Amazing Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting
This chocolate cake is life-changing! Super moist and ultra-decadent, you’d never know it was gluten-free!
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.
The Secret Ingredient
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 off his chair. I really should have had a video camera going as I’m sure I could have won a lot of money on AFV for his reaction.
How it Works
Instead of mixing up a traditional cake batter of wet ingredients + dry ingredients, in this recipe, cooked and cooled quinoa is blended up with the milk, eggs, vanilla and butter until it is ultra-smooth (I use my Vitamix). Cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, and salt are whisked in and the batter is ready to bake!
Quinoa replaces the flour to add structure to the cake…and I actually think the quinoa contributes to how crazy soft and moist the cake is. This gluten-free chocolate quinoa cake is definitely one of the most decadent, rich, moist cakes I’ve ever tasted!
FAQs for Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting
A lot of people in the comments have easily made this cake dairy free with substitutions – so read through the comment thread for details. One commenter, said: I made these into dairy free cupcakes by subbing 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup earth balance margarine for the butter and did a chocolate coconut cream whipped frosting. Oh. My. Delicious!!!
Yes, it freezes great!
Yes, and it works beautifully! It made 24 and I baked them for about 15 minutes. They don’t have the pretty domed top like bakery cupcakes, but even though they are kind of flattish, they still taste incredible.
I always use white quinoa.
My only attempt at making this chocolate gluten-free cake into a yellow cake was a total disaster. However Nadja commented below: “I just tried to adapt the recipe so it would be a yellow cake version. I simply added the same amount of gluten-free flour instead of Cocoa-powder. It turned out beautifully!!! The only thing to note is that without the cocoa, you can taste the quinoa much stronger, so I will experiment with some more flavors to make it less dominant.”
One Year Ago: Skillet Cilantro and Lime Fish Tacos
Two Years Ago: Grilled Steak Burgers
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Decadent Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting
- 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (see note)
- ⅓ cup milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (170 g) salted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 ½ cups (318 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (85 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 ¼ cups (213 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Chill the frosted cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving to let the frosting set up a bit.
Recipe Source: cake from Good Dinner Mom (love Sally!) and frosting adapted from Sips and Spoonfuls
463 Comments on “Amazing Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting”
I’m excited to try this! How would you recommend adjusting time and/or temperature if I were to make it in a bundt pan instead?
I haven’t made this in a bundt pan, so I’m not sure if the quantity of batter translates well to a bundt pan, but it’s worth a try. I’d keep the baking temperature the same and check after about 25-27 minutes.
I’ve made this multiple times for GF family members and love it! It’s an EXCELLENT recipe.
I have a baby shower for a GF family member coming up and want to use it, but she doesn’t like chocolate. I am wondering if I could substitute something for the cocoa powder or just leave it out to make it vanilla or another flavor?
Hi Kimberly, I haven’t tried making this into a vanilla version, sorry!
This is the best chocolate cake, gluten or no gluten! It has been my go to cake for years. I make the frosting with milk chocolate chips, and it is to die for. If you’re looking for a great cake, look no further!
Would this produce enough batter to fill three 6×2 inch pans and how would you adjust the temp and time? Thanks!
Yes, I believe it should work for three smaller 6-inch pans. I’d bake at the same temperature and check around 22 minutes.
Wow a real winner! If you like luxurious rich chocolate cake, this is it. I needed it dairy free for my SIL’s bday So I Used earth balance butter and vanilla almond milk. Also cooked 3/4 c quinoa in 2.5 cups water for 20 min and that really helped make it softer. Did blend it in my ninja for quite some time because I was afraid it would be grainy. It turned out oh so smooth and rich! Also only had 9 inch pans and those were done after 27 min. Put them in the fridge overnight after baking and cooling since a lot of the comments said it was better day 2.
Then today I frosted them with this frosting:
It was the bomb. Thanks for a recipe all can love!!
I know I’m late to the party. Made this cake yesterday exactly per the instructions. Served it today and it was a huge hit. Probably the moistest cake I’ve ever had. Just as popular with guests with no gluten issues. Made the frosting base in the am, refrigerated it all day. Made cakes in the early evening, and frosted it all before bed. Key to cake texture is use powerful blender and blend until you can feel no gritty texture – maybe longer than you think. It will make perfectly smooth batter for smooth cake. Terrific!
