This chocolate polenta pudding cake is a creamy, chocolatey, gluten-free dessert, made with polenta, dark chocolate, butter, cocoa powder, and eggs.
Adapted from Emma Zimmerman | The Miller’s Daughter | Hardie Grant, 2022
The first cookbook I ever owned was Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes. My siblings and I cooked every recipe in that book, each more brilliant and imaginative than the last, but the one we made over and over again was Bruce Bogtrotter’s Chocolate Cake from the pages of Matilda. A nearly flourless cake with egg whites, it was most definitely a technical challenge, and my siblings and I destroyed the kitchen in the process, using every available bowl and utensil.
In spite of the chaos, we were learning the basics of baking: separating eggs, whipping the whites into a flurry and gently folding them into a batter. It also planted the seeds of learning how to be a good host, the glittering feeling it gave us to delight our birthday party guests with a decadent cake.
Just as importantly, if less glitteringly, we also learned how to clean up afterwards. This cake would be sure to tempt Bruce Bogtrotter. It’s somehow airy and light and rich and pudding-like all at once, with a little extra texture courtesy of the softened polenta.–Emma Zimmerman
Chocolate Polenta Cake FAQs
What is polenta?
Polenta is basically a cornmeal mash. It can be made from any type of cornmeal and can be ground course, medium, or fine. Polenta is commonly used in Italian cooking.
Are grits and polenta the same thing?
Yes and no. Both polenta and grits are made from ground corn. The difference between them is the type of corn that is used. Polenta is made from yellow corn, while grits are made from white corn. Grits are a staple in the southern United States.
Can I make this recipe dairy free?
You can. Instead of using butter, find a plant-based alternative that is recommended for cooking and baking. There are several avocado oil butter alternatives on the market that would substitute well flavor-wise, but you may see a slight textural difference in your final results.
Can I use instant polenta for this polenta cake?
Yes. Our testers had success making this pudding cake with instant polenta. Simply reduce the polenta cook time according to package directions.
☞ Like polenta cakes? Try these:
Chocolate Polenta Pudding Cake
This chocolate polenta pudding cake cleverly swaps in cornmeal for flour, to make this rich, chocolatey dessert gluten-free.
Lightly oil a 9-inch (23 cm) springform cake pan and line the base with parchment paper.
To prevent any leaking from your pan, wrap the bottom in aluminum foil.
Pour 2 cups water into a medium saucepan, add the salt, and bring to a boil over a medium-high heat. Add the polenta, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently to prevent it from sticking to the base of the pan, until most of the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Remove from the heat and add the butter and chocolate. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes, then stir until melted and well combined. Mix in the cocoa powder.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar on high speed until tripled in volume, 4 to 8 minutes. Gently fold half the mixture into the chocolate polenta, then fold in the rest until no traces of egg are visible, taking care not to overmix. Pour in the vanilla and give the mixture a quick stir to incorporate.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake until the top is dry and somewhat souffléd, with a bit of a jiggle in the center, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and run a thin paring knife around the inside of the pan, then allow to cool completely at room temperature. The cake will sink slightly in the center as it cools.
Place the cake in the fridge overnight before releasing the side and removing it from the pan. Use a sharp thin-bladed knife to cut the cake into slices, wiping the blade between cuts for a clean finish.
Finish with a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar and serve. The cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.