Strawberry gin and tonic cake

INGREDIENTS:
makes sixteen 3.5-inch brioche molds, or two 6.5-inch brioche molds
for cakes:

  • 313 g (2½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2½ tspn baking powder
  • 1 tspn salt
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 200 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbspn lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ cup tonic water (fresh, not flat)

for strawberries:

  • 2 punnets strawberries
  • 2 Tbspn gin
  • 2 Tbspn sugar

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour the insides of the molds. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the juniper berries finely with the lime zest. Rub the berries and zest into the sugar with your fingers.
  4. In a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until pale, about 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Combine the lime juice and tonic water in a separate container. In three additions, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the tonic water and lime juice in between. Beat well, but do not overmix.
  6. Divide the batter between the molds. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes for small cakes and 45 to 50 minutes for large cakes. If baking large cakes, cover lightly with a piece of tin foil about 30 minutes into baking so that the tops don’t burn. Cakes are done with a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the cakes from the tins and let cool completely on the wire rack.
  8. About 20 minutes prior to serving, stem and quarter (or halve) the strawberries. Mix with the gin and sugar, and let sit for about 10 to 20 minutes. Serve with the cakes and, if desired, soft-whipped cream.
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