Quinoa Chocolate Cake (or Cupcakes)

Kid Friendly
Dairy Free

Title: Quinoa Chocolate Cake
Author: Britney Shawley
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes 
Total time: 60 minutes
Serves: 8- 10 people or 20 muffins 

I must give credit to Mama Jane in California for this one. She is an amazing cake artist and when we lived with her and her family for 6 months she made this many times. I fell in love. It immediately rose to my favorite cake ever. Everytime I make and eat this cake, I think of her and all the amazing cooking experiences we had. It truly is a comforting and addicting dessert. It does use a fair amount of sugar, and so because of that I try to use coconut sugar. Especially if Ella is eating it. {see below for coconut sugar fact} I made this recipe for Ella’s first birthday using coconut sugar!  I used peppermint oil in the icing and it was soooo gooood. This cake is filled with protein and vitamins because of the quinoa and you would never know its good for you because it tastes so delicious.

 I often turn this cake recipe into cupcakes, too.


2 C cooked and cooled quinoa (I generally make a batch for dinner the night before, and use the cooled quinoa for cake next day)
1/3 cup milk (almond is fine)
4 large eggs (I often use flax eggs: see below for instructions)
1 tsp vanilla extract (or real vanilla bean)
3/4 C vegan butter, melted and cooled (I use Earth Balance, regular butter works too)
1 C coconut sugar (regular or brown sugar is fine~ but read why coconut sugar is the preferred choice below)
1 C unsweetened (raw) cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Buttercream frosting:
3 C  powdered sugar(more options below)
2/3 C cocoa powder
1/2 C vegan Butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup of almond milk

**if you want a different flavor, omit the vanilla and add orange extract, raspberry, peppermint, or whatever you’d like!


For Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F

  2. Prepare 2 cake pans by parchment paper, grease and flour.  If doing cupcakes, use silicone or paper cups.

  3. Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Add quinoa by the cup, process until smooth. Set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Divide evenly among pans (or cupcakes).

  6. Bake 28-30 min [20 mins for cupcakes], until toothpick comes out clean. Will be super fudgy looking and still might slightly move in the middle, but not much. The edges generally start to pull away from the sides of the pans.

  7. Pull out of oven when done and leave on counter to cool. Once almost completely cooled turn over onto a drying rack and let cool completely. 

For Frosting:

  1. In a big bowl add cocoa, vegan butter, vanilla (or peppermint or raspberry or flavor of choice) and almond milk. 

  2. Mix together with a hand mixer. 

  3. Begin to pour in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until perfect consistency.

  4. Ice your cake or cupcakes once they are fully cooled. Store leftover icing with closed lid in fridge. 


Saving Money:

The quinoa can be pricey. If I am making this, I will be sure to buy a large bag from Costco. A large bag goes for about $17 CDN and you can get many meals out of it, at least 6 meals. It’s packed with protein and be used as part of burgers, on its own, in hearty salads, in a stir fry. There are many quinoa options. 
Buy your (coconut) sugar at Bulk Barn or Costco. It’s a little bit more expensive than white table sugar but it’s worth the healthy benefits and added vitamins and minerals. 

Quick Tips & Tools:


Big bowl. blender or food processor. 2 circle cake pans or 2 muffin trays.


Saving Time:

Cook quinoa in morning with breakfast. Let it cool on the counter. This way, when you are ready to make the cake, the hard part is done, and you only have to blend it all together. 
Set out all your ingredients, including your blender and pans/tins on the counter before you begin your baking. This will help you to grab what you need and use immediately [and perhaps even put them away as soon as you use them] versus having to find each ingredient on your shelves or in your fridge as you go along. 

Important Notes

For cupcakes:
 Use silicon cups or paper cups. Line 2 muffin tins. Prepare for about 18-20 cupcakes. Scoop 1/3 cup into each muffin tin.  Cook them in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the toothpick comes out dry. They tend to be glossy on top when you take them out which is lovely.
(use these instead of the eggs or in combination with a few eggs)

For one  flax-egg, it takes
1 tbsp flaxmeal with 2 tbsp water.
Stir and let sit for 5 minutes until thick and gooey. 

Icing is not even necessary for this cake/cupcakes. It is super moist and delicious on its own. But if you do use icing, I prefer using coconut icing sugar, or organic icing sugar. Once you make the icing, I generally have leftovers and I encourage storing extra icing in a closed container in fridge. Will hold for 3 weeks.

Coconut Sugar:
Coconut sugar does not make your blood sugar levels spike like regular table sugar does. So this helps you to avoid sugar craziness and crashes. Coconut Sugar, according to Dr. Axe, also has trace minerals and vitamins. “Trace elements are available, such as iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, some short-chain fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidants, and a fiber known as inulin — all of which may offer some health benefits that regular table sugar cannot.” All in all, coconut sugar is a great substitute to regular or brown sugar. 
Side note: coconut sugar substitutes for white or brown sugar, as well as the icing sugar, they its 2 different kinds of coconut sugar.
 For Making Cake Ahead of time:
Make cake as per instructions. Once completely cooled, cover in plastic wrap and put into freezer. Take out of freezer 1 hour before you are ready to ice your cake and serve.
Make the icing according to instructions and on same day as cake. Store in fridge with closed lid. Take out of fridge when you take out the cake. 

**Do Not ice your cake or muffins until they are fully cooled. Otherwise your icing will melt.

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