I’m obsessed with this cake. My mother-in-law made this for a family dinner a few weeks ago and I couldn’t stop thinking about it after. So when I needed to make a cake for my mom’s birthday, this is what immediately came to mind. It turned out delicious and everyone loved it. But the frosting was a bit of a fiasco in the beginning. I followed the instructions, but when I went to whip it, it fluffed up for a minute and then fell and separated into granules of chocolate and a puddle of chocolate cream at the bottom. Luckily I had extra cream and whipped that up on its own and then folded in the chocolate granules. That did the trick, but it was stressful for a bit! Any idea what went wrong? Perhaps it wasn’t cold enough when I tried to whip it? I touched the top and it felt cold, but I didn’t check all the way through.
Hey Valerie – what brand of heavy cream were you using? Do you happen to know the percentage of milkfat?
I received a lot of complements on this cake but I felt like the whipped cream frosting was a bit bitter. I used half semi sweet and half bittersweet chocolate. Next time I will try all semisweet or add some powdered sugar. I have made chocolate whipped cream using cocoa powder and powdered sugar and like that a lot. Personal preference.
Mel, should this cake be refrigerated up until it is served or can you tell me how long it can sit out at room temperature?
It’s fine at cool room temperature for a few hours but any longer than that and I would refrigerate it.
I’ve made this cake several times to rave reviews even to people who don’t need it to be GF. This last time, I had too many balls in the air that day in the kitchen, and set the bowl of melted butter in the freezer to cool off for a min… and found it the next day! No one even noticed it was missing! The cake still tasted amazing without it!!! Crazy!
Cake was delicious and moist. I made 1.5 recipe and baked in 9×13 pan. Whipped frosting was a weird texture. Ended up making my own chocolate buttercream instead. Will definitely make this again. Even the skeptics in the family loved it.
This was way more work than it should have been and it’s so rich that it really doesn’t taste that good to me.
This cake is incredibly rich and delicious and easy to make! So hard to believe that quinoa substitutes for flour. I’ll be making this again and again! Thank you, Mel!
1/2 cup of dry quinoa only makes about 1 cup cooked. I think you meant 1 cup dry in the notes?
Quinoa increases about 3 times when cooked (and a bit more if there’s more water, which is helpful in this recipe so the quinoa is nice and soft), so you’ll likely need between 1/2 and 2/3 cup.
I admit I was super skeptical about this recipe! But I wanted to make cupcakes GF so my daughter in law could have some. They exceeded all expectations!!! Thanks for a delicious GF option!
This recipe is amazing. Can I substitute the butter with vegetable oil?
You can try – it may affect the outcome (overall texture of the cake)
I have used melted coconut oil and I actually think it’s better than butter especially when the cake is cold from the fridge!
How much melted coconut oil? Really like this adaptation. Thank you.
This is my go to chocolate cake recipe. Most people I serve it to cannot taste any difference. It is so light and fluffy. I make this with allulose to give to my stage 4 cancer patient sister. It is her fave!!! Love this recipe.
Best chocolate cake and frosting ever! I followed it exactly as written except I used multi colored quinoa and baked it in a 9×13. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. Next time I may try baking it in a Bundt pan. Thank you for sharing!
Can you substitute using cooked quinoa with just quinoa flour? I have a ton of this flour but I would assume it is raw quinoa.
I haven’t tried using quinoa flour – it has a different consistency and volume per cup than cooked quinoa, but you could experiment.
Marvelous! I can serve a wonderful dessert to my food allergy friends. How empowering! Thank you for the thousandth time, Mel.
This has been my go to chocolate cake recipe for years. Half of my husband’s family is GF or Celiac. Whenever I have a church event I make this & it always goes first. 🙂
I frost the whole cake with the whipped ganache frosting and put a cream cheese buttercream between the cake layers. I now put Smuckers sour cherry jam on top of the buttercream between the layers as well. YUM!!
This last time I made it, I finally had a Vitamix & was super pleased with how smooth the batter came out. I under baked, per normal for here. But the crumb was crumbly. The cake didn’t taste dry. But I kept having crumbs fall off forks or when I sliced. Should I try adding 2 Tbs of sour cream or a little more milk? I live in Upstate NY. So it is very dry here right now. What would you recommend to moisten the cake a little?
I am wondering whether this cake freezes well? Thanks in advance for you answer!
Yes, it freezes great.
