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Quinoa Chocolate Cake

You can probably think of lots of words to describe chocolate cake, but I’m guessing ‘healthy’ isn’t one of them.  Prepare to be amazed by this healthier version of everybody’s favorite treat, with a surprise ingredient that makes all the difference!

Quinoa Chocolate Cake, a healthier version of everybody's favorite!

Hey guys — it’s Sue from The View from Great Island, and today I’m craving decadent chocolate cake.   But this is Super Healthy Kids, so I know I have to step up my game and offer a more nutritious version of the classic dessert.  This Quinoa Chocolate Cake challenges a lot of what we think we know about cake.   There’s no flour whatsoever in this one, for instance, but it does have an unusual ingredient…quinoa!  By now I’m sure you’ve had quinoa in a salad or a side dish, but I’m guessing you’ve never considered it as a dessert ingredient.  Here it takes the place of flour and gives this cake a moist, fluffy texture.  Who knew?

Quinoa Chocolate Cake, a healthier version of everybody's favorite!

Quinoa is referred to as an ‘ancient grain’, but it’s really a seed that originated in South America, and has been enjoyed and depended upon as a healthy food by humans for thousands of years.  Like all seeds, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins and protein.  For this recipe you’ll need 2 cups of cooked quinoa.  (You can use the leftovers from dinner!)  Quinoa needs to be rinsed thoroughly before cooking, but after that it cooks up just like rice.  It has a light nutty flavor that is lovely in savory dishes but takes a backseat in this chocolaty recipe.  The plumped up grains give it a wonderful light texture that you normally can’t get in a flourless cake.  It keeps it super moist, as well. Combine quinoa, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla in a food processor. It’s that easy!

Flourless Quinoa Chocolate Cake. A healthy version of everyone's favorite dessert!

I frosted this cake with a whipped cream frosting, but you can use any frosting recipe you like.  You can even whip coconut cream just like you would dairy cream, to make a vegan version.

Quinoa Chocolate Cake, a healthier version of everybody's favorite!

This cake was a hit with all my taste testers, everybody gobbled it up and they had no idea there was anything unusual in the ingredient list until I told them.   I recommend giving this one a try, even if you’re skeptical.  I’ve made it several times and it always turns out wonderfully.

A delicious and healthier version of chocolate cake, made with quinoa!

You can lighten this dessert even further by leaving off the frosting altogether and just giving the cake a dusting of powdered sugar, or topping it with seasonal fruit like fresh berries.  Either way this recipe is a keeper! I predict you’ll be amazing friends, family, and guests for many years to come with this one!

Fluffy Chocolate Cake made healthier with a secret ingredient!


You’ll find Sue over at The View from Great Island, where she’s busy cooking up all kinds of fun in her kitchen.  Follow along with her on Facebook, too!

FOOD - Quinoa Chocolate Cake, a healthier version of everybody's favorite!

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cup – Quinoa, cooked
  • 1/3 cup – almond milk, unsweetened
  • 4 large – egg
  • 1/2 cup – butter, unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 1 cup – sugar
  • 1/2 cup – cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoon – cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon – baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon – baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon – salt
  • 1 cup – heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoon – powdered sugar
      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray and line a 9-inch nonstick cake pan with a round of parchment paper at the bottom.
      2. Melt butter.
      3. Put the quinoa, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Pulse to combine and then process until smooth, this will only take about 30 seconds or so.
      4. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup of the cocoa powder, baking powder, soda, and salt to the bowl and pulse to combine well.
      5. Turn into the prepared pan and bake for about 40-42 minutes until a toothpick comes out without wet batter sticking to it.  Remember that if your pan has different dimensions, your cooking time will vary.
      6. Let the cake cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before turning out of the pan.  Be careful when you flip the cake over as it will be delicate.  I like to place a plate over the pan and then gently flip both over together.
      7. When the cake is completely cool, frost.
      8. To make the frosting whip the cream until it is starting to thicken, then add the sifted confectioner's (powdered) sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp of the cocoa powder.  Continue beating until thick and spreadable.  Don't over beat!
Recipe adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen

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We love quinoa and it’s such a great grain (we are also gluten-free so it’s perfect for us). Would never think of putting it in a cake but it’s such a brilliant idea! This looks so decadent too.


You could do it, Jen, I’ve done another one of my favorite flourless cakes as cupcakes, but they do stick to the papers a bit, and they have a moister, more delicate texture than regular cupcakes, so as long as you’re aware of that, you can definitely cook this cake that way.


Is there any way I cam substitute the sugar with another sweetener- or perhaps use less? 1 cup is a lot…


You can definitely experiment with using less sugar, or use another type of sweetener. I think coconut sugar would be a possibility.


Would it be possible to substitute the butter in the cake for a vegan butter like earth balance? A friend of mine had to give up dairy and gluten and this would be perfect for her, but for the butter.


Can I use a vitamix to blend the quinoa, milk, eggs, etc in the first step or would it blend it too much? I do not have a food processor.


Amazing recipe, a family we know adores it. May I request you amend the statement about changing the whipped topping with coconut whip topping to make it a vegan desert. Vegans don’t eat egg. I have 2 celiac children with dairy allergies, one who can not have egg. I can’t make this a vegan recipe, I’ve tried several egg subs to no avail. I’d be really excited if someone has had success and is willing to share 😀

Erica e

Have you tried other variations aside chocolate flavor? Idk peanut butter flavor perhaps???

Christy Eaton

Just had this at a kids party it tasted amazing! Tasted like a great chocolate cake! You wouldn’t even know it did not have flour!

Pauline H

I just made this for my little girls birthday cake. Just wondering if it would be freezable at all? So i could use leftovers for lunch box snacks. Thanks


I don’t think so, Allessandra, that won’t result in the same wonderful texture that you get from the grain itself, and adding extra flour would cause the balance of ingredients to be off, too. Sorry!


If I want to make it vanilla flavor, what substitutes the 1/2 cup of chocolate?


Do you think this could be prepared a day in advance and still be great the next day?


This looks amazing! Can you think of a way it would work without eggs? All delicious desserts seem to use eggs and they make me ill x


I tried the recipe replacing sugar with honey. I found the cake bitter. But it was very moist! I see the potential. I’m going to try again with adding bananas to help balance the bitterness.

Brian Pontious

I made this as directed except I used butter milk instead of the almond milk simply bc i had it on hand after making some buttermilk pancakes. This turned out to be one of the moistest cakes that I ever had. When my wife tried it I didn’t tell her what exactly it was except that it was a chocolate cake. One bite and she said the same thing. When I showed her the recipe she just about fell off her chair. Unlike myself and my daughter she is not a big fan of quinoa. But in this form she has no problem eating it.

Tina Rowan

Has anyone tried doubling this recipe and layering the cake? Is it too moist to layer without falling apart?


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