gin and tonic cake sri lankan style

I have been promising to make the house staff a Gin and Tonic cake for ages and today I finally got around to it.  The first I have made in Sri Lanka and indeed the first baking I have done here at all; it was not without its challenges…

Assembling the ingredients has been more difficult than you’d imagine, who would have thought that lemons would be so difficult to come by? And caster sugar?  Thank goodness I had the foresight to bring baking powder with me from the UK, good old Waitrose to the rescue.

The challenges of baking in 30ºC were unexpected too.  Room temperature butter is pretty much liquid which made creaming the butter and sugar both interesting and time-consuming; a cycle of one minute beating and five minutes in the the fridge…  next time it will be a metal bowl in a sink-full of ice.

Substituting limes for lemons, granulated for caster and plain plus baking powder for self-raising has not however harmed the end result one jot.  Different from my UK version but just as moreish and delicious.

And the verdict from the staff? – “Kate Madam dessert, very, very nice taste” followed by a request to make another one!  I could not wish for higher praise.


  • 4 eggs weighed in their shells
  • equal weight of:
    • unsalted butter
    • caster sugar – I used granulated with no ill-effect
    • self-raising flour
  • juice and zest of 6 small limes – the tiny spherical ones were all I could find. Else use two lemons if you can get them. 
  • 250ml Rockland gin – or your current gin du jour
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • optional dash of tonic


  1. Preheat oven to 180C
  2. Weigh eggs in their shells and note the precise weight
  3. Weigh out this much each of butter and caster sugar and cream together until pale, light and fluffy
  4. Break in the eggs and beat until combined
  5. Sieve in same weight of flour and mix in
  6. Mix in zest of all the limes (or lemons)
  7. Finally stir through juice of 3 limes (or 1 lemon) and 100ml gin
  8. Transfer to a lined 2lb loaf tin and bake for 50 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. You may need to cover with foil for last 10-15 mins to stop it catching.
  9. Remove from oven and leave to cool whilst you make the drizzle
  10. Mix together the granulated sugar, the remainder of the gin and the juice of the remaining limes (or lemon).  You may also add a dash of tonic if you wish. I don’t usually bother with tonic.
  11. Prick the surface of the cake all over and spoon the drizzle over it so that the cake is saturated and the sugar has crusted on the top.
  12. Serve with a G&T or tea or both


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