When Mouse was born, my fabulous friend Beta Mummy gave me a very lovely, well researched care package. It contained a Babygro, Little Miss tissue handypack, a cute notebook and pen for recording feeds, some lip balm, and some chocolate. Very sweet, very first time mum.
When Moo arrived, she gave me a stack of homemade flapjacks and a fuck off mahoosive bottle of gin, and I could have snogged the face off her.
So when Gin Explorer contacted me and asked if I fancied reviewing their monthly subscription box, I was as giddy as I imagine I would be if Hugh of the Jackman asked me out.
The box is pleasantly heavy, and contains four lovely little bottles of artisan gin (enough to make eight drinkies), some fancy tonic, tasting notes and a few surprises to boot.
They set me a baking challenge which I accepted with a tremendous amount of honour – to combine my two great loves of cake and gin is to combine immortality with being on a date with Hugh Jackman. I’ve mentioned Hugh too much, haven’t I?
So, as it’s coming up to Halloween, and my cake has green bits, please find herewith my recipe for FrankenGin’s Monster. Enjoy, and eat / drink / fantasise about Hugh responsibly.
FrankenGin's Monster by Mouse, Moo & Me Too
Basically, for you purists, this is a Gin and Elderflower Victoria Sandwich with Lime Buttercream.
- 4 large free range eggs
- 250g caster sugar
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 250g unsalted butter at room temperature (please keep it real and use butter folks, margarine has no place in my kitchen!)
- 1 lime – zest and juice
- 50ml gin – I used Slingsby Artisan Gin from my Gin Explorer box
- 50ml elderflower cordial
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 200g icing sugar
- 2 limes – zest and juice
- few drops green food colouring
- 30g of good quality dark chocolate, chopped finely or grated (watch your digits)
For the cake
For the buttercream
For the topping
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Grease and line 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich tins.
- Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, then add the butter, sugar, flour and baking powder.
- Use an electric mixer (if you have a free standing mixture then well fucking done you) to blend all the ingredients together until you have a pale batter at “dropping” consistency.
- Add the lime zest, juice, elderflower cordial and gin, and mix for a further 30 seconds.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins, and drop each tin firmly onto the worktop from a height of about six inches. I saw Nigel Slater do this once, I can’t recall why, but if it’s good enough for Nige then it’s sure as hell good enough for me.
- Place the tins on the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. You’re looking for a golden brown sponge that’s a bit springy. Remove them from the oven and leave to cool for ten minutes or so, then loosen each sponge by running a palette knife around the edge of the tin. Give it another twenty minuttes then turn the sponges out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the buttercream by mixing all ingredients together in a clean bowl, and adding the food colouring drop by drop until you get a nice vivid green.
- Smooth a generous layer of buttercream over one of the sponges, and quickly whack the other one on top, adjusting it so that it’s straight. Spoon more buttercream on top of the sponge and spread to form an even layer, then sprinkle over the chocolate shavings.
- No idea how long it keeps for in an airtight container. Just eat the damned thing.
Would you like to try a Gin Explorer Subscription Box for yourself? Navigate your way over to Gin Explorer and have a mooch at the different packages on offer.
-SJW October 2016