A student's guide to baking

Posts tagged ‘Lemon’

Carnation Cupcakes

P1090037

Ingredients (makes 36 total, 12 of each colour):

White:

The cake:

  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 lemon, zest

The icing:

  • 125g butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 lemon, juice

Pink:

The cake:

  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 12 squares of dark chocolate
  • 12 raspberries

The icing:

  • 125g butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 12 raspberries

Red:

The cake:

  • 125g butter
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

The icing:

  • 125g butter
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Red food dye/colouring

Carnation cupcakes 2

Recipe:

  • Preheat your oven to 180ºC and line 3 muffin tins with cupcake cases. If you don’t have 3 trays, you can make them one colour at a time, remembering to wash and dry the tray after each round.

Each of these cupcakes starts with the same basic recipe:

  • Mix together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and sieve in the flour. Add the milk and stir until the mixture is smooth and consistent.
  • For the white cupcake, stir in the lemon zest until it’s evenly spread throughout the mixture. Split the mixture between the cupcake cases.
  • For the pink cupcake, sieve in the cocoa powder after adding the flour. Fill each cupcake case half full with the mixture, then place a square of chocolate and a raspberry in the middle of each before pouring the remaining mixture on top.
  • For the red cupcake, add in the vanilla essence before dividing the mixture between the cases.
  • All of the cakes should be baked for 15-18 minutes at 180ºC. Remember to use the knife test to check before removing them from the oven. If you don’t have room in the oven for all 3 colours at once or are only using 1 muffin tray, place them in the centre of the oven to bake.
  • When the cakes are done, remove them from the oven and leave them to cool.

Set a timer so that you don’t lose track of time, and then you can start making the icings. Again, the icing for each different cake starts with the same basic recipe:

  • Beat butter until soft. Sieve in the icing sugar and mix together until the buttercream is pale and forms stiff peaks. As you’re going to be piping and you want the design to hold it’s shape, continue beating the mixture until it’s stiff and holds its shape well.
  • For the white icing, stir in the lemon juice and beat thoroughly.
  • For the pink icing, add in the raspberries and beat thoroughly. The mixture should turn a light pink colour.
  • For the red icing, add in the red food dye or colouring, following the instructions as to how much to use. The icing should turn a bright red colour.
  • Leave the icing to cool in the fridge briefly whilst you’re waiting for the cakes to cool.
  • Once the cakes are cool, you can start icing. Do make sure that the cakes are at room temperature before you begin, or else the icing will melt and start to run.
  • Use a piping bag with a cross-headed nozzle, preferable with one point being slightly longer than the others. Pipe small circular ‘petals’ in a clockwise direction, spiralling inwards to the centre.
  • Once the cakes are iced, leave them in the fridge to allow the icing to set fully.

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One of the many Oxford traditions when it comes to exams is wearing a carnation to mark your progression through your exam period. You start with a white carnation for your first exam, then a pink carnation for all of your middle exams, and you finish with a red one to mark your final exam. It’s a popular tradition in Oxford in May and June, and it’s rather lovely when you get congratulations on the street from people who see you wearing your red carnation.

Part of the tradition is that someone else has to buy your carnations for you, as its apparently bad luck to buy them for yourself. In some ways though, it’s just nice to find flowers in your pigeon hole when you’re otherwise surrounded by revision, even if those flowers do remind you of the upcoming ordeal.

In addition to the carnations, many people also give each other chocolate and sweets as kind little gestures around this time. To those of you worrying about the state of pre-exam nutrition, most colleges also offer a Fruit for Finalists scheme, where you can also get fruit rather than living off a diet of Dairy Milk and Lindt. I particularly like this culture of giving and gestures of goodwill around the time of exams, so I came up with these carnation cupcakes as a way to combine both aspects.

When it came to posting the cakes to various people’s pigeon holes, I put each set into resealable airtight sandwich bags to stop them from drying out, and I wrote a little note, wishing them good luck for their exams and explaining what the flavours were in each cake.

