Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

This cake has taken over my mind and soul since I spied it on Sally’s blog. Sally promised me it would be lifechanging. That it is super moist and absolutely rich and decadent. The thing that intrigued me the very most about it, though, is that it is made with quinoa. No flour! Just quinoa and a bunch of other basic cake ingredients. Quinoa? In a cake? No flour? Huh?

Nothing against gluten-free cake recipes but usually they call for special flour mixes that I never have on hand and can’t access in my small town; I’ve never seen one with cooked quinoa as a base. but since this cake was calling to me and I always have quinoa in my pantry, I decided to do an experiment. I made this lovely cake one Saturday afternoon when Brian was entertaining the kids. None of them knew I was frolicking in the kitchen blending up quinoa and eggs for a cake of all things. Brian and the boys kept sneaking glances at the finished masterpiece (because, while rustic since I didn’t frost the sides, it was quite the impressive piece of chocolate decadence) begging for a taste. Shockingly it stayed safe for an entire night, and Sunday afternoon, I pulled out the beauty, divvied up the slices and we all dug in.

Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

After a few bites (of which I was completely overwhelmed with utter chocolate cake bliss), I said to the crew, “So I’ll give you a second piece if you can guess the secret ingredient.” We play this game a lot so I wasn’t surprised to hear guesses like “coconut oil” and “spinach” and “black beans.” With a smug smile (mostly smug because I was going to get to claim the second piece as my own) I told them the cake was made with quinoa, and seriously, Brian almost fell of his chair. I should have had a video camera going. I could have won a lot of money on AFV for his reaction. I mean, the guy likes quinoa ok but not necessarily in a chocolate cake or so he thought.

You know how things taste “normal” until you find out there’s something unusual that you weren’t expecting in them and then you swear you can taste “it” whatever “it” is? I thought for sure that would be the case but I cross my heart and swear to die, we could not taste the quinoa. Not me who knew it was in there initially and not Brian and the kids who were licking their plates. It’s like a magical substitute for flour in baked goods. (And I apologize if I’m announcing to you something that has been, like, common knowledge for years; clearly I’m late to the quinoa-in-cakes party.)

This is definitely one of the most decadent, rich, moist cakes I’ve ever tasted. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the cake is slathered in fluffy billows of whipped chocolate cream. But in all honesty, I would have eaten this cake top to bottom if it was drenched in mud, it is that good. Ok, I take that back. Not mud. But I’d eat it plain for sure. A dusting of powdered sugar? No doubt.

Even if you haven’t converted over to quinoa for savory dishes and salads, I promise you that this cake will win you over. If it doesn’t, feel free to ship the leftovers to me. I’ll polish them off for you. But hang on to that frosting because holy moly, you’ll be eating it by the spoonful.

Decadent Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

One Year Ago: Skillet Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos
Two Years Ago: Grilled Steak Burgers
Three Years Ago: Savory Spiral Stuffed Rolls

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

Yield: Serves 12

Decadent Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

You'll need about 1/2 cup (maybe a bit more) dry quinoa for 2 cups cooked. Make sure to measure the quinoa for the cake recipe after it is cooked and cooled. Also, make sure to cook the quinoa in water not broth.

Ingredients

    Cake:
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (see note above)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Frosting:
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Process just until combined. Add the cooked quinoa and the butter. Blend well until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the contents from the blender and mix with a wooden spoon or whisk until combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake on a rack in the middle position for 28-30 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto cooling racks (remove the parchment paper stuck to the bottom of the cakes).
  5. For the frosting, place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the whipping cream in a saucepan until it gently simmers. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let the mixture sit for five minutes. Whisk to combine until it is glossy and smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled and cold (2-3 hours). You can speed up this process by placing the bottom of the bowl in an ice water bath and stirring until cool. When fully chilled, use an electric mixer (stand mixer or handheld) to whip the mixture to soft peaks.
  6. Place one cake layer upside down on a serving platter or plate. Top with a generous portion (about half) of the whipped frosting, spreading to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the cake (it will press to the edge when the top cake layer is put on).
  7. Gently put the other cake layer upside down on top of the frosted layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake. You could definitely frost the sides, too, but I like the more rustic look for this cake - frosting just the middle and top.
  8. Chill the frosted cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving to let the frosting set up a bit.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/decadent-chocolate-cake/
Recipe Source: cake from Good Dinner Mom (love Sally!) and frosting adapted from Sips and Spoonfuls

198 Responses to Decadent Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting {Gluten-Free!}

  1. This cake looks truly perfect! Lovely!

  2. This is EXACTLY what I needed. My boyfriend is now gluten free (for now…elimination diet) and with my birthday being tomorrow, this is something we can both enjoy! AND I just bought quinoa after being out for months. Mind reader! Thank you!!

