Sometimes people ask me how I get my ideas for “The Great Indoors.” Most of the time, it’s pretty easy, especially as we approach notable foodie times times of the year like Thanksgiving, Christmas or Super Bowl party time.
But what kind of recipe should I share on a random Thursday in early April?
Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?
Enter my column fodder savior: the weird holiday. While definitely not “official,” these holidays make random weekdays more interesting and give us all a chance to learn something new. For example, according to holidayinsights.com this month alone you can celebrate 8-track-tape day (April 10), Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (April 12) and Shrimp Scampi Day (April 29).
While I love shrimp, grilled cheese and outdated ‘70s technology, I was especially excited to see that International Gin and Tonic Day is also just around the corner (April 9). It seems that gin and tonics are such a big deal they’re actually celebrated on two different days (April 9 and October 19). No one knows why but maybe it’s because the gin and tonic – a staple of lazy summer days at the lake – had much more altruistic beginnings half a world a way.
Gin and tonics were first served for medicinal reasons during the 19th century British colonization of India. In fact, former Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said the cocktail “has saved the lives and minds of more Englishmen than all the doctors in the empire.”
With that pedigree in mind, the gin and tonic needs to be elevated from mere (but delicious) cocktail to fabulous and delicious dessert. I found this recipe for gin and tonic cake on the site “How Sweet It Is” and changed it ever so slightly. Watch our video to see how it’s done.
It’s basically a moist and delicious lime cake amped up with a gin glaze and a lime/gin whipped cream frosting. (In fact, if you leave the gin out, it’s still a really great, kid-friendly cake). It’s a perfect cake for a summer cocktail party on the deck or to pack in your Tupperware container when you go off to colonize a foreign land. Happy International Gin and Tonic Day!
Gin and Tonic Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons lime zest
1/4 cup gin
1/4 cup milk
Juice of 1 lime
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons gin
Juice of 1 lime
Gin/Lime Whipped Cream
1 pint cold whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons of gin
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy. Add in sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl if needed. Add an egg one at a time, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next. Add vanilla and lime zest and mix.
With the mixer on low speed, add half the dry ingredients. Add gin, milk and lime juice, mixing until combined and scraping the bowl if necessary. Add remaining flour and beat until just combined. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking dish, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until top is golden and center is not jiggly.
While cake is baking, mix the glaze together and set aside. Remove cake from oven and immediately poke holes over top with a toothpick or fork. Pour gin glaze over then, then let cake cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, add cream, vanilla, half the lime zest, lime juice, gin and powdered sugar and beat until cream stiffens, about 5-6 minutes. Frost cake using a piping bag. Garnish with rest of the lime zest and slices of lime.
Recipe altered from “How Sweet It Is”