I was told about this recipe 4 years ago when we were giving my son a very exclusive diet to determine what issues he was having. It took me a couple months to make it, but when his birthday came around I pulled it out and made it. It has been a favorite in our house ever since! It’s my husbands favorite cake and he requests it even though he has no allergy or food issues, it’s just that good!
It does turn out a bit different every time, probably due to my lack of consistency at following directions and quinoa cooking times . But it’s always amazing!
This is our go-to chocolate cake. It is wonderful! I have left the chocolate out and used warm spices (cinnamon, cloves, etc) and used the mixture to make waffles. They come out beautifully!
This cake had delicious flavor and OMG the frosting! But I need some help – why was my quinoa chewy in the cake?
Hi Sandy – sounds like the quinoa needed to cooked longer and/or blended longer.
Hi Mel! Can you freeze this cake prior to frosting like you would for a regular cake?
Yes, it freezes great!
can you make this gluten free cake into cupcakes?
Many people in the comment thread have done that with good results!
This was so delicious. I made it into 20 cupcakes and cooked them for 15 minutes at 350F. I think I might like this better than a normal cake (and it lets me conserve my flour for delicious bread). Thank you!!!
this has become my go to chocolate birthday cake!
EVERYONE loves it and its too moist and delicious. thank you so much for sharing! YUMMY!!!!!
Readers: if you’re wondering if you should make this cake. get to the kitchen and make it!
So found this recipe and have been hanging on to it for awhile. Yesterday I decided to make it and sooooo glad I did!. I read every comment and made some reference notes as well as added notes on my own throughout the process. I decided to make the frosting first and then let it sit overnight in the fridge. It was very thin and I thought it was ruined, but it turned out great after whipping it with a hand mixer for a couple of minutes. I ended up cooking 3/4 c. of quinoa with 2 1/2 c. water for 25 minutes and it was perfectly done. You could easily get by with 1/2 c. quinoa (which I made a note to do the next time) as I had a lot left over. I decided to use my blender instead of the food processor since the blender is more narrow and I felt it would blend the quinoa better. I have an older Kitchen Aid blender and I used the Mix cycle first then the Liquefy cycle . I then checked with a spoon to see if I could see any clumps, which I didn’t, then did the Mix cycle again. I did each cycle for about a minute. I used 9″ pans and checked the cakes after 22 minutes. They were not quite done so added another 5 minutes. Followed the instructions as stated and I could not be more pleased! The cake is very moist and not overly sweet. My husband was impressed and we look forward to making this for a get together (when the crisis is over) for our GF friends. I can’t wait to tell them, after I have them guess, what the main ingredient is. This is truly a great cake and a keeper!
It’s almost midnight, but I had to come home and write this comment tonight! I’m not sure how this recipe has hidden from my eyes for the nearly 7 years it’s been on here. It is delicious. One of the best chocolate cakes I’ve made, and I have made many, many cakes over the years! It’s moist and flavorful, and the frosting is like chocolate whipped cream. The frosting is light, but has a great chocolate flavor, not just whipped calories. I took it to a girls’ night tonight and no one guessed quinoa; they wouldn’t have known it was GF either. It got rave reviews.
I have a very high bar for desserts, and am extremely nitpicky about my own results (friends and family can attest). I ate a piece and even admitted to myself that it was a hit. I will probably use this recipe for any occasion when I am not doing a “decorated” cake. I plan to make it for my GF mother in law when she visits close to her birthday next month, she will be over the moon to have something this delicious that’s GF!
I made it as an 8” three layer cake for more frosting-to-cake ratio, baking time adjusted. Following others’ comments, I cooked the quinoa extra long and blended til smooth. I melted the chips/cream a day ahead of making the cake, and made/assembled the cake a day before serving. I don’t know what day 1 would have tasted like, but day 2 was heavenly! Thank you for this one!!
Thank you for this! You’re right – I am now obsessed. We have a family brownie recipe that calls for 1/2 cup flour and I’m hoping you can tell me what the substitution equal would be with cooked quinoa – I’ve tried Googling it but had no luck! Thanks again!
I haven’t tried subbing quinoa in for other recipes (like brownies) so I’m honestly not sure – sorry!
How to make sweeter?
So I made this cake and LOVED the texture. However, everyone in my family thought the cake part was too bitter. I used Nestle cocoa. I actually didn’t make the chocolate frosting because we thought that would make it too sweet, and we did simple vanilla whipped cream for the frosting based on another review. Do you know (or anyone) know, how I can increase the sugar in the cake and decrease something else so the texture doesn’t change?