  3. I definitely need to try this!! I’m not gluten free, but I have friends who are — it’s always great to have a great gluten free dessert recipe on hand!!

  4. Thanks for a great GF recipe! I have a few friends that are GF, and they rely on me for desserts! This is genius–quinoa?! :)

  5. Rebekah says:

    Get. OUT! I have never heard of using quinoa in cake either…..not that I’m a big gluten-free person or anything. But I’m definitely gonna have to try it….I have several friends who are gluten free and I bet they’d devour this cake!! Amazing!

  6. Nancy says:

    I’m very eager to try this yummy looking cake, but have one question. How did you measure the cooked quinoa – packed in or lightly spooned? Thanks.

  7. Terri says:

    Bless you, Bless you, BLESS YOU Mel!!! We are a GF family now, and with birthdays starting to come up I’ve gotten a little desperate!
    Actually checked out the prices for a GF cake at a bakery in town….GULP!!! I’d have to sell the birthday boy to pay for the cake! So this will be perfect! Will make it this weekend for Sunday dinner! I see “Mom of the Year” award headed my way!! ;D

  8. Jeannette says:

    this looks so amazing!! how did you know that i have an entire bag of quinoa in my pantry that i had no idea what to do with? ;)

  9. Paula D says:

    Does it matter what kind of Quinoa you use? I have mixed white, red and black because that’s what we like but I don’t know if it will make a difference in a cake???

    • Mel says:

      Hi Paula – I trust Sally’s advice on this one (her comment is above).

      Nancy – I lightly spooned in the quinoa and then pressed it down slightly with a spoon – so somewhere between lightly spooned in and packed, if that makes sense.

  10. Stacey says:

    The timing was off by a hair! I made a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for my son’s birthday YESTERDAY. I’m not loving the chocolate frosting (from OBB) — it has a strong cocoa flavor to it. Next time it will definitely be this chocolate whipped frosting!

  11. Mel! Thank you for posting our favorite, favorite cake! I’m glad I was able to convince you to try it as I knew you’d love it! Since I’ve made this dozens of times (everyone requests it now for parties or just dessert), I can help Paula D out with her question. I usually used white or golden quinoa but have used the rainbow quinoa also a number of times. Both work fine. :D <3

  12. A cake with quinoa?! If I didn’t see these pictures, I’d never believe it could turn out so tasty looking!! I can’t wait to try this!

  13. Nicole Hunn says:

    Get outta here. Before you started talking about this cake, Mel, I had never, ever heard of this before. The thing is, you can bake with quinoa flour but personally I do not care for it (and I’m not alone in that feeling). I’m absolutely shocked that this cake is a fave of yours, and I’ll simply have to try it. Crazy quinoa cake!

  14. Nancy says:

    Thanks Mel, that does make sense about measuring the quinoa. I will be trying this very soon!

  15. Kim in MD says:

    Quinoa? Seriously? Who knew? I want to dive into a giant slice of this cake right now! I Iam going to make this cake this weekend. Hanks for sharing, Mel!

  16. This looks amazing and I was more shocked to read the ingredients, easy ones too!! I will have to bake this soon. :)

  17. Lynn Chen says:

    Mouth open. Jaw dropped. Quinoa freaking cake!!!!

  18. Brenda Packard says:

    I will have to try this one! Thanks for the GF recipe. If you need recipes for flour blends, I have some simple ones.

  19. Jen M says:

    Holy cow! This looks awesome and we don’t even eat gluten free! I never would have thought to use quinoa this way!

  20. Becky says:

    Soooooo, this is healthy with the quinoa and all right?

    Right!

    :)

  21. Michelle says:

    Mel,
    Quinoa. Who knew, right? ;-)
    …I can’t wait to try this!

  22. Wow Quinoa?! That is interesting for sure. Must try this!

  23. Well, it may be old news but it’s new to me – now I have to try this! Quinoa cake – who woulda thought! Gorgeous photos!

  24. Tahnycooks says:

    Seriously, I cannot wait to try this on my gluten free friends! I’m so excited about this recipe!!! Thanks, Mel!

  25. Nala says:

    You’re kidding me right??? A Quinoa Cake! Who would have thought – it looks simply divine! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  26. I’ve been baking gluten-free for about 3 years now, and NEVER have I heard of using cooked quinoa in place of flour!!! I would have been floored if you’d served it to me too! I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing this recipe and all of your great recipes.

  27. Laurel says:

    This cake is delicious! It’s so fudgey and moist! I over blended my wet mix. It turned into this funky oatmeal looking like mix. But I pressed on and wasn’t disappointed. Yum!!

