A rich sticky polenta cake with caramelised clementines this is a very attractive cake. With the addition of gold leaf or lustre this cake becomes a magnificent centrepiece for a festive tea, smells divine and tastes fantastic.

150g sultanas
5 tbsp brandy
240g very soft unsalted butter (or plant based marg), plus extra for greasing
175g caster sugar
6 or more clementines, depending on their size
200g ground almonds
120g light soft brown sugar
4 large eggs (or to vegan-ise use 2 mashed bananas instead)
200g (homemade) mincemeat
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
200g polenta
a generous grating of whole nutmeg

Put the sultanas in a small bowl and add the brandy, stir together and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.

Lightly grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm square tin (loose-bottomed if possible). In another small bowl, mash together 50g of the butter with 50g of the caster sugar and, using the back of a spoon, spread this mixture as evenly as you can over the base of the prepared tin.

Now, leaving the clementines unpeeled, use a sharp or serrated knife to slice all but 2 of them into rounds, discarding the end slices. You’ll need 15-20 rounds altogether, depending on the size of the clementines. Arrange the rounds on top of the sugary butter, overlapping them slightly so there aren’t many gaps. Finely grate the zest of the remaining 2 clementines and squeeze the juice – set aside.

Beat together the remaining 200g of butter with 100g of the caster sugar, the ground almonds, light soft brown sugar, eggs, mincemeat, baking powder, polenta, clementine zest and nutmeg until combined. Stir in the soaked sultanas (and any brandy left in the bowl), then spoon the mixture on top of the sliced clementines and smooth the top.

Bake the cake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, covering the top with foil after 30 minutes to prevent it from over-browning. Cool the baked cake in the tin for 30 minutes or so before putting it upside down onto a board and allowing the cake and the base of the tin to drop. Leave to cool until it is barely warm, then carefully remove the base of the tin and the baking paper.

Heat the clementine juice with the remaining 25g of caster sugar and bubble it for a few minutes until syrupy. Brush this warm syrup on top of the cake and leave the cake to cool completely before slicing and serving.