Hi Kathy – I haven’t tried adapting the sugar amounts but you could try adding another 1/2 cup sugar to see if that helps
Hey there! This recipe caught my eye and I made it today. I didn’t have 8 inch round pans, and so baked in a 13×9. My toothpick test after 25 minutes at 350 still showed lots of goo, so I bumped the heat up to 375 and baked another 15 minutes. Toothpick test came clean after 40 minutes so perhaps those who want to bake in a 13 × 9 should tweak for a hotter oven and bake a little longer. I’m curious for the taste, especially after waiting a few hours to whip up this amazing frosting …patience may not be my strong suit.
I made this cake today, and it definitely came out like brownies. Awesome taste, but not like cake at all. I’d like to try again and see if I can get it more like a regular cake. I cooked the quinoa in a rice cooker with extra water so it would be nice and soft and blend easily. I made it the day before and put it in the fridge, so I’m wondering if cold quinoa was part of the problem….I also substituted almond milk and vegan butter to make it dairy free…..Any suggestions?
Vegan butter and almond milk would be the issue!
I was wondering if you could make this recipe using quinoa flour? I just came across it at a store. If so the measurements?
I have made this cake recipe 3 times already only to get rave reviews….. and I am no means a baker. The recipe is that good!!! Thank you for sharing, you are an amazing chef!!
I haven’t tried that so I’m not sure – sorry!
Oh my goodness. I made this yesterday for a large group and everyone loved it! No one could believe quinoa was the secret ingredient.
Mine came out pretty flat and broke apart, so I just made a trifle- broke up the cake and layered cake and whipped cream and then topped with cacao nibs. It was delish! Everyone loved it!
I’ve made this cake about ten times, and although they’ve all been very delicious, the texture has varied considerably among the cakes. I think there are several variables at play, at least for me. I found that cooking my quinoa with a bit more water than required and a bit longer than required, and then ending up with a “mushy” quinoa makes the best texture–most cake-like with very few, if any, crunchy bits. I use a blender and blend like crazy, too, and if I don’t blend enough, then that affects the texture as well.
Today I made “fluffy” quinoa following another recipe (because I can’t find your directions for making quinoa over the stove on your site for some reason, Mel!), and since my trusty blender had broken, I used a stand-by blender which wasn’t as powerful. Two mistakes on my part: even though my cake is still in the oven (smelling awesome, by the way), I could already tell the cake will be crunchy, because I could feel the hard bits in the batter.
A big bummer, because this is supposed to be a birthday cake for my best friend, who LOVES this cake.
She’s still getting it, just with a “crunchy: be warned” caveat.
I’m not a gluten-free person, but I made these for my daughter’s bridal shower to accommodate gf guests and was totally amazed at how good these were! Thanks again, Mel, for another superstar recipe!
I made this for the first time last night, but decided to experiment by using millet instead of quinoa for three reasons: I have lots of millet that needs to be used up; millet is more neutral-tasting than quinoa; I have a recipe for yellow cake that uses millet (but also some flour). The cake turned out incredibly moist and delicious. If using millet, cook one cup millet in three cups water so it’s nice and moist. The downside is that millet takes longer to cook than quinoa (30-35 minutes). The frosting was so incredible that I could just eat it for dessert! Thanks for the great recipe!
Thank you so much for leaving this detailed review, Ann! Awesome that millet worked just as well as quinoa!
I made this marvelous cake! I must say that words can’t express how great this cake taste! I’ve never heard of baking a cake without flour, but you can’t tell that you used the qunoia as a substitute. The cake is so moist and delicious!!!
I’m new to eating quinoa. I want to try this recipe. Could you tell the best type of quinoa to use for this recipe. Thank you, Susan
I use white quinoa.
Thank you. Can’t wait to try it!
Hi! I just made this cake this morning and it is absolutely decadent, as you say! It just might be the most moist, dark chocolate cake I have ever made, and that is right up my alley! I just had one little problem. I could feel the texture of the quinoa in the cooked cake–not a lot, but enough to be noticeable. Is this normal? It was still delicious, and didn’t bother me much, but I would prefer the texture to be smoother, like regular cake. This was also my very first time time cooking quinoa, so I followed the package directions, which said to boil water, add quinoa (2 cups water : 1 cup quinoa) and then simmer for 15 minutes. I blended the batter quite well, or at least I thought I did. Do you have any suggestions for improvement? How long do you cook your quinoa and how long do you blend the batter?