  28. Deb says:

    Well, call me crazy, but I made this today. As in, the day you posted it :) My best friend has recently gone gluten free and I am determined to make her things that prove she can still eat great food and be gluten free. We just finished eating it…like the whole cake…split nine ways with the hubs and kids! Happy to report everyone loved it! The cake came together really easy. The only thing I’ll do different next time is to blend the wet ingredients in the food processor instead of the blender. I used the blender this time and there were noticeable pieces of quinoa that didn’t blend smooth and they got kinda hard when they cooked. But, nonetheless, the flavor was fantastic, no one could believe it was quinoa!

  29. Jessica says:

    Thank you, this looks so delicious. Your blog as always been my favorite but my husband was recently diagnosed with celiac. I was so bummed I wouldn’t be able to have a lot of the yummy recipes on your site anymore. This looks fantastic.

  30. Susan says:

    We love chocolate mouse for frosting at our house, this cake looks delicious. Definitely will be trying it soon.

  31. Carol says:

    WOW! I saw the picture and thought that it looked delicious, but since my husband has celiac disease I sort of skip over most of your baked goods. Then I saw the gluten free part!! and now I am going to make this! I am so excited… I have been cooking gluten free for a year and a half (and I am far from an expert) but I had never heard of quinoa cake before. Thanks for the fun recipe!

  32. Stephanie says:

    Think this would work in a 13×9 pan? I normally wouldn’t ask for traditional cake ingredients, but I’m not sure if the quinoa makes it extra sticky or something.

    • Mel says:

      Stephanie – you’ll have to experiment and see; just keep an eye on the batter and how full the 9X13 is so it doesn’t overflow. The cake batter itself won’t make a difference because of the quinoa – it will boil down to the amount of batter in the pan.

  33. Kay says:

    Just took the cakes out of the oven. My house smells amazing! My baking time was a little longer (40 minutes). Everything went together so easy. Can’t wait to frost the cake and try a slice.

  34. I say big YES to quinoa in a cake. I’ve never tried it, but I like qinoa very much and I always have at least 2 packages in my kitchen :)

  35. Anne says:

    Hi Mel,

    Such an awesome idea, do you think I could 1/2 the ingredients for an 8′ square pan?
    I’m making it this weekend for sure. :)

    • Mel says:

      Anne – I’m not sure since I haven’t tried it but good luck experimenting. Sounds like it should probably work ok (or it may fit better in a 9-inch pan).

  36. Anne says:

    Thank you for the quick reply..will definitely report back after making it:) so excited about the quinoa in it!

  37. Meg says:

    I made this yesterday for my husband’s birthday. There are no words to describe how good this was! Insanely delicious! My husband likes texture, so we added melted chocolate chips on top of one of the layers, which, when refrigerated, gave it a crunchy chocolate layer in the middle. Adding that to the super delicoius, moist cake and the pillowy frosting, it was literally perfect. Awesome! Thank you!!

  38. grace says:

    well, i’m shocked but not appalled–quinoa! this looks amazing, especially since the frosting is practically as thick as the cake. :)

  39. kim kindrew says:

    I made this and it was wonderful! Out of the group of 8 family members who had a slice, the only one who didn’t care for it was the 3 year old who was expecting something much sweeter I suppose. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I will be making this again!

  40. Leslie says:

    Oh my! Made this cake last night with friends who have serious Celiac issues — and this cake was awesome. It was moist and chocolatey and absolutely divine. My friend who can’t eat gluten was speechless. He’s so used to eating dry or tasteless cakes — and pretending to be satisfied — I honestly thought we were going to have to fight him for the chance to taste it ourselves. I promised to make him another came next weekend so he finally shared. LOL Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It’s wonderful to bake something delicious for friends who have such serious eating issues — you are the best.

  41. Leslie says:

    oops — typo! I’ll make him another CAKE. :)

  42. Melanie says:

    Oh Mel, my gluten free boys are going to LOVE this and you for sharing this recipe with me:) I am making this tomorrow for our Sunday dessert! I have all the ingredients for the cake on hand–I don’t have whipping cream though, darn it! So this time, i will make our favorite chocolate frosting–that looks like the one pictured–(yummy) and next time try the suggested frosting:) Thank you!!!!

  43. Theresa says:

    How much water do I use to cook 1/2 cup quinoa? My daughter made this cake the other day, it turned out Amazing!!! She gave me some quinoa in a zip lock to take home so I can make it for my oldest son’s birthday, but I don’t have directions on how to cook it, and for how long. I want to make it later, but I want to cook the quinoa now so it will be cooled.

  44. Emily says:

    Theresa– 2 cups water to 1 cup quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Let simmer approximately 15 min. I find quinoa pretty forgiving….good luck!

