Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chocolate Quinoa Cake

Chocolicious Quinoa Cake {gluten-free}
Adapted from Oh She Glows

 This recipe has so many great features – chock full of quinoa, gluten free, real whole ingredients – and seems pretty darn easy at first glance. Cook quinoa. Blend quinoa with some other stuff. Add to some sifted dry ingredients and mix. Bake. Easy peasy right? Well it is easy, but this recipe is one finicky lady. The tendency is to become a dense fudgey brownie-like brick. Not bad, but not really the intention; you should get a fluffy yet moist deeply chocolaty not-too-sweet cake. Here’s how!

2 cups COOKED quinoa*
1/3 cup almond milk or hemp milk or whatever milk you like
4 large eggs (cage-free of course, otherwise you can taste the misery)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter (or vegan margarine, if you want it vegan/ dairy-free)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup organic raw cane sugar
1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1.5 tsp baking powder (or 2 tsp if your powder is more than 2 months old)
1/2 teaspoon salt

 1.Preheat the oven to 350°F and then line two 8” round cake pans or one large (14”) round springform pan with parchment paper.
 2.In a food processor or blender, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter and oil, and vanilla extract then blend for ten seconds to combine.
 3.Add the 2C cooked and cooled quinoa then blend the heck out of it until completely smooth, about three minutes (or three periods of one minute to let blender engine cool down in between).
 4.Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl (cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt).
 5.Add the wet ingredients** in the blender to the bowl with the dry and mix together until very well-combined.
 6.Spread into pans and bake for 37 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Larger pan will likely take a bit longer, depending on your oven; mine in convection and still takes 37 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool.

For mini-cupcakes, bake 13 minutes.
For regular cupcakes, bake 15 minutes.
For smallish cakes, bake 18 minutes.

 Secrets to Awesomeness

 *Cooking the quinoa: approximately 3/4 cup dry quinoa will yield 2 cups cooked quinoa. I like to make a double batch: 1.5C quinoa and 3C water. Bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to low so that it’s barely simmering at all, like for rice, for 35 minutes. Check towards the last 10 min to make sure it’s not getting crunchy on bottom, add a bit more water if bone dry but not too much. You want the quinoa fully soft, not at all crunchy, but dry at the end. Dry is important. Then measure out two cups of the cooked quinoa for the recipe and use the rest for a pilaf or something. I don’t know why but making a bigger batch helps it get drier and fluffier.

 **When extracting the quinoa mix from the blender, do not be tempted to add more liquid to make the task easier or to make the batter more like what you expect from a cake batter. It’s not. The batter is thick and uncooperative, you just have to show it who’s boss. Use a rubber spatula to remove from blender (watch out for blade!!) and use plenty of muscle when mixing into the dry ingredients. The batter should be very thick and you have to spread it in the cake pans rather than pour. It seems wrong but trust me it’s right! Oh She Glows also has a coconut milk-chocolate frosting to go with the cake. I cautiously recommend it…it’s heavenly when it turns out right and only has two ingredients (1 can coconut cream solids and 1 pkg (280g) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, melted then cooled) but the chances of it turning out right are actually pretty slim. The coconut milk has to be the exact right kind – it has to be chilled to 4 degrees, the solids must completely separate from the liquids, the chocolate must be melted but no longer warm, you must beat on med-high  and watch carefully for it to change, and the stars must align exactly right in order to achieve a fluffy yummy frosting rather than liquidy goop or worse. You may want a nice reliable buttercream. What, you say? You don’t know of a nice reliable chocolate buttercream icing recipe?? Guess what, it’s butter and cream and icing sugar. Ok a couple other things too.

 Nice Reliable Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: this one from Kitchen Magpie rocks. 

Add I confess. I lifted this pic from another blog , as it's uncannily similar to how this cake looks, and I don't have a pic myself yet. Kudos to Playing with Flour for a gorgeous cake. 


  1. ACK!!! OMG, Sherylyn, you're BACK! Honey, I have missed you, your recipes (not that I can make them, but they're like food porn, ya know), YOU, your sassy writing, YOU! Did I mention YOU!?

    Hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs - we talk fondly of your severed foot cheeseball at Book Club.

  2. Oh my gosh, you are back online and blogging again! My how I have missed connecting with you. I am excited to see you on my blog feed again. Hopefully we can find a way to catch up sometime soon.

  3. Yeah I'm back babeee!! And hope to get blogging more regularly, I miss it but it's just so hard to find time...email me Robbyn, let's catch up :)