Sinful Sunday – Granny’s Gin & Tonic Cupcakes

gin & tonic cupcakes

This Gin & Tonic cupcakes recipe was given to us by “Little’s” Granny (Granny Cherry).  I simply had to try these for my next Sinful Sunday treat. They’re really easy to make and can be beautifully dressed up for an event. Because of the gin, these are not an ideal sweet treat for kids but adults LOVE them!

INGREDIENTS (Makes 12 Gin & Tonic cupcakes)

For the Gin & Tonic cupcakes

200g unsalted butter, softened

200g castor sugar

4 medium organic eggs

200g self-raising flour, sifted

75ml London dry gin like locally produced Hope which I used

Grated zest of 1 large lime or 2 small limes

For the Gin & Tonic syrup

50g castor sugar

50ml good quality tonic water – I used Fitch & Leeds but Fever Tree is also good

2 tablespoons London Dry Gin

For the Gin & Tonic buttercream icing

200g unsalted butter, softened

450g icing sugar

3-4 tablespoons London Dry Gin, to taste

Finely grated zest of 1 large lime or 2 small limes

To decorate the cupcakes

2 limes, sliced and cut into half-moons.

Colourful straws cut into thirds


Food processor or blender.

Electric beater or whisk.

12 cup large muffin pan – like any of these this from Yuppiechef.

12 cupcake holders – I always have stock of these pretty printed baking cases from Woolworths.


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the cupcake cases in a 12-piece muffin pan.

Add the 200g unsalted butter and 200g castor sugar together in a food processor and mix until they become a light and fluffy mixture. Gradually add the 4 eggs, beating well after the addition of each egg. Fold in the sifted flour then add the lime zest and finally the gin. Mix until well combined. This makes a glorious, buttery, creamy batter.

gin & tonic cupcakes

Spoon the mixture evenly into the 12 cupcake cases in the muffin pan.

Important baking tip 1: Make sure that the batter is evenly spread in the cupcake case. There must be no peaks or your cupcakes will come out of the oven resembling weird little volcanoes, (like my strangely shaped cupcakes pictured above), and impossible to ice.

Place the muffin pan onto the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cupcake comes out clean.

The Gin & Tonic syrup

While the cupcakes are baking, heat the castor sugar and tonic water in a small saucepan/pot over medium heat, stirring continually until the sugar dissolves. Once dissolved, turn up the heat and boil for 1 minute before adding the gin. Take off the heat. Your mixture should be a gooey, syrupy consistency.

As soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven, poke at least 6 or 7 holes in the top of the cupcake using a skewer.  Brush liberally with the gin syrup making sure it sinks into the holes you poked.

Important baking tip 2:  I rushed this part and poured the syrup over the cupcakes. It ended up just pouring off the sides and settling in the bottom of the cupcake case, with very little of the syrup actually being absorbed inside the cupcake. Leave to cool for 15 minutes in the muffin pan. Transfer the cupcakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.


The Gin & Tonic buttercream icing

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the Gin & Tonic buttercream icing. Beat the 200g unsalted butter until very soft (easiest to do with an electric beater but can be done by hand with a bit of elbow grease). Once soft and creamy, beat in the 450g icing sugar until smooth. Stir in the gin (to taste) and add the finely grated lime zest.

Pipe the icing onto the fully cooled cupcakes. (You can check out this easy Cupcake Piping Techniques Tutorial on Youtube if you need some piping guidance.)  Baking tip 3: If your cupcakes do come out resembling little volcanoes like mine did, simply cut off the top before icing.

Decorate the cupcakes with the lime half-moons and straws as pictured below.

For more Sinful Sunday recipes click here.

gin & tonic cupcakes

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