­ing 2 forks and work­ing quickly, trans­fer a few pieces of lime rind to sugar in dish. Use forks to toss lime rind, coat­ing each piece com­pletely with sugar. Trans­fer to pre­pared bak­ing sheet, spread­ing out pieces of lime rind so they don’t touch. Re­peat with re­main­ing lime rind. Let lime rind dry at room tem­per­a­ture, at least 2 hours (on a hu­mid day, rind will take longer to dry).

Makes about ½ cup (125 mL)

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