I was quite happy to call this cake The Tequila Smash but, my entry-level piping skills aside, the cake turned out to be a little too sophisticated for a comedy moniker in the end. Like any truly great cocktail, a cocktail cake is all about your ratios, so keep the hit of alcohol to either the sponge or the icing, never both. On this occasion, I went for a zesty lime sponge topped with margarita-infused, two-toned iced roses. I say roses, although swirls might be a more accurate description, but the thought was there and more importantly, so was the taste.
for the cake…
- 4 medium eggs
- the weight of the 4 eggs in slightly salted, spreadable butter
- the weight of the 4 eggs in caster sugar
- the weight of the 4 eggs in premium, self raising sponge flour
- the zest of two limes
for the icing…
- a classic margarita – 2 parts blanco tequila, 1 part Cointreau, 1 part lime juice
- 500g icing sugar
- 160g slightly salted spreadable butter
- green food colouring
you will need – a large hemisphere tin (mine is from Lakeland), disposable piping bags and a star shaped nozzle.
- First up, the sponge. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180°C (165°C for fan assisted ovens) and grease your tin thoroughly with butter. Beat together the butter and sugar until it looks like whipped cream, seriously it will turn practically white when you’ve shown it who’s boss, and at this point begin to gradually add the beaten eggs a tiny amount at a time. After the eggs I switch to a wooden spoon or spatula and fold in the flour in a couple of batches, along with the grated lime zest. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 60-70mins depending on your oven. The long cooking time is down to the depth of this particular cake tin, but don’t worry, the sponge remains light and soft in spite of this.
- Once the cake has cooled in the tin for about half an hour, turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before hitting the piping bag. You might need to use a sharp knife to loosen the edges a bit but a good wiggle normally works ok.
- Right, icing. First things first, mix yourself a margarita. I always follow the 2:1:1 ratio as it’s easier to remember and works out to 60ml tequila and 30ml of both Cointreau and lime juice shaken over ice. You will only need a small amount to flavour the icing so feel free to enjoy the rest yourself, chef’s perk and all that! There are two stages to icing this cake and I’d advise mixing up the batches of icing separately as the icing will begin to firm up if left untouched for too long.
- The first batch is to cover the cake. Mix together 50g of butter, 150g of icing sugar and 3 tsps of margarita, either in a mixer of by hand, and beat until you have a thick, buttercream icing. Using a palette knife cover the cake with a thin layer of icing. This not only gives your soon-to-be-piped roses something to grip onto, but also means that should there be any spaces between the roses, only icing will show through, not cake.
- To make the two-toned roses you need to fit a piping bag with your star-shaped nozzle and then mix up the remaining butter and icing sugar, this time add 4-5 tsps of margarita as this is a bigger batch. Divide the buttercream icing into two bowls and in one, add a couple of drops of green food colouring and mix until you are happy with the colour. Drop the green icing into one half of the piping bag, the regular icing onto the other half and begin to pipe your roses. Hold the piping bag firmly and for each rose, start at a centre-point and then swirl outwards as if you were drawing a snail’s shell, squeezing gently the whole time. Repeat this until the cake is covered with boozy two-toned roses.
I made this cake for a girl’s night in but it would also make a gorgeous birthday cake. Serve with a frozen margarita, natch.