Naturally of course, I couldn’t just do vanilla cupcakes with different coloured icing on top, so I decided to have different flavours for each cupcake. I’ve always been a fan of lemon flavours in cake, and it also lent itself well to keeping the colour a light creamy white, so I went with that the for the first one.

As I’ve mentioned in my melt-in-the-middle chocolate and raspberry cupcakes, I really liked the concept as a cake in itself, and using the raspberries helped not only to create a contrast with the dark chocolate and lighten the taste, but also to create a naturally pink icing for the cake. I also liked the added ‘middleness’ of the cake, in that there was a nice surprise in the middle with the melted chocolate and raspberry as an extra boost, as well as it being the middle cake and carnation of the three. I decided to keep the final cupcake simple, sticking with a reliable vanilla cupcake, and using food dye to achieve the red colour.

Another advantage of using vanilla for the last one is that it would last better than the other two cakes, as there wasn’t any fresh fruit in the cake. As someone who had to have 2 pink carnation flowers to last them through the exam period in first year because the first one was in danger of withering before I reached the final exam, I was aware that exams can end up being spread over some time, and I wanted people to still have the option of eating each cake as they donned the matching coloured carnation.

For those of you who may be wondering what I did about my own carnations and arguably more importantly, my exams, I thankfully didn’t have any. At undergraduate level, the arts subjects only have exams at the end of the first year and at the end of the final year, so I spent last term as I did any other: writing essays, doing translations, and reading. However, many of my friends had exams, whether they were 2nd year science subject exams, first year Prelims or fourth year linguist Finals, so I spent a lot of last term baking these too!

Carnation cupcakes

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Earth Cake

Earth cake

Ingredients:

Inner layer – Vanilla sponge:

  • 120g butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Middle layer – Lemon sponge:

  • 180g butter
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 lemon, zest

Outer layer – Chocolate orange sponge:

  • 240g butter
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 240g self-raising flour
  • 120g cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 large orange, zest

Icing:

  • 500g fondant icing
  • Green food dye or colouring
  • Blue food dye or colouring
  • Icing sugar for rolling

TOTAL INGREDIENTS:

  • 540g butter
  • 540g caster sugar
  • 540g self-raising flour
  • 9 eggs
  • 9 tbsp (135ml) milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 120g cocoa powder
  • 1 large orange, zest
  • 500g fondant icing
  • Green and blue food dye or colouring
  • Icing sugar for rolling
All the ingredients, ready to go! (I was also making religieuses and brownies on the same day, hence the obscene number of eggs amongst other things)

All the ingredients, ready to go! (I was also making religieuses and brownies on the same day, hence the obscene number of eggs amongst other things.)

Pull up a chair and put the kettle on; we’re in for a long ride. With a combined baking time of 3 hours, plus time for preparing the mixture and icing the finished cake, you’re going to be in the kitchen for a while…

As the seemingly never-ending list of ingredients suggests, this is probably the most complex thing I’ve baked so far. Essentially, it’s three layers of cake, covered with fondant icing. To help you along the way, I took photos of the various things so that you should have an idea of how your baking should look before you get to the end.

A few words of warning before you begin: for this recipe, you’re going to need 3 hemisphere tins or pyrex bowls of different sizes, such that you can fit one inside the other to get the layered effect. The structure of this cake works by baking each layer into the next one, thereby removing the need for any form of adhesive to hold the whole cake together.

To try and make things a bit easier, I altered the recipe for each cake so that all was required was making up the same basic cake recipe and then adding the flavour as appropriate. Feel free to change the flavourings, but bear in mind that you want the inner layer to have a more runny texture initially, as it’ll be baked 3 times in total. If you do change the type of cake you’re using, then the baking times may also be different. In case you’re unsure about whether a layer is baked, leave it in for a little longer. In this case, it’s far better to have a slightly over-baked cake, as you’ll have to trim the layers, but once you remove the cake from the oven, it stops baking and putting it back in may not be enough to save it. The best thing I can recommend with this is to keep a close eye on the oven as you near the end of the recommended baking time to see when it’s done.

