Quinoa chocolate cake is a flourless, decadent, and ridiculously easy cake. We topped it with fluffy whipped ganache for the ultimate treat!
Quinoa chocolate cake is the first gluten free cake recipe we fell in love with after beginning our journey with food allergies because it is so easy to mix up and has simple ingredients that aren’t overwhelming to a beginner gluten free baker.
Did I mention this recipe is flourless? That’s right, no need to worry about which gluten-free flour will work, or how much you’re going to pay for it!
Hang with me here! I know that quinoa in cake sounds super weird but I promise you wouldn’t ever guess. It really is one of the best cakes I’ve had! (and I’m a bit of a cake snob)
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Table of Contents
EASY FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
The reason this chocolate cake is so easy is that it calls for cooked quinoa instead of the flour. Don’t worry, you’ll blend the quinoa into the batter so there won’t be a funky texture, and we promise you won’t even notice the quinoa!
Something magical happens when you blend the quinoa with the rest of the ingredients in this flourless chocolate cake. It makes the most tender, chocolatey and delicious cake with so little effort.
Top it with our whipped ganache frosting and bring it to your next party and we pretty much guarantee you’ll be everyone’s new best friend.
WHAT IS QUINOA?
What is quinoa? Quinoa is a pseudo grain that is naturally gluten free.
Quinoa can be cooked like rice (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water or broth) and used as a substitute for rice or couscous in recipes.
It is also a popular health food choice as it is a good source of fiber, folate, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It also contains a good amount of complete protein, especially as compared to white rice.
Because quinoa is not a grain, and is used in place of flour, this gluten free chocolate cake is not only gluten free but flourless and grain free as well (yay!)
PRO TIP: always rinse quinoa thoroughly under warm water before cooking. After a minute or two, the water will run clear and the quinoa will lose any bitterness from the (harmless and natural) coating.
INGREDIENTS IN QUINOA CHOCOLATE CAKE
The best chocolate cake starts with a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. If you’re new to quinoa, you can find it next to the rice in your favorite grocery store.
FOR THE CAKE:
- milk regular or non-dairy will work
- eggs at room temperature
- quinoa rinsed, cooked, and cooled
- butter I used salted. If you use unsalted, add extra salt to the recipe
- granulated sugar
- cocoa powder
- baking powder
- baking soda
- cinnamon balances the chocolate beautifully, though you won’t taste it much
- salt add more if using unsalted butter
FOR WHIPPED GANACHE FROSTING:
- whipping cream
- chopped Hershey’s bars OR gluten free semi-sweet chocolate chips. If using Hershey’s bars, note that not all sizes are gluten-free so be sure to check the packaging.
HOW TO MAKE QUINOA CHOCOLATE CAKE:
If this is your first time making quinoa chocolate cake, you might be wondering how this could possibly work? Honestly, it’s like magic every time I make it. You blend cake ingredients plus quinoa together, bake it, and it turns into a delicious chocolate cake. You’ve gotta try it to believe it.
Step 1: Start ganache frosting.
The ganache frosting is very easy but takes several hours to complete, so plan accordingly. I did the first step of the ganache 3 hours before making the cake, set it in the fridge, and then finished it after the cake cooled. All you’ll need to do is heat heavy cream in a small saucepan or medium microwave-safe bowl, pour it over the chocolate, let sit for a few minutes, then stir. It just needs a little time to cool in the fridge before you whip it and frost the cake.
Step 2: Cook the Quinoa.
Be sure to purchase some that says it is pre-rinsed on the packaging, or rinse thoroughly under running water in a strainer before cooking. Bring 2 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan, add 1 cup quinoa, cover, and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand covered for 5 minutes, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Let cool before using in the cake! This recipe will yield more than you will need for the cake, just refrigerate the leftovers to use later for a Quinoa Bowl or Quinoa Chili.
Step 3: Blend
This chocolate quinoa cake is so easy to make because you’ll be blending all the ingredients. A high speed blender such as Blendtec works especially well, but any old blender should do. You can also use a good quality food processor if you don’t own a blender. You’ll blend the wet ingredients first, then add the dry ingredients to blend them all together.
Step 4: Bake and Cool
Pour the cake batter into 2 round pans or a 9×13 cake pan. We have done both multiple times and it turns out great either way! If you’re using round pans, be sure to line with parchment paper to avoid sticking. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
Step 5: Frost
Once the ganache has had a chance to cool, whip it in a large mixing bowl with a mixer until it resembles whipped cream. Frost the cake and serve!