Hi Alison, next time, try adding another 1/2 cup water and cooking it for 4-5 extra minutes.
Best chocolate cake ever! The quinoa component makes this cake incredibly moist and delicious. For the yummiest of chocolate cakes look no further this one is perfect!
For people new to having to be gluten free, read the lable on your quinoa, not all quinoa is gluten free because of processing practices (like oats, corn meal, rice, etc). Make sure it says gluten free on the package. I made a lot of mistakes by not reading ingredient labels close enough which resulted in horrible stomach pains. Anyway I haven’t tried this cake yet but definitely plan on it, I just wanted to maybe save someone from the pain of making the same mistakes I made when first going gluten free. Thanks for sharing the recipe it sounds delicious.
This looks delicious! I would love to do this cake as a smash cake for my babe. Is there a way to use something else to sweeten the cake other than granulated sugar? Like raw sugar, applesauce, or maple syrup?
Also, do you think that maybe I could get away with almond milk rather than cow’s milk?
I haven’t made either of those substitutions, but many people in the comments have tried subbing a variety of things so you might read through to see. Good luck if you experiment!
my family has used this recipe for years!
Hi there, do you think I could use quinoa flour itself? I have a ton on hand already!
I honestly have no idea since I haven’t tried it – sorry! You could definitely experiment but I’m not sure what to suggest on amounts since the blended quinoa has a totally different texture.
I’ve made this a few times now and non gf people love it too. I’ve just been requested to make it for someone’s gf wedding cake! I mix up the frostings, sometimes add raspberries in the layers…great recipe!
Would this frosting work well with your best chocolate cake? Also, which size cake pan do you use most often? I noticed your best chocolate cake says 9″ but this one is 8″.
It really depends on the recipe and the amount of batter – but I probably use 9-inch pans a bit more frequently than 8-inch pans. Yes, I think this frosting would work well on any chocolate cake!
Anyone know if this recipe freezes well? Particularly as cupcakes? Don’t think my GF daughter needs to eat a whole batch in the next few days. (Although I would be more than willing to help her destroy these delicious treats!)
It does freeze well! I just made it for a birthday cake and froze it for a week wrapped well. The cake was so moist and delicious!
This cake is wonderful! And super easy!
I’ve made this multiple times and no one can believe it’s made out of quinoa! It’s delicious.
Hi, I made the cake for a friend today. I used 100 g of puffed quinoa which I ground for the cake.
It worked really well. Everybody laughed the cake.
This is great. We are dairy free so I gonna try sweet potato choc frosting ,sweet pot, coconut sugar, coco powder, nut butter ,sea salt and nondairy milk, and vanilla it works for us. I can’t remember where I saw this receipt
I made the original recipe into chocolate cupcakes and they turned out amazing. I love this recipe. The cupcakes cooked at 350 for 18-19 minutes. I attempted to do a vanilla version. I did a half recipe since I knew there was a high chance of failure. In place of cocoa powder I used vanilla whey protein powder. In place of sugar I used coconut sugar. I used a little less than half the amount of coconut sugar since the protein powder is already sweet. It didn’t turn out well unfortunately.
How many cupcakes did you get from the recipe?
I just made this again today and happened to see this reply to my reply a couple years ago.
Today I did cupcakes. I got 17.
350 for 20 minutes
I just made this. I made it with a maracuya buttercream frosting instead of the posted frosting. This was only because I didn’t have any whipping cream or chocolate chips, but I did manage to have passion fruit sitting around. ♀️ My cake fell, but it’s because I live at 9,000 feet. I always have to play around with leavener until the cake is perfect. But, this is a recipe that I won’t mind making over and over again. Thanks!
I have made this cake severally with much success…. I was wondering – do you think the recipe could be adapted to make a vanilla version? Maybe use an extra cup of quinoa to replace the chocolate powder? Thanks as always
I’ve tried it…and so have lots of others in the comments and I don’t think anyone has quite gotten it to work yet. Mine was a gummy mess. Sorry!
I wonder if it would work if you substituted vanilla protein powder?
This cake fit what I was looking for perfectly. Gluten free, no crazy ingredients and looked and tasted awesome. Turned out perfect, I will admit I was nervous about making it, but I will definitely be making again.