Recipe:

  • Start by preheating your oven to 160ºC, and grease the smallest bowl or tin.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture is pale and stiff.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the texture is smooth, and then sieve in the flour.
  • Pour in the milk and mix.
  • Add in the vanilla essence.
  • Transfer the mixture into your greased smallest bowl or tin and bake for about 45 minutes.
The first layer pre-oven baking.

The first layer pre-oven baking.

While that’s baking, you can get started on the next layer, but bear in mind that you have to wait for the first layer to have finished baking and cooled before you can put the next one in the oven.

You can make up the next layers when the first is baking and put them in the fridge to cool whilst you’re waiting.

You can make up the next layers when the first is baking and put them in the fridge to cool whilst you’re waiting.

  • As before, cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture is pale and stiff.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the texture is smooth, and then sieve in the flour.
  • Pour in the milk and mix.
  • Add in the lemon zest and beat to ensure an even distribution throughout the mixture.
  • Transfer the mixture to the your greased middle-sized bowl or tin.
  • Once the first layer is baked, remove it from the bowl and leave it to cool. When it’s cool enough to the touch, check that the bottom is round and unbroken, using a sharp knife to shape it if needs be.
  • Once it’s smooth, press it into the centre of your middle layer mixture, and bake for 60 minutes.
The second layer, with the first already-baked layer in it.

The second layer, with the first already-baked layer in it.

The first two layers cooling upside down. The inner layer will rise as the next layer bakes, but you can make it even at the end.

The first two layers cooling upside down. The inner layer will rise as the next layer bakes, but you can make it even at the end.

The next thing to do is make the final, outer layer of cake:

  • As you’ll probably have gathered by now, follow the same plan as before: cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until the mixture is pale and stiff.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the texture is smooth, and then sieve in the flour.
  • Sieve in the cocoa powder, and then pour in the milk and mix.
  • Add in the orange zest and beat to ensure an even distribution throughout the mixture.
  • Transfer the mixture to the your greased largest bowl or tin.
  • Once the middle layer is baked, remove it from the bowl and leave it to cool. When it’s cool enough to the touch, check that the bottom is round and unbroken, using a sharp knife to shape it if needs be.
  • Once it’s smooth, press it into the centre of your outer layer mixture, and bake for 75 minutes.
  • When that’s finished, remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool. You can now turn off the oven at last.
  • Once the cake is cool, use a sharp serrated knife, such as a bread knife, to flatten the top of your cake carefully. Turn the cake upside down so that the layers are facing down and unseen, and leave to one side.
All three layers of baked cake. As previously suggested, this does have a tendency to mushroom as each successive layer rises from beneath the previous cooked cake.

All three layers of baked cake. As previously suggested, this does have a tendency to mushroom as each successive layer rises from beneath the previous cooked cake.

However, with the use of a sharp knife, you can create a flat base for your cake.

However, with the use of a sharp knife, you can create a flat base for your cake.

For the icing and assembly:

  • Dust a surface with icing sugar and, using a rolling pin, roll out your fondant icing.
  • Split the icing roughly in half, and put one half to one side for now.
  • To the remaining icing, apply your blue food dye or colouring. The quantities of this will depend on the substance you’re using. I used strong food dye, so a pea-sized amount was plenty to give the icing a bright colour. If in down, remember the mantra of all one-way processes such as baking and painting: less is best. You can always add more afterwards, but you can’t take out the colour once it’s mixed in.
You want your icing to have a bright and consistent colour, especially for the blue for the sea.

You want your icing to have a bright and consistent colour, especially for the blue for the sea.

  • Roll out the icing again until you have a large circular piece of blue icing.
  • Your cake should now have completed cooled, so transfer the blue icing to it, draping it over the rolling pin to help carry it.
  • Make sure that the icing completely covers the cake on all sides with no tears, and use a sharp knife to trim the sides.
  • Apply the green food dye or colouring to your remaining icing, and roll it out.
  • Using a sharp knife, carve it into the shape of the landmass(es) of your choice. I would highly recommend having a map or image to work from here.
  • Once you’ve got your green icing cut to shape, apply it to the cake, being careful not to rip it in the process.
A finished slice. I appreciate that the inner layer is rather difficult to see, given that it’s almost the same colour as the middle layer, but I promise you, it was there!