This really is the best chocolate cake, I know you’re going to love it!
PRO TIPS FOR MAKING QUINOA CHOCOLATE CAKE
- Rinse quinoa before cooking. Quinoa seeds are naturally coated with a bitter (but harmless) substance called saponin. Saponin acts as a defense mechanism for the plant but can give the quinoa a bitter taste if not properly removed. Rinsing helps wash away most of the saponin, making the quinoa taste better.
- Try different frostings! While I love the whipped ganache, you can top with any frosting you like! Here are a few fun variations to try:
- a simple chocolate frosting with a scoop of vanilla ice cream
- peanut butter frosting + ganache
- whipped cream frosting plus fresh berries
- Use room temperature ingredients. Using room temperature eggs in baking helps create a smoother texture and better structure in your baked goods. They blend more easily with other ingredients, improve leavening, and ensure proper emulsification. To bring eggs to room temperature, simply take them out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before using them, or warm them gently in lukewarm water if you’re in a hurry.
Looking for more uniquely delicious cake recipes? Try this Almond Flour Lemon Cake!
Another unique cake idea is this beautiful Matcha Cake Recipe.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is this quinoa cake recipe healthy?
Quinoa cake isn’t healthy per se, but it is healthier than traditional cake made with regular flour because quinoa is a superfood packed with protein and vitamins/minerals.
Can I make a vegan quinoa cake?
Because this recipe calls for 4 eggs, it won’t turn out the same if you try a vegan substitute like flax or chia eggs.
How do you store quinoa cake?
Quinoa cake is best stored in the fridge. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap. It will last for 4-5 days.
Does quinoa cake make a good birthday cake?
Quinoa cake is an awesome birthday cake, especially for adults! It’s indulgent without feeling as heavy as traditional cakes.
MAKING THIS GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CAKE???
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QUINOA CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE
FOR THE CAKE:
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa (see notes)
- 3/4 cup butter (salted), melted and cooled
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 T baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
FOR THE WHIPPED GANACHE FROSTING:
- 1 3/4 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup chopped Hershey's bars (about 3 of the regular size bars), OR gluten free semi-sweet chocolate chips
Start the Whipped Ganache:
- Measure chocolate into a medium bowl.
- Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat (stirring occasionally) just until it comes to a gentle simmer. Pour over chocolate and let sit for exactly 5 minutes without stirring.
- Whisk until smooth and glossy and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until completely cooled.
MAKE THE CAKE:
- Lightly grease bottoms of two 8" round or square baking pans with oil or cooking spray.
- Trace bottoms of pans on parchment paper, cut out circles and place inside greased pans.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla in a blender or bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add cooked/cooled quinoa and melted butter and blend until completely smooth.
- It will be fairy thick but still pourable. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and sea salt.
- Add quinoa batter from blender and stir or whisk to combine.
- Evenly divide batter between two pans (they will be about half full) and bake on middle rack for 20-25 minutes until cake springs back when tapped or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with fudgy crumbs.
- Remove and cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes before inverting cakes onto a cooling rack.
- Cool completely.
FINISH THE WHIPPED GANACHE FROSTING:
- When the ganache has cooled completely, whip with the whisk attachment of your KitchenAid or use a hand mixer to mix as you would to make whipped cream.
- When stiff peaks form, turn the mixer off. Use a stand mixer if you have one, it's a lot easier and quicker.
- This is a tender cake, so gently transfer one of your cooled cakes to a serving plate.
- Spread a thin, even layer of whipped ganache on the cake.
- Gently transfer the other cake on top and lightly press down.
- Spread remaining ganache on top and sides. You can swirl it with the edge of a knife to make it look pretty. Gently press white chocolate on the sides of the cake and serve.
- This cake tastes great the day after making as well, just store (covered) in the refrigerator.
Handle with care because this cake soft and moist, you'll want to line your pans with parchment paper and grease well if you plan to remove the cake from the pans. Also, be careful when transferring the cake.
Rinse the quinoa before cooking to remove any bitter flavor.
Make a 9X13 cake by spreading the cake batter into an even layer in a 9 X 13" cake pan. Keep on eye on the baking time, you might need to keep it in the oven a few minutes longer.
To store: Quinoa cake is best stored in the fridge. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap. It will last for 4-5 days.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 185mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 4g