Candy Cane Infused Vodka

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas (cue music)

No really it is, there are decorations up in all the shops and here in the city I live in Christmas has been heralded in by the annual Christmas pageant which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest Christmas pageants in the world. Its huge and this year over 350 000 people turned out to watch it (that’s like 1/3 of the city’s population).

Tradition growing up was that we put the Christmas tree up on pageant day, and I’ve continued this tradition with my kids. We blast out the Christmas music (much to my husband’s horror), and set to work putting up and decorating the tree and much of the house. We even had our outside lights up on the same day. Whilst that sounds impressive it’s really 2 strands of solar powered lights which over time have become entangled with a climbing rose and wisteria so we can’t actually pack them up, so all actually do is flick the on switch.

One of my new Christmas traditions is to make candy cane infused vodka. I got the idea to make it whilst listening to the Joy the Baker podcast and Joy and co host Tracey were talking about making infused vodka. I thought candy cane infused vodka would make an amazing present. I was wrong on 2 counts with this. I envisioned little jar of candy canes surrounded by vodka, reality the vodka essentially melts the candy canes within hours so its becomes a pink, sticky vodka mixture. The second reason is the smell. The permit in the candy canes combines with the vodka to make a scent one what one might tactfully call super charged mouth wash. I’ve totally put you off making it now haven’t I, well stick with me on this.

Ok so it didn’t turn out exactly as planned, but not being one to waste vodka I put out the call on facebook as to what I could drink it with. A very wise and knowledgeable friend suggested apple juice. So I bought some apple juice and mixed a shot of the candy cane vodka in with a glass of apple juice and hello new favourite Christmas drink. The peppermint worked really well with the apple juice. I’, thinking about this year taking it a bit further and making full cocktail using the vodka, so I’m all up for suggestions on things to mix with the candy cane vodka.

I’m not going to give you a recipe for this as it’s so easy. You just need a glass jar, vodka ( go with mid range stuff) and candy canes. Simply put candy canes in jar pour in vodka so it comes almost all the way up to the top of candy canes (I used 7 full sized candy canes in a 500ml jar then just poured in vodka till almost up to top of candy canes), put lid on leave in dark place for 3-4 weeks shaking every couple of days and ta do, candy cane vodka.

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Cinnamon Cake

I’ve been experiencing a bit of meh in the kitchen recently. I really haven’t had that much desire to cook/bake. I mean I’ve been cooking dinners and making lunches etc. but I’ve been doing this more because it has to be done then a burning desire to cook. Perhaps life’s just been to chaotic and tiring I’m not sure what was behind it but this week I got my baking mojo back. I’ve made a couple of cakes and have been pursing recipe books feeling enticed to bake and cook other things. It’s good to be back in my kitchen happy place.

One of the cakes I made is a cinnamon cake. It has a layer of chocolate and cinnamon sugar in the middle and chocolate icing and was really really delicious.

Cinnamon Cake – recipe adapted from Dorrie Greenspan’s Baking from my home to yours

1 1/4 + 2 tbls cups of sugar

1 tbls + 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 3/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

125g + 2 tbls butter, melted

90g dark chocolate chopped

preheat oven to 180 degrees, grease a square cake tin.

stir 2 tbls sugar, 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon together

whisk together flour, baking powder and remaining cinnamon. In another bowl mix together eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix milk mixture into flour mixture.

Fold in butter. it will look like it won’t mix together but just keep gently folding it in. it will end up a nice shiny batter.

Pour 1/2 batter in cake tin. Sprinkle chocolate over batter, the sprinkle cinnamon sugar. Top with remaining batter.

Bake approx. 40 minutes or until done (skewer will come out clean). Cool in tin 15 mins then turn out onto cooling rack.

Icing

180g dark chocolate

2 1/2 tbl butter softened and cut into pieces.

heat chocolate until it’s almost all melted (I do this in short 30 sec bursts in microwave). Stir in butter, finish melting chocolate, you don’t want it really melted and runny, so if it’s like that just leave it for a few minutes so it’s a bit thicker and easier to work with.. Spread on top of cooled cake. leave to harden up at room temp.