  45. Heidi says:

    Made this today and it was amazing! I posted it here on my Gluten Free blog. Thanks for sharing.
    http://glutenfreegood.blogspot.com/2013/08/chocolate-quinoa-cake.html

  46. Theresa says:

    Uh Oh!! I’m now making the frosting, just took it out of the ice water bath, started mixing it and it looks curdled!!! What now???

  47. Theresa says:

    I need to frost my cake ASAP, everyone is waiting, but my frosting flopped!! Is there one just as good and fluffy, without the wait?

  48. Theresa says:

    I did keep mixing it in my Kitchen Aid mixer, but it separated, I saved it in a separate bowl, sent my husband out for more heavy whipping cream, and just whipped that up and added cocoa,sugar and vanilla. Definitely not the ganache taste I wanted. Is there anything I can do with the first one I saved? Even though it separated.

  49. Heather says:

    Made it for dinner actually had to make one and a half, so I decide to try some in blender some in food processor. I think the food processor was slightly smoother but it did separate or go oat mealy and was weird but didnt effect the overall cake texture. And my favorite part was to stick it to the quinoa skeptics in the fam, everyone loved it.

  50. Lisa says:

    Yummy flavor! If I made this again I would put the quinoa and maybe just some of the liquid ingredients first in the food processor. I think it would blend the quinoa a little better that way. I had some pieces of quinoa that didn’t fully blend in and I could notice it in the texture of the cake in some bites. Love that this cake is high protein with the quinoa and eggs, I could even call it healthy!:0)

  51. emma says:

    This cake was absolutley devine! Taste so moist. My grandkids loved it! Thanks for the recipe….fyi we didn’t have the ingredients for the frosting on hand so we ate it plain but it was delicious that way :-)

  52. Ali says:

    how long would you bake for standard cupcakes?

  53. Terri says:

    Made this yesterday and it is AWESOME!! The frosting is so light and fluffy, wow!! A rich, chocolate flavor….just amazing! I think I’ll add just the slightest bit of coffee next time…just to experiment, since I like doing that, lol! Coffee seems to improve the flavor of chocolate, making if even more chocolatey…and who can argue with that?? ;)

  54. kelli says:

    I am having people for dinner with gluten and dairy allergies. I was thinking of using coconut oil in place of melted butter, and whipped coconut cream for the frosting. I hope it works :)

  55. Kathy says:

    Kelli, please let me know if your variations to make it dairy-free work by using the coconut oil and coconut cream. I would love to try this. Thanks!

  56. Stacie A. says:

    Made this the other day and was really excited about it. The flavor was great and I loved the frosting, but the cake had a crunch (ish) to it. I blended the quinoa mixture for over a minute, but it still had noticeable pieces in it. Maybe next time I should mix it longer??

  57. Stacie A. says:

    My first batch of frosting curdled as well, but the second one worked. I didn’t stir the first batch (in an ice bath) at all… so I think that’s where I goofed!

  58. Marilyn Kirk says:

    I live in Mallorca, and it’s August and hot, hot, hot…..but I thought this cake looked so delicious I’d make it for our tuesday fellowship group. 1st day cooked and cooled quinoa. 2nd day cooked and cooled the cake…..and was getting really worried that it wasn’t going to work. 3rd day was spent stirring cooling cream over ice cubes with fan next to me to keep everything cool. Then back to work. Home again to whisk the chocolate cream…and beginning to wish I’d never started. Left cake in fridge whilst went back to work in afternoon. Home, grabbed cake & went to meeting…..and everyone, inc me, said it was amazing ! BUT. Will def do in winter next time as chocolate cream separated in heat, but still tasted great, and I won’t be working !

  59. Ruby says:

    Can I substitute flour for the quinoa? What is the measurement that I would need to use if substituting? Thank you for all your great recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ruby – you’d probably be better off just making a chocolate cake written with flour instead of quinoa – I don’t know how to adapt this to use flour. Sorry!

  60. Nickie S. says:

    I just made this cake using coconut milk, coconut oil, and (mostly) honey. I didn’t have an equal amount of honey so I used what I had and added about a palm full of sugar. It turned out wonderfully!

  61. This looks absolutely incredible!! Your pictures are mouthwatering!

  62. Stephanie says:

    I have another question- sorry! Is it normal for the quinoa to be noticeably present in the batter? I used a food processor and no matter how long I blended it, it still had little grains of quinoa. It’s in the oven now- so I guess I’ll see. Just wondered what the batter was supposed to look like- mine looked a little like thick chocolate tapioca.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Stephanie – my batter definitely wasn’t completely smooth; I could see little nubbins of quinoa but the quinoa was definitely coarsely blended (not whole). A blender may get it slightly more smooth (which is what I used).

