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Lemon Gin & Tonic Cake

by Nadia Sawalha, Kaye Adams from Nadia & Kaye Disaster Chef

Fool-proof even for the most reluctant baker, this cake from Nadia & Kaye Disaster Chef brings together the flavours of this classic tipple in a delicious loaf.

From the book

Nadia Sawalha, Kaye Adams


KAYE: A tipsy twist on the classic lemon drizzle. What can I say, except: any excuse, any bloody excuse. I actually watched Nadia make this last week, while sinking quite a bit more gin than she put in the cake. Make ours a large one.


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For the cake:
200g (7oz) softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
175g (6oz) caster sugar
4 medium eggs
200g (7oz) self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
75ml (2½fl oz) gin
For the syrup:
60g (2oz) caster sugar
60ml (2fl oz) tonic water
2 tbsp gin
For the icing and decoration:
50g (1¾oz) granulated sugar
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp gin
1 lemon, very finely sliced with a mandoline

Essential kit

You will need: a 900g loaf tin and an electric whisk.


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).

Butter a 900g loaf tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.

Put the butter and sugar into a bowl, and whisk with an electric whisk until pale, light, and fluffy. Kaye says: How long do I have to stand here and do this? Nadia says: It should only take 5-6 minutes

Lightly beat the eggs in a jug. You just need them to all become the same uniform, yellow colour.

Pour them, bit by bit, into the butter and sugar mixture, whisking all the while.

Gently fold in the flour, baking powder, and lemon zest, so you don’t burst the air bubbles in the batter. Pour in the gin and give it a gentle stir. Spoon into the prepared tin.

Bake for 1 hour. After 55 minutes, insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and, if it comes out clean, take the cake out of the oven. If it doesn’t, give it another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar and tonic water into a small pan and set over a low heat. Kaye says: No sipping!

Stir until the sugar dissolves. Kaye says: How do I know when the sugar has dissolved? Nadia says: You’ll see it disappear and also feel no more graininess under the spoon

Increase the heat and boil the syrup for 1 minute without stirring.

Measure out 2 tbsp of the syrup into a small bowl and mix in the gin. (Discard the remaining syrup.)

Once the cake is out of the oven, use a skewer to make 8 holes in it.

Drizzle the gin syrup over the top of the cake and leave to cool in the tin.

Turn out the cake, turn it right-side up again, and place on a wire rack.

Mix together the ingredients for the icing and spoon it on the cake. Arrange the lemon slices along the top. Leave to set.

Eat. With a glass of G&T alongside… naturally.

Hack: To fold in flour, use a metal spoon or rubber spatula to cut down through the batter, then do a “lift and over” motion. Give the bowl a quarter-turn and repeat.

More Recipes from Disaster Chef

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Pretend Paella

by Nadia Sawalha, Kaye Adams from Disaster Chef

Pea and Bacon Soup

by Nadia Sawalha, Kaye Adams from Disaster Chef


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