Vanilla Vodka Christmas Cake

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I think I first made this cake about five years ago and it has now become my family’s favourite Christmas cake. It’s fruity, fresh and totally delicious.

You will need

250 g (9 oz) each plump raisins and sultanas
100g (3 1/2 oz) dried cranberries or blueberries
200 g (7 oz) natural glace cherries, halved
200 ml (7fl oz) vanilla vodka we used Absolute, available from Tesco’s and Waitrose
150 g (5 oz) roasted Marcona almonds
200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
200 g (7 oz) unrefined dark muscovado
4 medium organic eggs, beaten
100g (3 1/2 oz) plain flour

How to make your Vanilla Vodka Cake

1. One put the raisins, sultanas, cranberries (or blueberries) and cherries in a large bowl. Add the vodka and stir well. Cover and soak for 2-3hours or even better overnight. Blend the almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Tip out 75 g (3 oz) and blend the remainder until ground. Cover and set aside.
2. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20.5 cm (8″) round tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven 250°C ,130°C fan, Gas Mark 2. Put the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, then beat with a hand-held electric whisk for 2 to 3 minutes until light and creamy.
3. Gradually whisk in the beaten eggs, adding a little of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle. Stir in the ground and chopped nuts, along with any remaining flour. Tip the soaked fruit mixture into the bowl, together with any unabsorbed vodka, and mix well.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level surface. Bake for 3 1/2 hours or into the skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then remove, keeping it in the greaseproof paper. Wrap in a double thickness of foil until ready to decorate.

Syrupy Lemon polenta cake (gluten free)

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I made this last weekend and I was really impressed. I would even go as far as saying I prefer it to a normal lemon drizzle cake. I love the bite to this and the lightness. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

You will need

300 g of butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
300 g golden castor sugar
300 g of ground almonds
150g of polenta ( fine or medium grain or a mix of the two)
Finely grated zest of two lemons
5 large eggs
Icing sugar, to dust (optional)

For the lemon syrup
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons of icing sugar

How to make you polenta cake

One heat the oven 280°C hundred and 60° fan and stuff for. Grease a 25cm round, loose bottomed cake tin. Beat the butter and sugar using a wooden spoon or electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, polenta and lemon zest, and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well, until smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the tin and spread evenly. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until golden and firm to touch.
Leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out, upside down, onto a wire rack. Prick the base all over using a skewer or a fork. To make the syrup, heat the lemon and icing sugar until boiling, then remove from heat and spoon over the cake. Once the syrup has soaked in, you can turn the cake the right way up or leave it as it is. dust with icing sugar to make it look extra special. This is delicious served with creme fraiché, just saying!

From The Clandestine Cake Club cookbook.