Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gluten-Free Chocolate Quinoa Cakes

Featured Ingredient: Quinoa












Several years ago, I spent the summer bicycling across western Canada and down the coast of Washington, Oregon and California. A truly marvelous pedal indeed. For a couple weeks in Washington and Oregon, I rode with a free spirited guy whose name has now escaped me. Anyhow, two things that really standout about him was that he cycled with a didgeridoo – a long drone pipe instrument developed by Indigenous Australians – strapped over his panniers (drivers weren’t impressed!) and every night for dinner he would eat a mysterious beige grain that he lauded as being a nutritional marvel. He called it quinoa. At the time, like almost every other North American, I had never heard of quinoa let alone could remember how to pronounce it. How times have changed.

The ancient Inca grain quinoa is smokin’ hot these days, as there is even an entire cookbook devoted to this gluten-free wonder. Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood is apparently selling very well for the Canadian authors as a testament to good timing as quinoa is becoming the go-to grain for more households. My public library has an unusually long waiting list for the book. I’ve had a chance to look through the recipes, and so many of them look really great. If, like Tabi and I, you’re into quinoa, it’s a worthy addition to a cookbook library.

One recipe that immediately stood out was the gluten-free chocolate quinoa cake. Cooked quinoa replaces the flour. I decided to give the recipe a whirl using muffin cups and must say that these are ridiculously good. Very moist and desirably chocolaty. If the other recipes are half as good as this one, the book is a real winner! For my version, I cut back on the sugar by 1/2 cup as we don’t normally like baked goods to be too sweet and I added some coffee extract, but that is certainly optional as few people have it around. Although, I am in the process of making my own.

As a quinoa freak, I’d be interested in hearing about other unique ways to use this superfood grain.

Gluten-free Chocolate Quinoa Cakes












2/3 cup beige quinoa (It also comes in red and black hues)
1/3 cup low-fat milk
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup palm or other raw style sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and 1 1/3 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 12 minutes, or until water has absorbed. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine milk, eggs, vanilla and coffee extract in a blender and process until mixed. Add cooked quinoa, oil and butter and blend until smooth.

Whisk together sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients to bowl and mix until everything is moist. Divide batter among 12 prepared muffin cups and bake for 22 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool before unmolding.

29 comments:

  1. I have a GF son and these sound and look great. I will definitely give them a go.

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  2. I love this idea of doing it in a muffin tin....

    We make a very similar, but in a cake version. My Dad loves it because he's gluten free...in fact, we have some of this type of cake in the fridge right now! Thanks for sharing this!

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  3. This looks fantastic. Now... how would I make a vanilla version of this cake for my non-chocolate loving GF husband? Would omitting the 3/4 c. cocoa completely throw off the texture. Could I replace the cocoa with something else? Ideas? Thanks! :)

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  4. I've made a double layered chocolate cake with the same recipe! It has "butter" cream icing and is to DIE for! Here's the link if you're interested: http://www.healthfulpursuit.com/2011/06/rich-chocolate-quinoa-cake-with-vanilla-buttercream-frosting/

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  5. Wow, you married someone who does not like chocolate :)
    Anyways, the cocoa adds some mass to the batter so you probably want to add a bit more flour to compensate. Maybe some flaxseed would be good or coconut?

    Leanne, that cake looks like a winner. Trying not to lick the screen.

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  6. These are in the oven as I speak... I've been dying to try this recipe and now I finally have! I just realized that I accidentally left out the oil... it didn't say when to add it in in the directions... any specific time for future reference?

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  7. Sorry about that Andrea. You can add the oil to the blender when you toss in the quinoa and butter. I hope they still turn out moist enough. Let me know.

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  8. They still turned out awesome! I think they were just fine without the oil! Thank you! :)

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  9. I made these yesterday, looking for a break from the black bean brownies, these are the answer. Beautiful shape, texture, thanks for this easy treat.

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  10. Hi, there. I'm new to quinoa, and found your blog while searching for creative ways to use it. I tried these last Saturday and they turned out wonderfully rich. At the sweetness level of your recipe, they would make a great foil for homemade buttercream frosting.

    We've stored our leftovers in the fridge, and just had some extras last night (3 days later); they were just as moist and fudgey. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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  11. So glad they worked out for you. Indeed, I also found they only got better a few days later.

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  12. This may be a silly question, but is it 2/3 cup cooked or 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa?

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  13. Great recipe! I've never cooked quinoa in a cake before, so was interested to see what it would turn out and it's lovely. As people said before, they even seem to get better the next day after being in the fridge. They weren't quite sweet enough for my daughter, and the cocoa I used is very bitter, so I put some ice-cream with it and she liked it alot too. Now I'm looking forward to trying your other recipes. Thanks :)

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  14. Hi Matthew, I just came across your site today from Foodgawker, and it's fantastic! This recipe is going to definitely be on my "to make" list very soon... was just wondering if I could leave out the eggs and substitute with something else? Would avocado work? I noticed you had stated in another recipe that avocado works instead of eggs, and wondered if it would apply for this one too? Keep up the great work!!

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  15. Hmmm..I'm not sure avocado would be a good flavor fit for this recipe. Have you tried using a 'flax egg' in replace of a real egg. Google it and you'll find plenty of info.
    Sometimes I use silken tofu with good results.

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  16. How does the 2/3 c uncooked quinoa translate to cooked? I've already cooked all my quinoa and would like to use leftovers. Thank you!

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  17. Kiki, it is probably a little under 1 cup cooked.

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  18. They ARE good! My friend made them for us for a party... EXCellent!

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  19. These are awesome! Just what I needed to curb my sweet tooth!

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  20. Do you have any idea the nutritional information? How many calories? They are really good

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  21. do you have any idea how many calories are in these muffins? I keep track of calories :)

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  22. I would estimate between 150 and 200 calories.

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  23. I baked a batch today and got rave reviews. Very moist but not gooey. I always cut the amount of sugar in conventional recipes in half; glad to see you agree. Thank you for a very informative and interesting site. BonnieBaker in Victoria BC.

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  24. I keep cooked quinoa in my fridge and stir it into all sorts of dishes, both sweet and savory. I also sub it for rice in stir fry and fried rice dishes. You can cook it with almost any liquid replacing half or more of the water. The quinoa will take on subtle tones of flavor to enhance a particular dish.

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