This was absolutely amazing!!! I made this for my husband’s birthday tomorrow. I made 2 batches so that I could do one batch of cupcakes for taste testers. They did not disappoint and I most definitely could not taste the quinoa!! PERFECTION!
I just recently went gluten free for Hashimotos. My husband tried a cupcake tonight and loved it! He still doesn’t know that quinoa is an ingredient in this recipe! Thanks so much!!! This recipe is life changing for many people who cannot have gluten.
Hi Molly – how many cupcakes did this make? Thanks!
I got 23 cupcakes from this recipe and baked them for 19 minutes.
Absolutely fantastic!!!! Honestly this is better thank any regular chocolate cake let alone any gluten free cake recipe I’ve ever tried before! This is NO joke! I made this chocolatey, moist, mouth watering, and decadent bliss last night. And I was not disappointed. This is absolutely mind blowing. I am new to the gluten free club. As we all know most gluten free items are obvious. They dissolve or fall apart before they even make it into your mouth. Not this chocolate glory! I swear the angels sung when I put a bite of this in my mouth. All it leaves me wondering is can a vanilla version of this be made? I have absolutely nothing negative to say about this cake. If you are looking for a gluten free sinful dessert to make that absolutely no one will know it’s not the real deal than this is the “REAL DEAL”!!!!! You will not be disappointed! I’m still shocked at how great this recipe is! Thank you so so so much Mel!!! ❤️❤️
Amazing cake! It’s soooo good!! I also sprinkled some mini chocolate chips between the layers. Substitutions if anyone is interested: I used coconut oil and coconut sugar, coconut milk, and special dark cocoa powder. Also, I used regular cocoa powder and coconut sugar to make the chocolate whipped cream. Start with a TBSP, blend, and add to taste!
Did you also sub coconut cream for the whipping cream, or just coconut milk for the milk?
This cake was soooo amazing. I wish I could give it 10 stars.
I’ve made it twice in one week for two different parties. The only things I changed was to use coconut sugar instead of white sugar (we don’t use white sugar), add a sprinkle of espresso powder and to use 1/2 semi-sweet and 1/2 bitter sweet for the frosting.
No one at either party could guess that the main ingredient is quinoa. Thanks for a great recipe.
I’ve made this recipe multiple times and it’s awesome!!!
Would making this with a regular chocolate frosting instead of the whipped one be too chocolaty with the cake?
I think it would work just fine! A lot will depend on the frosting – the cake is so light that a really heavy frosting might weigh the cake down.
I’ve made this lots of times for two GF family members and now everyone requests it, even my daughter for her birthday cake. I’m dairy intolerant and it is super easy to sub cashew milk and coconut oil for the dairy ingredients. The frosting is fantastic but problematic for dairy intolerance but I often make this as cupcakes so I just leave the frosting off for me.
Added 1 tsp almond extract in addition to the vanilla – WOW!
Also – cake was too hot to frost when it was time to go to the potluck, so I labeled the bowl of whipped cream frosting as “Cream Spread” and let people put a blob on by themselves.
I only have a whisk to make this cake, is that going to be okay?
If you don’t have a blender to process the quinoa mixture, it won’t produce the same results.
Best cake ever!! Not just GF. Ever!! I made it because it’s gluten free and fell in love. I take it parties all the time and no one can tell it’s GF and it’s always a hit. Two points to know : It is crumbly because it’s so moist & it only keeps 2 days. Then the quinoa becomes crunchy
I guess I should note I make it using a Cruisinart and I usually cook it in a bunt pan. Make sure ur Quinoa is not old. It will turn out a little crunchier or gummy.
I have made the frosting-yummy- but not usually. I have dusted w powdered sugar, made a marshmallow frosting and topped with coconut, just butter cream. There’s no going wrong.
I’m super excited that you made this in a Bundt pan. How long did you bake it?
I made this for my friend with celiac and all of the gf and non gf people loved It… even the kids. No one could tell what the secret ingredient was!! So good I am making It again for my family just because even though we don’t normally eat gf.
I have made this cake several times from a Pin that I accident,y deleted…. believe it is the same, although I never made the whipped cream icing because my daughter is food sensitive to dairy? Instead I used whole coconut cream (Thai brand is excellent!), whipping it up and adding chocolate chips. No one knew there was Quinoa nor Coconut whipped cream.