  63. Sweet! I have two family members who have Celiacs disease. The bean flour cakes at birthday time are okay, but quinoa? This is a miracle food. What would a Celiac do without it?

  64. Kelli says:

    I’ve made this twice this week trying to get texture perfect. I’m also replacing milk with coffee and butter with coconut oil because I have guests with dairy allergies. First time was fudgy, very coconut and kind of off texture wise. Second time I halved the recipe and whipped it like crazy. Texture was better but I missed something trying to halve all the ingredients exactly and the chocolate flavor wasn’t as good. I got lazy and didn’t whip coconut cream for the frosting so my family just used cool whip. Maybe one more try today to get it perfect. I think I will try half applesauce and half coconut oil to replace butter because all coconut was really strong. Thanks for this recipe to jump off of so I can accommodate my gluten/dairy free guests. I was at a complete loss before I saw your recipe!!

  65. Sarah says:

    I made this for my Bunco group last week and it was fabulous! Everybody loved it. I used a blender for the batter and it worked perfectly. I skipped the water bath for the chocolate chips and whipping cream and just put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When you take it out of the refrigerator it is still a thin liquid so I was a little skeptical but it whipped up perfectly with a hand mixer. No one in my family needs a gluten-free diet but this is my new favorite chocolate cake!

  66. Lindsay N says:

    Mel, do you just press the parchment paper in best you can? Not sure how that’s supposed to work! I’ve never lined my cake pans. Thanks!

  67. Lindsay N says:

    Sorry, scratch that comment!!! ^^^^^! I read the directions more carefully :) thanks!

  68. Kasumi says:

    Does anyone know if I can turn these into cupcakes and have them not stick to the liners?

  69. wendy says:

    THIS CAKE IS AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS!! Seriously, I was hesitant, but it is delicious! Thank you!!!

  70. Heidi says:

    Made this for my son’s Birthday party and it was a hit! We are not gluten free, but you made it sound so good I made it for fun. My one gluten- free guest was very appreciative and the rest of us loved it, too. I frosted the sides and topped it with whole strawberries and decorative chocolate garnishes. It was beautiful, too! Thanks, Mel!

  71. Alicia says:

    We made this for last night’s dinner. We had a guest coming who is gluten intolerant, and ever since you posted this I knew I was dying to try it. It was fantastic!! Really, really good. We also frosted the sides and coated them with chocolate shavings. Not only was the cake beautiful, but I would make it again in a heartbeat. Thanks for another winning recipe!

  72. Clare says:

    Mel, this was the only recipe of yours I’ve made that I thought was a fail. (My husband raves about your Asian lettuce wraps and my babysitter requests your crispy oatmeal cookies.) The quinoa was gritty (and we do eat GF and with quinoa a lot). And I processed the cooked quinoa for a loooong time. I thought the cake was overly moist and too grainy. The frosting was way too runny as well.

    My kids said, “It tastes good to my mouth but doesn’t feel good to my mouth.”

    I live in Minneapolis, so you and I have similar weather and similar access to ingredients. I just can’t figure out where I went wrong.

  73. Janette says:

    My friend introduced me to your blog via this cake recipe. A-mazing! We don’t have to eat GF in our house but anything with this many raving revues is worth a try. Everything came together as you described. I’m very surprised because many new recipes with ingredients I’ve never used together, fail for me. My only question is about the frosting. It ended up with a slightly grainy texture. Do you think maybe the cream wasn’t hot enough to fully melt the chips? It whipped up great and frosted well, and tastes amazing, so I just used it. I love everyone’s comments and I have shared this with everyone I know on FB. Something this delicious must be shared! :)

  74. N says:

    I agree with some of the comments here that indicated that their cake did not turn out well, like Clare and Stephanie’s comments in particular (too wet, quinoa pieces not fully blended, etc.). Mine had a weird, chewy texture, was too wet to hold together once baked and, like Stephanie, mine looked like tapioca with visible pieces of quinoa, as I too used a food processor as directed in the recipe. The recipe said a food processor or blender would work and did not indicate that the quinoa should be fully broken down and not visible in the mix. Mel’s response to Stephanie is that it worked fine in the blender. However, if a recipe says it can be blended in a blender OR food processor, it should have been tried in both appliances. It was very disappointing that my attempt at this recipe (with all organic ingredients and farm fresh eggs) went right in the composting bin because the methods detailed for blending the cake were not fully tested and using the food processor to blend it resulted in a very expensive failure.