A finished slice. I appreciate that the inner layer is rather difficult to see, given that it’s almost the same colour as the middle layer, but I promise you, it was there!

Congratulations, you’re finished!

(Inspired by http://cakecrumbs.me/2013/05/24/commission-earth-structural-layer-cake/)

As I mentioned earlier, it’s far better to risk over-baking the layers on this one. Unfortunately, I learnt that lesson the hard way… On the plus side, you can eat it like a pudding with custard, except that it’s with cake mix instead!

As I mentioned earlier, it’s far better to risk over-baking the layers on this one. Unfortunately, I learnt that lesson the hard way… On the plus side, you can eat it like a pudding with custard, except that it’s with cake mix instead!

Be warned; this may look baked on the outside, but pyrex bowls are much slower to cook the inside of a cake than metal tins.

Be warned; this may look baked on the outside, but pyrex bowls are much slower to cook the inside of a cake than metal tins.

I saw this idea on the Internet somewhere quite some time ago and was immediately taken by it. One of my close friends and flatmates from last year, Kesia, studies Earth Sciences, so naturally my first thought when I saw this was to make it for her for some occasion. Unfortunately, her birthday is in August, so doing it as a birthday cake would have required considerable planning and organisation.

When I came across this recipe, I had only just started baking, and so I decided to leave it for when I had a bit more expertise in the kitchen and could make a decent attempt at such a complex cake! Thankfully, the two timing requirements came together in the form of a post-exams celebration for Kesia, as she had exams at the end of last year, whereas, being a languages student at Oxford, I didn’t, so I had more time to focus on baking rather than revising.

I had mentioned to Kesia that it would be good to have some sort of celebration for her at the end of her exam period, especially as she was going to miss the last night of term because of a field trip. I’d said that I’d make something for the occasion, so she was expecting baking of some kind, but I’d managed to keep the idea itself a secret from her until it was unveiled.

I decided to do a map of Europe for a couple of reasons: firstly, because it would be fairly easy and hopefully recognisable, despite my less than gallery-worthy art skills. I also decided to go with a European theme, because it was the last day that Kesia was going to be in Oxford with Tess (another close friend and flatmate) and I before we went left for our Year Abroad next year.

I did also make brownies for the celebration, and so as a joke, I presented her with those initially, claiming that they were like a tray of soil, but baked. Being the wonderfully kind person she is, she was very grateful, so I did have to say that I was in fact joking, and then brought out the main cake. Few words were exchanged and many were speechless, but the noises of appreciation and amazement as we were cutting and eating the cake seemed to be a sign of positive feedback!

Ginger Cupcakes with Buttercream and Lemon Syrup

Ginger and lemon cupcakes

Ingredients (makes 12):

The cake:

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 120g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 85 honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g sour cream

Lemon syrup:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 lemon (juice)
  • 60g butter
  • 115g caster sugar

Buttercream:

  • 200g butter
  • 400g icing sugar

Recipe:

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.
  • Beat together the butter and brown sugar in a bowl.
  • Add the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and continue to mix.
  • Pour in the honey and beat in the eggs.
  • Mix in the sour cream until smooth.
  • Split the mixture between the paper cases and bake for 30 minutes or until they pass the knife test.
P1090131

With a thicker cupcake mixture, it tends to end up like this rather than flat when adding the mixture to the cases.

P1090132

If you stir the mix gently with a teaspoon, you get a swirled effect that will make for a flatter, more even cupcake when baked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the cakes are in the oven, you can start making the syrup and buttercream.

  • Beat one egg in a small pan.
  • Add in the lemon juice, butter and sugar and stir whilst heating until the mixture thickens.
  • For the buttercream, beat butter until it softens.
  • Sieve in the icing sugar and beat gently until the mixture becomes pale and forms stiff peaks.
  • Once the cakes are cool to the touch, use a knife to apply the buttercream and finish by pouring the lemon syrup over the top.