It is a favourite of the family’s! I plan to make it for my daughter’s birthday this weekend.
This recipe is so good. I have celiac and live a gluten free diet. However I remember what good cake tastes like and both people who eat gluten and those who don’t will love this recipe. Thanks!
Love this recipe! I’ve been asked to do a wheat free/dairy free cake, do you think I could substitute the milk for coconut milk and butter for vegan butter?
You could definitely try! I haven’t made those same substitutions so I can’t say how they’ll work out exactly.
Suggestions on how to make a white/vanilla version of this cake? Obviously removing the cup of cocoa powder leaves a huge gap in ingredient ratios. More quinoa? Less egg, milk and butter? I have one chocolate-loving little girl and one vanilla-only little girl, so I’m trying to make both happy. 🙂
Hi Sarah, I’ve tried this and so have other commenters, and it’s been a bit of a disaster. Sorry! I don’t have a great method right now until I further test it out.
Perfect Recipe for a gluten free chocolate love! Thank you
I made this chocolate cake – as instructed- and it was amaze bomb! GF & gluten eaters alike loved how moist & delicious this cake was.
We are a GF family so I am going to try to make this in a lemon variation by using GF flour blend in lieu of the cocoa powder & then add lots of lemon juice, zest, etc. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thanks for sharing such an amazing recipe!
Did you make the lemon version??? How did it turn out?? I’d love to try a lemon version 🙂
Best chocolate cake ever! Super moist and not too sweet makes this a perfect cake. Oh, and it’s gluten free. No changes to the recipe. I’ve made it 3-4 times, perfect every time.
I made this recipe yesterday but in cupcakes. Absolutely amazing!!!!!! They all loved them. Thank you for a brilliant recipe.
I was searching to see if anyone had made cupcakes w this recipe. How long did you cook them?
This cake is so yummy ! I’ve made it a couple times in a row already! The chocolate whipped cream was a hit in the family because when refrigerated, it becomes like a chocolate mousse on the cake. I’ve also tried the cake with coconut whipped cream and it tasted good too.
Yum! I think I lacked a touch of sweetness because it turns out I was out of granulated sugar so I used mostly powdered sugar. It tastes pretty good with my whipped coconut cream, though. Also, I’m not sure if it was the coconut milk in the batter, but my quinoa mixture seem to start to solidify after I blended it very thoroughly. The mixture was quite a bit thicker than I thought it would be. But it baked up nicely, and the batter tasted great.
I refrigerated it because I thought it might be best for the coconut whipped cream I used, but I don’t think the fridge did this cake any favors. Sad.
My sister-in-law served this at a family gathering and my boys loved it! No one could tell it was gluten free. As soon as we got home from vacation, my husband asked me to make it again. We aren’t GF, but we have many friends and family that are. It has become my new go to for gatherings! Or just for us when we need a great dense chocolate cake! This recipe is easy to follow and makes a great cake. Thank you!!
We have a GF and dairy free friend I would love to make this for. Do you know a good substitute for the milk in the cake? I figure I can always frost it with something else.
Just wondering, if I use a buttercream frosting do I have to refrigerate the cake? I normally don’t but I just wanted to make sure it’s this type of cake. I’m making this today for a friend and can’t wait to try it!
I only refrigerate if it’s really hot/warm. If it’s nice and cool, I leave it out
Hi Mel! I have a question about the frosting. I’m making this cake for my daughter’s birthday but she wants blue frosting. Do you think I could use white chocolate instead so that I can just add blue food coloring to it? Obviously it won’t be as good as bitter or semi sweet but it should still work okay right?
Actually, I’m not sure it would work. White chocolate has completely different properties than regular chocolate. You might want to give it a test run just to experiment. Good luck!
Incredible! But be sure to cook the quinoa 3C water to 1C quinoa and for about 45-50 minutes.
All my GF people adore this cake! I use a chocolate ganache frosting instead of the whipped cream: Microwave 1/2 c. sugar, 1/3 c. half and half, and 1/2 stick butter until sugar melts (several minutes). Quickly stir in 1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips until smooth. Amazing combination! You can chill the frosted cake until the icing sets then freeze whatever you don’t eat right away.
SO AMAZING! Thank you 🙂
I adore this recipe. I use it for my kids’ birthdays every year. It’s super moist and not fussy to make, and it’s always a big hit.
I can’t speak to the frosting, though. I keep putting chocolate buttercream on it.
