We double-team Easter and Passover at our house, so I’m always looking for desserts that can do double-duty. This gluten-free chocolate polenta cake fits the bill beautifully. It isn’t pretty, but it’s dense, deeply flavored and filled with the aromatic goodness of bittersweet chocolate, cinnamon and orange. Enjoy!


Stop reading now if appearances are important to you. If you dream of mile-high cakes on stately stands. Of fluffy, feathery icing and perfectly proportioned layers.

This is not that kind of cake.

This cake is more akin to your teenage son’s room. To the kids’ bathroom on cleaning day.

It’s the cake you hide in the kitchen while the “cool” cake gets put out for company. It’s the cake Abercrombie & Fitch would sneer at.

polenta cake

And that’s a shame. Because this cake is fantastic. Deeply bittersweet, richly brown, textured by cornmeal (gluten free!) and scented with orange and vanilla — this is a dessert you should be proud to serve at the most casual gatherings and the fanciest soirees.

I first met chocolate pudding cornmeal cake in the pages of Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s The Italian Country Table. I made it last summer for a friend who was diagnosed…

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