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Gin and Tonic Cupcakes

by Martha Swift & Lisa Thomas from Primrose Bakery Celebrations

Take your favourite tipple and turn it into this Primrose Bakery creation! These lemon cupcakes are finished with a luxurious gin and tonic infused buttercream.

From the book

Martha Swift, Lisa Thomas


This was the first cupcake we created with alcohol in both the sponge and icing, and we now sell them on a regular basis in our shops. We try to ensure that children are not eating them, but some have been known to, and they seem to go down very well!

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For the gin and tonic syrup:
85ml tonic water
Juice of 1½ lemons
100g granulated sugar
1 lemon, finely sliced
85ml gin
For the sponge:
150g golden caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
17g cornflour
⅔ tsp baking powder
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, preferably free-range or organic
½ tsp good-quality vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk
Zest of 1½ lemons
For the icing:
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
60ml reserved gin and tonic syrup
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
500g icing sugar, sifted
Candied lemon slices or lemon zest, to decorate

Essential kit

You will need a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases, and a food processor.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan)/350°F/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases.

First make the syrup by combining the tonic water, lemon juice and sugar in a pan. Place on the hob and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until it becomes syrup-like. Add the lemon slices and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the gin and stir again. Allow to cool, then strain. Reserve 60ml of the syrup to use in the icing, and set the rest aside until needed.

In a food processor, mix the sugar, flour, cornflour and baking powder until well combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and process very briefly (roughly 10 seconds) until evenly mixed.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cases and bake in the oven for about 15-18 minutes, until risen and golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Take the cupcakes out of the oven and brush the surface of each one with some of the gin and tonic syrup. Then brush them again with more syrup. Allow to cool in the tray for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool fully before icing, by which time the syrup will have soaked through the sponge.

To make the icing, beat the butter, syrup, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar in a bowl until smooth. This will usually take a few minutes. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar to produce a buttercream of a creamy and smooth consistency. Ice each cupcake with the icing, and decorate with a candied lemon slice, some lemon zest or a slice of lemon.

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From the book: Primrose Bakery Celebrations

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