It is no secret that I’ll put booze into cakes at the slightest provocation. One day, I found myself staring at the liquor shelf and getting desperate. Gin? DONE. Multiple times. Rum? DONE. Brandy? I put it in everything. Hmm, Pimms… strange, brown, herby liqueur, what can I do with you?
Pimms was brought into being by James Pimm in 1823. He was a farmer’s son who’d studied Theology in Edinburgh, but luckily for us, he decided to open an oyster bar opposite Buckingham Palace instead. It was a roaring success, and he went on to invent a gin-based cocktail to accompany the oysters; hey presto, No.1 Pimms.
Since it’s that time of year again when we drag the ol’ Pimms out from the back of the cupboard and spend a glorious(ish) few weeks drinking it in alarming quantities while watching the best tennis players in the world sweat it out in a court, I thought I might bring this recipe out of retirement too. It’s a loaf cake, combining orange, lemon, mint, strawberries and a generous helping of Pimms itself. It was a favourite with the lovely readers of Domestic Sluttery last year, so hopefully, you’ll like it too.
For the cake:
- 225g butter, softened
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 225g self-raising flour
- Zest of 1 lemon, plus a generous squeeze of juice
- Zest of 1 orange
- Handful mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Pimms
For the syrup:
- 50ml Pimms
- Juice of half an orange
- Generous squeeze lemon juice
- 2 inches cucumber, chopped
- 1 heaped tbsp icing sugar
- Icing sugar
- Chopped mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 900g / 2lb loaf tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and very fluffy.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of the flour to stop the mixture from splitting. Beat well in between.
- Sift in the rest of the flour and stir gently until just combined.
- Add in the lemon and orange zest, the squeeze of juice, the mint leaves and the Pimms and stir gently into the cake mixture.
- Tip into the loaf tin and smooth the over the top
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer or toothpick comes out clean. If the top is browning too fast, cover with foil until the centre catches up.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool slightly.
- While the cake is cooking, make yourself a Pimms.
- Then, place all the ingredients for the syrup in a jug. Stir together well and add a little more sugar to your taste, if necessary.
- Tip into a small saucepan over a medium heat and warm gently for a few minutes, to allow the flavours to come together.
- While the cake is still warm, poke holes all over the top with a fork or a skewer.
- Spoon over the liquid of the syrup (not the cucumber) so that it soaks in. You might need to wait and do a second round. (You’ll probably have syrup left over).
- Quickly dust with a generous helping of icing sugar.
- Decorate with a sprinkling of chopped mint, fresh sliced strawberries, and of course, a jug of Pimms…
This recipe first appeared on the much-loved, much-missed Domestic Sluttery.