Death Gin Negroni Cake

April 2, 2024

Just like Johnny Cash, a true Negroni walks the line – the line between bitter and sweet, that is. You know you’ve slain the Negroni game if your cocktail is perfectly balanced – not too sour, not too sweet – and made using Death Gin, a contemporary Australian gin.

And why stop there? Cocktails are great, sure. But combining a cocktail with a cake? That’s f*cking brilliant.

An origin story

During the COVID lockdowns, the beloved Negroni turned 100 years old. Despite its age, this geriatric cocktail is just as smooth, perky and in-demand as it has always been.

A Negroni made the perfect drink for lockdown times (and even still now) because it’s bitter (which is how we all feel about #FCKCOVID), but also refreshing (the vibe that was in our Melbourne gin distillery when we were finally coming out of lockdown).

It was Count Camillo Negroni of Florence, Italy, who invented the drink, and it was his bartender, Fosco Scarselli, who created it. But we think it was probably one of their wives or daughters or thrice-removed gay nephews who, sick of the hierarchical anarchy, turned the illustrious cocktail into a cake.

Thanks to them, this alcoholic confection has brought together dessert-eaters and Negroni drinkers everywhere.


  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 8 blood oranges (zest from four, juice from all eight for the syrup)
  • 350 g Natural Greek yoghurt
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 250 g butter, melted and cooled
  • 350 g ground semolina/semolina flour (The Source)
  • 100 g finely ground almonds/almond flour (The Source)
  • 300 g caster sugar, additional, for the syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 ml Negroni – (30ml Death Gin Dry, 30ml Sweet Red Vermouth, 40ml Amaro (Campari, Okar Amaro, Imbroglio) – if you don’t have sweet red vermouth, add extra Amaro)

Cooking instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C. To make the cake, grease and line a 23 cm springform cake tin. Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs until pale and thick, then add the sugar to the egg mixture.
  2. Add the yoghurt and mix at a medium speed.
  3. Add the cooled butter and pinch of salt to the egg-and-yoghurt mixture. Mix the flour and the blood orange zest and fold into the liquid mixture.
  4. Pour into the greased cake tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, checking regularly. You want it looking blonde, not brown on top. The centre of the cake should spring back when you press on it. The cake is very dense, so it may take more time depending on your oven.
  5. To make the syrup, place the sugar for the syrup and your Negroni into a saucepan, bring to a boil, for 5 mins and then reduce the heat and simmer until it begins to thicken and reduces by half.
  6. To assemble the cake, turn the cooled cake out of the cake pan, use a toothpick to pit holes through the top so the syrup can get in. Drizzle with Negroni syrup and allow for 10 mins between each drizzle.; it should take 4 – 5 drizzles until it’s good and soaked
  7. Top with candied or dehydrated blood oranges or another garnish of your choosing.
  8. Pour over additional syrup on the cake when serving if you feel it is needed, and serve with vanilla ice cream or cream.
  9. You can store any additional syrup in a jar and use for cocktails.
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