    • Mel says:

      N – I am very sorry this cake did not work out for you. I’ve been in the same boat as you before; counting on a recipe to work out and it doesn’t and I know how frustrating it can be. Just as a point of clarification though, I take testing and posting recipes very seriously and even though this cake did not fare well for you using a food processor, that option wasn’t added to the directions willy nilly. Although my comment back to Stephanie may seem vague, I actually have made this cake batter using a food processor and while my Blendtec does get the batter more smooth I loved the result of the cake made with the food processor just as much. There is always a risk in trying a new recipe and while I wish that every recipe anyone tried from here was a raging success, I can’t control every single variable and I feel badly when someone has a less than pleasant recipe experience. Perhaps the brand or strength of a food processor matters but I did want to clarify that I do test my recipes multiple times and never include a variation unless I’ve tried it myself or have with a similar recipe.

  75. Kathy says:

    I was reluctant to give my review because I changed the recipe so much to make it dairy and sugar free, so I didn’t feel it was fair to review with all those changes. However, I would definitely make it again. Based on other reviews about the graininess of the quinoa, I cooked the quinoa a little bit longer and then processed it much longer in the food processor, and the texture was just fine. I substituted pure stevia extract powder for the sugar and to make up for the lack of moisture by the elimination of the sugar, I added unsweetened applesauce. Instead of the milk and heavy cream I used canned organic Thai coconut milk. The texture of the cake was brownie-like and very good and the frosting was delicious. The only change I would make next time is to add chocolate chips to the cake batter. I would love to make it according to the original recipe, but since I’m a sugar-holic, that would have done me in. Oh yeah, I also used coconut oil instead of the butter to make it completely dairy free. So if with all those changes, it was still very good, I can only imagine how good the original version is.

  76. Laura says:

    Hey Mel, I’ve tried two times now and followed the instructions to a T but can’t get my frosting to form. It just stays liquid then eventually turns into a weird separated mess… Any suggestions??

    • Mel says:

      Hi Laura -darn! I’m sorry the cream isn’t working out for you. What kind of heavy cream are you using (is it heavy cream or just whipping cream)? Heavy cream tends to whip a bit easier. Is it fully cooled (it should be very cold) when you are whipping it? Other commenters said they used the ice bath method to cool it down and that it separated on them if they didn’t stir it while cooling so that maybe something to consider, too.

  77. Tamaira says:

    Made this cake last week and IT WAS FANTASTIC!! I am glad I didn’t read the comments before because I might have been worried about precision and talked myself out of making it lol! I didn’t carefully measure the quinoa (or anything for that matter), over cooked the quinoa because I was talking with my family and although I did leave the chocolate chip/whipping cream mixture in the fridge way longer than a few hours I certainly didn’t prep it carefully either and I had no issue with it not whipping up! We don’t require gluten free but your photo was so enticing I had to try it out! Thanks!

  78. Annie says:

    I made this cake last night and it was absolutely amazing! Really good, simple, gluten free desserts are hard to find but this was fantastic! My whole family loved it. I was out of chocolate chips so we just had cake slices with a scoop of homemade whipped cream on top and it was so good. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  79. Chari S. says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I find when I make quinoa it some how invades my kitchen and gets EVERYWHERE! Despite my house keeping dilemma, this was a bit hit and turned out fantastic. I used a hand blender and it seemed to do the job just fine. Nicely blended. I didn’t attempt the chocolate frosting because I ran out of time. I just whipped up some lightly sweetened whipped cream and sprinkled some mini chocolate chips on top. The gluten-free eater at the dinner table said it was the best cake they had ever had, and there were good reviews from everyone else. This will be gracing our home again for sure.

  80. Kelly says:

    The cake tastes amazing but it falls in the center. Any ideas on what I am doing wrong? During cooking it looked amazing but when it was time to come out it had fallen.

    • Mel says:

      Kelly – I haven’t had that problem so I don’t know exactly why that would be happening – any chance you need to bake it a few minutes longer?

  81. Cindi says:

    I made this cake for dessert tonight. I have two daughters-in-law that have to eat gluten free. The cake was delicious and enjoyed by everyone….celiac or not! It was so much more delicious than any other recipe I have tried using all kinds of GF flours or any GF cake mix. Everyone was amazed that it was made using quinoa! My frosting whipped up perfectly. It tasted much like a chocolate mousse. I used my kitchen aid stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment to whip the frosting. The person who couldn’t get her frosting to thicken up must have not used heavy whipping cream. I also used a Vita-Mix blender to blend the quinoa & it was smooth and thickened. This will be my go to recipe for chocolate gluten free cake from now on. Thank you!