(Recipe adapted from http://mingmakescupcakes.yolasite.com)

 

This was the last of my baking for the Lichfield Festival. Just over a week after the Festival itself had ended, there were debrief meetings to review how the Festival had gone and what we could improve on in future. So, seeing as we were having a meeting (or in the case of the ladies in the office, 4 meetings), we agreed that we ought to have cake as well. Now that I wasn’t working at the Cathedral for the Festival for most of my waking hours, I had time enough to bake again and spend a little longer on presentation.

With the other cakes I’d baked for the Festival, I went with my standard trio of flavours: vanilla, chocolate and lemon. Of course, I added the gin cake after I came across the recipe and saw it as a way of maintaining that holiest of traditions at the Festival. So when it came to the last round of baking, I did ask in the least macabre way possible, whether any of the staff had any last requests.

Jen, our wonderful Festival Manager, said she had a particular liking for ginger cake, so thankfully I had a good starting point with that. My only worry was that I tend to associate ginger and other spices like nutmeg and cinnamon with winter and Christmas, and given that this was the middle of July, I was wary of trying to make it still a more summery cake.

Normally with flavourings in cake, I’ll tend to verge on the generous side when it comes to helpings of the main ingredient, just to avoid creating a rather bland and nondescript cake. However, with this one, I decided instead to err on the side of caution and didn’t go overboard on the ginger. I decided to use the usual pairing of ginger and honey in the cake, and adding that helped to keep the taste as well as the texture lighter. The addition of the lemon helped too, and the syrup seeped into the cake and the buttercream to give the whole thing a consistent flavour. The only downside was that it did leave many people with sticky fingers at the end, so be prepared!

P1090139

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients:

The cake:

  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • Zest of 2 lemons

The filling:

  • 200g butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

The drizzle:

  • 70g granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Recipe:

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  • Start by creaming together the butter and caster sugar.
  • When that’s done, mix in the eggs one at a time.
  • Add in the flour and the milk whilst continuing to mix.
  • Once you’ve got your standard white cake mix, add in the zest of two lemons to give it the lemon flavouring.
  • Pour the mixture evenly into two greased 10” cake tins.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until the cake passes the knife test.
  • Whilst that’s cooking, you can be making the filling. Work the butter until it’s soft and then sieve in the icing sugar.
  • Once you’ve got a stiff buttercream, add in the juice of 1 lemon and mix well.
  • For the drizzle, add the juice of 1 lemon to 70g of granulated sugar.
  • When the cake is done and has cooled, spread the buttercream over one layer and place the other layer on top.
  • Pour the drizzle icing over the top, allowing it to settle and hold.

(See my carnation cupcakes recipe for the inspiration)

 

Sadly there are no photos of this one. I was in a rush to get this one finished and get back into the office, and by rush I mean I had 25 minutes between the cake layers coming out of the oven and when I ought to have been back in the office for the daily meeting. I was 10 minutes late in the end, but I arrived with a finished, albeit slightly structural unsound, lemon drizzle cake.

When I say that it was structurally unsound, all I mean is that the top layer had started to crumble and break into pieces. The cake hadn’t fully cooled either and it was a hot day anyway, so the top layer had slipped a little in transit too. Luckily it still tasted the same.

I made this at the same time as I made the gin drizzle cake, so I was pushed for time to get both done in the space of about 2 and a half hours. This cake was made as the non-alcoholic alternative for those that weren’t too fond of gin.

Both cakes went down very well and were very much appreciated by the office team. They’d evidently had a quieter moment earlier in the day when I was in the kitchen baking, because just after I’d handed out various slices to people and they’d had a few bites, someone started playing Food Glorious Food over the speakers and suddenly all those around the desk held up their scorecards. It was a lovely gesture, and I was thrilled to see several 10s amongst the scores! I did get an 8.5 from someone who’d decided it would be better for her to be harsher now than for me and my baking to be publicly denounced further down the line. The reason given for the lower score was the presentation, which I couldn’t disagree with. Thankfully the taste was great!

Gin Drizzle Cake


Gin drizzle cake

Ingredients:

The cake:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 4 shots of gin

The drizzle:

  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 6 shots of gin
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Dash of tonic water (optional)

Recipe:

The recipe for this is essentially rather simple. As follows: make cake mix. Add gin. Bake. Mix sugar and gin to make drizzle. Pour over baked cake. Eat.

