GBBO challenge week 1 – Cake: Gin & Tonic madeira cake

IMG_3544.JPGI do love a bit of Bake Off, and Andrew even lets me watch it … although he only managed approximately 40 seconds of it before he stuck his earphones on. I genuinely don’t understand why he hates the show so much – it’s so relaxing to watch, and of course a great way to pick up cookery tips and recipe ideas.

As with the last two years, I am planning to bake along with the Bake Off and make my own version of one of the challenges set each week. I’ll be participating in a couple of GBBO blogger challenges (if I can hit the deadlines in time – this week I didn’t), and you can find out more about The Great Bloggers Bake Off and a Bloggers Bake Along by clicking on the links, or the badges at the bottom of this post.

IMG_3509.JPGThe first episode was lovely, lovely cake, and the bakers had 3 challenges as usual: a signature madeira cake, the technical challenge of a frosted walnut cake, and a show-stopping black forest gateau. I wasn’t initially sure what to make: as always I have the personal challenge of Andrew not being particularly sweet-toothed (and not fond of chocolate, the weirdo), and therefore not always interested in helping me to eat my bakes.

However, the addition of booze in a recipe is always an incentive for Andrew to eat it, and one of the bakers made a G&T madeira cake. Paul and Mary didn’t like it, so I decided I could do better. After all, gin and cake are two of my most favourite things. Perfect.

IMG_3510.JPGOne thing I already knew about madeira cake is that it doesn’t have madeira in it. The name comes from the fact that people used to have a slice of it with a glass of madeira (which seems like a perfectly good idea to me). What I didn’t know about madeira cake was that it has to have a crack in it (I thought that was just down to my bad cooking!), and that it could be round (I thought a madeira cake had to be a loaf cake), AND that you could have any flavour of madeira cake (I thought it could only be plain). Oh, and where did the crispy candied fruit topping come from? I have never seen that before either. See, Bake Off is a highly educational show.

IMG_3512.JPGI couldn’t quite tear myself away from the idea of not using a loaf tin for my madeira cake. and I stuck with my favourite recipe from the lovely Nigella. I didn’t want to add any gin to the cake because I was worried the extra liquid would change the texture of the cake, so the gin had to be part of the icing (oh yeah, I never knew madeira cakes could be iced either).

What I did was slice up a lemon and put it in a little saucepan with 5 tablespoons of sugar and covered with tonic water, then brought that to the boil. I cooked the lemon slices for around 20 minutes in the simmering sugary tonic water until it had thickened to a syrup and the lemons were soft (and weirdly had started to look like oranges), and then took the lemon slices out to cool on a sheet of greaseproof paper.

IMG_3521.JPGI mixed the remaining syrup (only about 2 tablespoons worth) with a slug of gin, and then mixed that with icing sugar to make a thick icing to top the madeira cake. The cooled lemon slices went on top of the icing as decoration.

I thought the cake looked impressive: however, the gin flavour wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped (as you all probably know, you only need a little bit of liquid in your icing sugar to create icing, so there wasn’t enough gin to generate a strong flavour), and the lemons were far from crispy … in fact when I dropped them onto a plate as Mary did to check them for crispiness, they landed with a decided thud. But they did taste nice! Note also I made lumpy icing. I am pretty sure that Mary and Paul would not approve.


The next episode is biscuit week. Mmmmm, I do love biscuits … I think I’ll be able to get away with eating them all by myself.

The challenges this week:

Mummy Mishaps
Casa Costello

And here are some madeira cakes from fellow food bloggers:

27 Replies to “GBBO challenge week 1 – Cake: Gin & Tonic madeira cake”

  1. Jen @ Jen's Food says: Reply

    Gin in cake is always a winner for me, thanks for sharing with #BakeoftheWeek 🙂

    1. Thanks Jen – you can’t go too far wrong with gin (except not put enough in what you are making hehehe!)

  2. Yum yum yum. Also a big fan of gin and cake so this is right up my street! I chickened out of caramelised fruit so I am impressed!

    1. I don’t think the candied fruit worth the effort to be honest, although it does look pretty. I just had a slice of the cake though and it was yummy.

  3. Also a fan of both gin and cake so this sounds perfect!

    1. Definitely up the quantities of gin though 🙂

  4. wow a gin and tonic madeira cake – that is genius! very original x

    1. Gin and cake – two of my favourite things :). I didn’t get enough gin in there though … to be tweaked 😉

  5. I like your style! Shame you couldn’t taste the gin. Maybe it’s just a cake to have gin with 😉

    1. That is a very good idea – gin and cake sound like a winning combo!

  6. says: Reply

    Wonder about putting lime on top?

    1. I think that would be nice as well – I just need to work out how exactly I would candy them as that seemed to be my downfall this time.

  7. Gin and tonic cake? Now this is right up my street!!!

    1. Items with gin or nutella in them seem to be my most popular posts so far 🙂

  8. I’m so glad my andrew isn’t the only one sticking his headphones on when GBBO is on – I’m with you, I don’t understand the hostility! The cake looks delicious 🙂

    Erin Islandbell xxx

    1. Thanks so much. He couldn’t resist scoffing at the biscuit boxes last night (how could he not find them brilliant?!) and then returned to something zombie-related on netflix!

  9. OOh this looks so gorgeous! I’ve just recently gotten turned onto gin and tonics so I bet I’d love this! Thanks for entering this month’s cake club.

    1. Thank you Kerry – very kind. I love G&Ts!

  10. Well done for having a go at the madeira cake, I’m sure if you made it again you would master the flavours, icing and lemons. It certainly looks like a nicely made madiera with the proper crack on top.

    1. Thank you – I probably will make it again and DROWN it in gin 🙂

  11. This looks awesome. I am a huge GBBO fan x

    1. Thanks! I honestly don’t understand why Andrew doesn’t like it – so relaxing and chilled, plus you get to look at lots of food (and the occasional disaster). What’s not to love? 😉

  12. Oh my goodness, I think I love you! Huge GBBO fan here (although Paul drives me potty) I would have to have a G&T while I was making this cake – wouldn’t like to be rude! Thanks loads for taking part in #Bakeoftheweek. New roundup open tomorrow night x

    1. Thanks Helen – looking forward to hearing the results

  13. […] Gin and Lime Cake from Casa Costello, a Vegan Gin Gooseberry Jelly from Family Friends Food or Gin and Tonic Madeira Cake from It’s Not Easy Being […]

  14. […] a party without cake, but how about a boozy cake? It’s Not Easy Being Greedy has made a gin and tonic madeira cake, although she does say the gin wasn’t strong […]

  15. […] Gin and tonic madeira cake from It’s not easy being greedy […]

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