  82. Carmen says:

    I made this cake yesterday and had the exact same issues with crunchy/chewy quinoa as the end result. I make quinoa often and am very familiar with it, the thing is that it toasts when baked. The idea of blending in the food processor is a good one. There is no way a regular blender would do anything to incorporate the quinoa to the correct consistency. I had no issues with the whipped cream – more like mousse if you ask me – totally sinful! I will try this one more time with the food processor method but can’t call it healthy with all of the eggs and heavy whipping cream. Decadent – yes / healthy – not so much.

  83. Dina says:

    it looks delish!

  84. Kathy says:

    Sadly, I ended up making two cakes today; there was no way I would have served this cake! The finished cake had hard, crunchy pieces of quinoa, definitely not a texture associated with cake. I consider myself a very good baker, and follow directions meticulously. So, when the directions say “blend well til smooth”, I did exactly that. If, however, the liquid mixture needed to be blended until you only “see little nubbins of quinoa” and “definitely not whole”, that is a completely different directive. The frosting was a fail as well.

    I hope your readers look at the comments before they start baking this; I agree with another commenter above that ingredients are expensive, and time to bake is a rare commodity for me anymore, so my money and time were totally wasted today. Please consider either deleting this recipe, or adjusting your directions.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kathy – I am really, really sorry that this cake and frosting didn’t work out for you. I understand that can be very frustrating. And I agree with you that I hope anyone who wants to try this recipe will read the comments. However, I don’t plan on deleting the recipe because many people, including myself, have had great success with this cake and frosting. Just because a few people haven’t enjoyed it doesn’t mean it should be deleted. Thank you for your review; it will definitely help as other people decide whether this is worth making or not.

  85. Terri says:

    So far, I’ve made this cake three times now….and I’ve had no problems whatsoever! My family loves it! And the frosting…oh that wonderful, light, fluffy frosting! I swear you could put it in a dish and serve it as a dessert all on it’s own!
    I did use the iced water bath….when working with heavy whipping cream everything should be very cold, I even put my beaters and bowl in the freezer for several minutes, just so they are extra cold!
    For those who have had problems with the quinoa….just make sure you cook it long enough…the very first cake I made I could see some quinoa in the cake when we ate it…not much, and it didn’t affect the flavor at all…for the next two cakes I made sure I cooked it a little longer.
    Thanks Mel…this is a winner! :)

  86. Stacy L says:

    Quinoa? Cake? Can’t wait to try it!

  87. Iruaku says:

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this cake!! It turned out fantastic. It was my boyfriend’s birthday and he wanted chocolate cake. He is a chef, so I wanted to make something different, and when I came across this recipe and all the reviews, I just had to make it. I didn’t do anything outside this recipe except add 1 tsp espresso powder. After my boyfriend had the first couple bites, he said he loved it, then I told him it had cooked quinoa instead of flour…he was shocked and didn’t believe me. Anyway, all this to say, I can’t wait to make again, it will now be my go to chocolate cake! Thanks for the recipe.

  88. Mandy R says:

    Thanks soooo much for an awesome cake! I am celiac and intolerant to most grains. It is very hard to find recipes that are flavorful and as close to “normal” cakes as possible, but this one “Takes the Cake”! :) I did do a few changes that I wanted to share in case others would like to try. :) First off, I made them into cupcakes and got 20 of them. I also browned my butter instead of just melting it and added 1/4 C dark chocolate after I removed it from the stove. I also used palm (coconut) sugar and decreased it to 1 1/4 C since I used the chocolate, I used Kefir in place of milk. For frosting, since my family LOVES peanut butter, I made your Peanut Butter Butter cream Frosting from your Chocolate Peanut Butter Fun Cake! (I also used palm sugar and natural PB) They turned out FABULOUS and I took them to my niece’s baby shower…..no one knew they were gluten free and many asked for the recipe! Thanks again for my new go-to chocolate cake recipe!

  89. Old Man Dave says:

    Read the comments. Made the cake. Processed the quinoa mixture for more than 5 minutes until very smooth. Made it in a 9×13 glass pan @325 convection oven temp. Took about 47 minutes. Seems that if the toothpick indicates a minute, it took 2 minutes, 2 minutes took 4 compared to a flour based cake. Finished cake was less than an inch high so will make two 9×13 cakes next time and stack them. Turned out moist, non-grainy or gritty, slightly sweeter than I like. Not quite as good as Mel’s Utimate Chocolate Cake recipe, but thats still saying its pretty good. My celiac friends loved it and were quite surprised it was made with cooked quinoa.

  90. Cathy says:

    I just made this for the first time tonight and was wondering if I did something wrong?? It did not seem to rise very much and each layer was only about an inch thick!! Is this normal? I tasted a little and it tastes amazing!

  91. just made this. omg! my new go-to gluten-free cake. everyone loves it! thank you.

