I haven’t had great luck with birthday cakes. As someone who can’t have dairy and tries to avoid gluten, baked goods can require a patient and tolerant tongue. Between my childhood let downs of whole wheat, sugar-free apple pie compliments of ma mere and my 25th birthday’s spelt carob cake that was almost inedible (I liked it, but no one else did), I had little hope for a great cake this year. But that all changed with this chocolate quinoa cake recipe. Passed on from my dear friend and stylist extraordinaire, Shawna Lane, my lovely husband made this cake recipe despite never have baked before.
The recipe is great because it doesn’t require any four, but instead cooked quinoa that we already stock in our kitchen. Not only did it adhere to my dietary finickiness but it didn’t require buying a ton of ingredients we didn’t have (a pain in baking for me). And when we served it at my birthday party last weekend, everyone devoured it eagerly because it was delicious, moist and did not have even the slightest taste of compromise. So, if you need a good cake recipe, this decadent cake has all the flavor without the allergens.
Our good friend and professional chef came over to help us with the party food and weighed in on the cake recipe. He was worried that the chocolate glaze wouldn’t work because its absence of butter and fat, but it worked a charm. And I even found myself licking the spoon later that night (and found it still fudgey). Yum!
Chocolate Quinoa Cake
2/3 cup white/golden quinoa
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup almond milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup grapeseed oil (or sunflower oil)- recipe originally called for melted and cooled butter as another option
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2. Preheat oven to 350. Makes two 8 inch round/square cakes or about a dozen cupcakes. Lightly grease pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
3. Combine milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender/food processor, blend lightly for 10 seconds. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and oil and blend until smooth (the mixture gets thick, so blend well- I find a combination of blending and stirring works well, or a hand blender). It will be a smooth and thick consistency at the end.
4. Wisk together the cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add the blender contents and mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth and free of lumps (it’s thick so quite the arm workout). Divide batter amongst pans/cupcakes evenly.
5. Bake on the centre rack for 35-40 minutes for the cakes, 20-25 minutes for the cupcakes (until knife comes out clean from centre).
For the glaze:
3/4 cup almond milk
8 oz 70% dark chocolate
pinch of salt (optional)
Bring almond milk to a boil, remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until most is melted. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir or wisk until smooth. Let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.