Inspired by a summertime twist on a classic cocktail, this blackberry gin and tonic pound cake is a delightful anytime treat or gift to share with friends!
I love it when one food inspires another in a completely unrelated category. Sometimes the best ideas in the kitchen, and life in general, happen at the most arbitrary times. Take this bread for example. It’s just a variation on a classic quick bread recipe, and yet, it doesn’t strike one as “just another pound cake”. The gin and tonic add a happy hour-inspired twist, and the pureed fresh blackberries provide a sweetness, bite, and that gorgeous swirl of color. I love swirled breads.
I’ve been thinking a lot about quick bread recipes recently. We are mostly house-settled in our new place, but aren’t exactly “people-settled”. It takes time to find friends, and on a military base, when every summer brings a mass turnover of families, you tend to not make more than acquaintance friends in the transition season. And so I’ve been planning to be more mindful about friend-making once most everyone else has arrived too. Quick breads will be a part of this.
I’m not sure how just yet. Perhaps I’ll bake some and deliver with a welcome note to new families in the neighborhood. Or maybe I’ll bake a bunch and host a BYO-coffee brunch! I mean, I can provide the coffee too, but we don’t have a traditional coffee maker. Freshly ground beans are worth waiting for. 😉 Or maybe just make espresso in our two stovetop espresso makers and call it a day? Details will be planned later. Maybe. Sidewalk chalk and DIY ice cream sundaes may win out. We’ll see what feels right as the Alabama summer unfolds.
But this blackberry gin and tonic pound cake will happen regardless, because summer berries are perfect for baking. Just be sure to keep extra on hand for snacking and garnish if you’re going to serve the bread immediately. As with most pound cakes, this one freezes exceptionally well, so maybe make two? You’ll have one for now, and one to pull out for company later. Food makes friends, darlings. 😉
For the cake:
- 4 ounces blackberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/3 cup full fat plain yogurt, or sour cream
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- zest from 3 limes
- 3 tablespoons gin
For the syrup:
- juice from the zested limes, about 1/3-1/2 cup
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup tonic water
- 3 tablespoons gin, divided
- 1 fresh lime, thinly sliced, ends discarded
- extra blackberries for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Puree the 4 ounces of blackberries with 1 tablespoon of sugar and set aside.
- In a stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat together the butter, sugar, and lime zest until light and fluffy.
- Stir in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir half into the egg and sugar mixture and mix to combine. Then stir in the yogurt (or sour cream if using instead) and gin. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, and stir just until combined.
- Pour half the batter into your loaf pan, and then drizzle in half the pureed blackberry. Top with the other half of the batter and the remaining blackberry puree. Use a chopstick or butter knife to create a few swirls.
- Bake for 50 minutes to an hour until the loaf is cooked through and a tester comes out mostly clean. A few crumbs may stick because of the fruit swirl. Remove from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack.
Making the Syrup:
- When the cake is reaching the end of the baking time, make the syrup by combining the lime juice, sugar, tonic water, and 1 tablespoon of the gin in a skillet. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
- Add the lime slices and increase the heat to a medium. Let the mixture simmer about 5-10 minutes until reduced by about half, then remove from the heat, remove the limes, and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of gin.
- Pour the syrup slowly over the still-warm cake, until it's completely absorbed.
- Garnish with lime slices and additional fresh blackberries. Serve warm or at room temperature.