  92. Jumana says:

    Hi.. I would like to know what kind or color of quinoa dd u use?? Thnx.

  93. Stefanie says:

    Made this cake today — the cake looks great, but my frosting separated, too :( I chilled it for nearly 4 hours, chilled the mixing bowl, too — so sad! I’m going to try one more time. It tastes great, but is not whipped. It’s for my son’s bday tomorrow and he has a little friend coming that is g-free, so this looked perfect. I suppose if the frosting flops a second time, I’ll at least have time to come up with an alternative. Thanks for all of your great recipes!

  94. Stefanie says:

    Okay, I think I’ve figured out what went wrong with the frosting — I went back to your inspiration’s “Sally’s Blog” and noticed that she wrote “good semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate”. Well, with my first 2 attempts, I used my store brand semi sweet chocolate, which separated. The final time, I used Ghiradelli, which blended smoothly. I’m sure you must already know this, but the brand of chocolate may be causing the issue! Whew .. I was determined to get this right :) So if it looks like it didn’t blend in smoothly when you add the hot cream to the chocolate chips, it will not be smooth when whipped.

  95. Noel says:

    I think I died and went to heaven with this case. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this – since I started the unfortunately gluten free diet (unfortunate because I am a bread-cakes-pasta-pastries LOVER), it’s been tragic walking by desserts. But now there is no more sadness: this is the most delicious, decadent bit of chocolatey bliss I’ve ever tasted. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    As a side note, I didn’t make 2 layers, having only 1 cake pan, so mine had to bake for about 40ish minutes.

  96. Laurie says:

    My daughter made this for me this past weekend. I cannot give details as to the process of making it but it was absolutely delicious. She did not make the icing since I am also dairy free. Wonderfully moist. It is going to be my go to cake recipe.

    Just wondering if there is a vanilla or non-chocolate version?

  97. Rachel says:

    This cake is amazing! We have made it twice now. But I must say, there is no way it serves 12. I double cake recipes as a matter of course, and this recipe doubled (I used large Pyrex casserole pans) gave me around 12 SMALL servings. Unless I have an inflated idea of what constitutes a normal serving :)

  98. Jenni P. says:

    Okay, I’m on my third time of making this cake, only I’ve been working with variations in pan size, including doing cupcakes:

    First, this cake recipe is a real winner! BUT I think unless you have a fantastic blender, be prepared to use a food processor for a good 3-4 minutes on the wet (quinoa) mixture. Also, make sure to cook the quinoa good and long. I’m picky about texture, and my first go at this cake was only so-so, because I was a quinoa cooking novice, and I don’t think I cooked it OR blended/processed it long enough (my blender could not handle the wet mixture, actually, but it’s a cheap one. My food processor is a Cuisinart). BUT the flavor was good, so I figured I’d give it another go, and sure enough, the second batch was FANTASTIC. No “crunchy bits” texture issue, except right at the edges that touched the pan.

    Pan size: First time I used 8″x2″ rounds, and cooked them for 40 minutes, and thought they were done. Nope. They needed more time. Also? This cake DOES predictably fall in the center a bit, so if you are doing layers for a tier, don’t plan on slicing these layers in half. Use more layers, total, instead.

    Second time, I used 6″x3″ pans, filled them 2/3rds the way up, and baked at 350 for 36 minutes, and though the centers have fallen, the cakes stayed together great this time. Cooked all the way through.

    3rd time: CUPCAKES! Using parchment cup lined pan, I filled them 3/4th up, knowing they wouldn’t rise much, and would fall in the center afterward. (I was right) Baked at 350 for roughly 25 minutes (your time may vary – watch em!). My kids gobbled them up, said they were the best chocolate cupcakes ever. I had one, and have to agree! I wanted more than one, and right away!

  99. Tara says:

    Hi Mel! I had gotten this recipe off of another website that gave kudos to you. It sounded so strange but my family has been trying to go gluten free so I thought why not. WOW! My husband have it ten stars! We both agreed that it was the best gluten free dessert we have ever had and from now on I prefer this cake from traditional any day! As for people not liking this cake, that’s ok. Not everyone bakes the same or has the same taste buds! If you don’t like it,ok, but don’t go into rude detail about…just don’t make it again!

  100. Kati says:

    This cake just made my friend’s year! I used this recipe to make cupcakes for her birthday yesterday. Her 6-year old daughter has celiac and can’t eat dairy either. I used canned coconut milk in place of the milk and coconut oil in place of the butter. I then made a chocolate frosting using cocoa, powdered sugar, and the solids and some of the liquid from the coconut milk. This is the first time her daughter has been able to eat cake and not get sick! She just called me absolutely thrilled. Thank you!

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