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Polenta, Ricotta, Prosciutto & Tomato CakePolenta, Ricotta, Prosciutto & Tomato CakeOn Monday night I went to my first Clandestine Cake Club event and it was such a fun evening! I first came across the Clandestine cake club when I attended the cake and bake show back in September. I thought it was a fantastic idea and couldn’t wait to attend one. The Club was founded in the summer of 2010 by Lynn Hill who thought there needed to be more events out there which involve a chance to meet and talk with others and eat cake! The club has proved to be a great success and what started as one club has now led to over a hundred clubs being formed.

To take part in a cake club event you need to register on their website http://clandestinecakeclub.co.uk/ and then can look and see what club is in your area or if there isn’t one you can set one up! The idea is that each individual must bake a cake and bring it to the event so that everyone can meet, mingle and share a slice of each other’s delicious cakes. The events are held monthly and each event is held in a different venue and has a different theme.Scrumptious Savouries In light of over indulging over the festive period, the theme for January’s Cake club was Scrumptious Savories’. I had never made a savoury cake before and it took me a while to find a cake that I fancied making. When it comes to sweet cake I spend far too long deciding which one I want to make because I have too much choice but for savoury cakes I was a little stuck. I thought of a sweet potato pie but as it’s a cake club, rules are you can only make cakes, no muffins, no pies, just cakes.019

The cake I chose to make was a polenta with ricotta, prosciutto, tomato and oregano cake. I had never baked anything with polenta before so wanted to see what it would be like. The recipe was so simple and as I have cups I didn’t need to convert it but just in case you don’t, here it is:

1 Cup/120g. Polenta -fine texture
1 Cup/120g. Plain flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
¾ Cup/90g. Ricotta
4 1/2 Tbsp. rapeseed oil
3 Medium eggs
1/3 Cup. Whole fat milk
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Fresh ground nutmeg
Tomato slices
Italian Ham-like prosciutto
Fresh Oregano leaves, to garnish004 (1024x683)

1. Preheat oven to 190 C/ 375 F and lightly grease a medium size cake pan.

2. Combine polenta, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix.

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Add the eggs, ricotta, oil, milk and ground nutmeg. Mix well to form a smooth batter.

012 (1024x683)  Pour batter into prepared cake pan and add tomato and ham slices.014 (1024x683) 017 (1024x683)Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. When ready allow to cool and sprinkle with fresh oregano leaves. Serve warm.019 (1024x683)021 (1024x683)028 (1024x683) 030 (1024x683)032 (1024x683)Despite tasting the mixture and thinking this is disgusting before I put it in the oven, the cake actually turned out very well. I was quite worried as I’d never made it before and obviously couldn’t cut into it but thankfully, despite the extremely strong smell of it, it received good reviews.

There was an incredible selection of cakes at the event. We had a French roasted vegetable cake, a spiced courgette cake, a goat’s cheese cake with raisins and hazelnut, blue cheese, pear and walnut cake, cheese, pistachio and prune cake, PROJA (Serbian corn cake with sun dried tomatoes, peppers and gherkins) and finally a feta, pecan and fig cake.

I really enjoyed the roasted vegetable cake as it was almost quiche like in texture, however cheese and nuts mixed together is always a winner so a lot of those cakes were consumed quite quickly too. Kathryn’s courgette cake was a favourite of mine as it was quite sweet and after trying lots of different savoury cakes I really wanted something to satisfy my sweet tooth and this did the trick. It was such a lovely event and a really great way to meet new people and talk about each other’s passion for baking.

Two of the girls are going to New York soon so I told them they had to try a Juniors Cheesecake as it is the best cake in the world. When I went to Juniors in Time Square, new York, I had the Devil’s Food Cheesecake and I can still say I have dreams about it. It was the most incredible cake ever! My friends and I each bought different cakes and they were humungous! We ate half of it in the restaurant and then throughout the day picked at it until only crumbs were left and I’m sure I probably scraped those up too! Oh I want to go back and get another slice. In fact, Emily and I did go back two days later and bought the cheesecake again. Emily was adventurous and tried a different one but I stuck to  my Devil’s Food. Our flight back home had been cancelled due to the volcano in Iceland at the time and fortunately we were put up in the Marriot hotel for two nights. I remember so vividly both sitting in our amazingly comfy double beds watching some cheesy flick called Beauty and The Briefcase, with our slices of cheesecake in bed and I honestly couldn’t have been happier. We couldn’t finish the slice so we had the rest for breakfast.Devil's Food Cheesecake

It’s time like these that are so precious and a big factor of this is due to cake of course because cake makes you happy. Sure it can add on a few pounds too but it’s most definitely worth it.

So there you have it, delicious cakes, fabulous company and a glass of wine too, I’m already looking forward to the next event in February, let’s hope the theme contains the word chocolate!