Ok, but in all seriousness:

  • Have your butter at room temperature as usual to make things easier.
  • Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  • Start by creaming the butter and caster sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Once done, crack in the eggs one at a time and beat until they’re combined in a smooth mixture.
  • Add in the flour whilst continuing to mix.
  • Grate in the zest of 1 lemon, saving the rest for the juice later. If you like a stronger citrus taste to your G&Ts, add in the zest of a second lemon.
  • Whilst stirring slowly but consistently, add in the juice of 1 lemon and 4 shots of gin, which should give you a more runny cake mix texture. The drizzle will really add the gin kick, so don’t worry about adding more gin to the cake mix itself.
  • Pour the mix into a lined 1kg loaf tin and bake for about 45 minutes. Do check the cake with the knife test before you take it out of the oven, as the top may look done whilst the insides are still nowhere near. If the top does end up being rather overdone at the cost of the inside of the cake, you can carefully cut away some of the top, which is the preferable option to having half-baked cake.
  • Let the cake cool while you make the drizzle. Combine the granulated sugar, juice of 1 lemon, and the remaining 6 shots of gin in a bowl, adding a hint of tonic if you want to be truly honest in saying that it’s a gin and tonic cake. To be fair, once someone’s had a slice of this, they’re not going to mind whether there’s tonic in it or not!
  • Once you’ve got your drizzle, prick the surface of the cake with a fork to let the drizzle sink in and pour it all over the top. It’ll set fairly quickly, but don’t worry about appearances, as the drizzle also makes a good spread for the extra gin kick when you’re taking a slice!

A brief warning with this recipe: the main difficulty with this is the liquid content. When I first made this, I did a gluten-free version, so the mix was thicker than usual before I added the gin. If you’re worried about the consistency, add an extra sprinkle of flour or leave it in the over for a little longer to make sure that the cake is properly cooked. You could also reduce the amount of gin in the cake mix, but who wants to take out the gin?!

(Recipe adapted from: http://www.puddinglaneblog.co.uk/2014/06/gin-and-tonic-cake.html)

The inside of this one didn't cook as much due to the loaf tin, which made for a more moist (but thankfully still cooked) inside!

The inside of this one didn’t cook as much due to the loaf tin, which made for a more moist (but thankfully still cooked) inside!

Gin drizzle cake #2

Last year, I volunteered at my local arts festival, the Lichfield Festival, for the 10 days it was on, plus a couple of days beforehand to help get things ready. Thanks to my position as Assistant Concert Manager and the long regular hours that came with the role, I quickly became ingratiated to the office team and the other volunteers putting in longer hours. At the time, the office was just across from the cathedral, the venue I was based in, so popping between the two was rather easy, and once the festival started, I learnt of a wonderful little tradition they had: G&Ts on the lawn whilst evensong was taking place.

Fast forward a year, and this summer I was back again, volunteering in the same position as before. This year, the office has moved to the centre of town and there’s a slightly longer walk between there and the cathedral. The added distance combined with the reduced fridge and kitchen facilities, meant that the G&T tradition was at risking of falling by the wayside.

The ladies in the office, one of whom I knew from the year before, had put in a request for the office to be supplied with cake during the very stressful time of the festival, and I willingly obliged. One of the team was coeliac as well, which meant that everything I made had to be gluten-free. As luck would have it, I managed to find some gluten-free self-raising flour in my local supermarket, and my dad sent me the recipe for this gin cake just as the festival started.

Needless to say, the cake proved an excellent alternative to the regular G&Ts, providing both nourishment and gin. It went down rather well, and word certainly got around before I’d even made the thing! The cake made such an impact that it featured in the Festival Director’s leaving speech at the end of the Festival and knowledge of its existence was made public to several hundred audience members at the final concert.

Be warned: this cake packs a punch. While it certainly went down well with everyone who tried it, there were several shocked faces when they got the first kick of the gin!

Gin drizzle cake #2

They also work well as cupcakes!

They also work well as cupcakes!