Can you do this as cupcakes too?
I’ve only ever made it as a cake but many have commented they’ve tried as cupcakes.
This cake is delicious! It’s already on the request list. Do you know it the cake ( without frosting) will freeze well?
Can I leave the chocolate whipping cream covered in the refrigerator overnight and whip it up tomorrow? I am short one egg so my cake is going to have to wait until tomorrow but I already mixed the chocolate and cream before I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients!
Yes, that should work!
Coming back to report that the chocolate cream whipped up just fine after almost 24 hours of chilling in the fridge. Now my problem is that I don’t know how much of that frosting is going to last to frost the cake once it cools! I’ve been helping myself to spoonfuls of the stuff! I’ve always been a sucker for whipped cream, but the chocolate took it to a whole new level and I can’t resist!
Glad it worked, Mel! Thanks for the report back! I agree, that stuff is pure decadence.
I loved it! I used dark chocolate cocoa, I love dark chocolate. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!
Can’t wait to make this chocolate cake. It sounds Devine!
This cake is absolutely delicious. As a seasoned baker and cake decorator who has recently been told by doctors to go gluten-free, this satisfies my cake fix perfectly. I’ve made it a few times now, as a cake, mini-cupcakes and regular cupcakes.
But everytime I’ve made it, it falls in the middle. Not as noticeable with a cake, but definitely with cupcakes. It still tastes divine and I just fill the dips with frosting (more frosting is always fine by me!), but I’m wondering if you have any tips to avoid that?
Do you live at high altitude, Jess? I wonder if the leavening could be adjusted to compensate, if so. Sometimes too much leavening can cause a cake to fall in the middle. Maybe next time try cutting the baking powder back to 1 teaspoon to see if that helps. Also, try to avoid opening and closing the oven to check on the cake while it bakes. Good luck!
Jess have you found a solution to this problem? I’ve had the same issue – I don’t open the oven during baking and don’t live at high altitude.
This cake is absolutely amazing! I make it for every birthday party and big event. Now anyone who has had it before requests it. Everyone has loved this cake and asks me for the recipe. They can’t believe it doesn’t have flour in it.
I don’t know what I did wrong but this turned out terrible for me. I cooked the quinoa and used my kitchen aid paddle attachment to mix until smooth. Should I have blended?? How long do you blend for?
I guess I should say that it was chunky, didn’t rise well, and took forever to bake. I’m sure I did something wrong and it wasn’t the recipe! Help! I really want to make this cake because of the great reviews!
Yes, you definitely need a blender (or food processor, but most people report a blender works best) for this recipe otherwise the quinoa won’t incorporate properly into the recipe.
This cake is great! If you didn’t know that there was quinoa in it you would never guess. This cake was pretty easy to make. I recommend this cake to everyone, you don’t have to be gluten free to enjoy this cake.
I only have 9 inch round pans. Do you have a suggestion on how to adjust the cooking time?
I’d probably start checking right around 22 minutes.
Hi! I was wondering if you could use other mild tasting grains like farro or something instead of quinoa. If you’re blending it in a good processor would the consistency be about the same? Has anyone else tried this?
I made this last night because I was just too curious about turning quinoa into a cake. I followed the directions exactly as written (including leaving the cream in the fridge overnight before whipping) and it was fabulous. So, so good. Everything turned out so amazing, even though I was totally doubting the whole time (not doubting you, Mel, just my own abilities 🙂 Thanks! I will make this for all the GF peeps in my life!
Not sure what I did wrong. The cake is delicious but my quinoa turned into the consistency of tiny pebbles, even though I cooked it soft in the pot. Had to buy a dollar store cake mix to use the frosting. Might try again but not sure what I did wrong.
Fabulous cupcakes!!! Baked for 18 mins at 350. Just perfect. I used almond milk and coconut sugar as my substitutions. Worked like a charm. Thank you!!
I made this as an Easter dessert and I was surprised at how delicious it was! My mom is GF and was SO happy that she got enjoy cake for the first time in years. Everyone was shocked when I told them the secret ingredient was quinoa. I had to be extra careful when transferring the cake to the plate, as some large paces of the cake look like they wanted to break apart.. but the frosting helped keep it all together. I will definitely be making this again!
We love this cake and have made it several times! Today, I doubled the cake recipe and baked it in a cookie sheet at 350 for 36 minutes. It worked really well! Just wanted to report in case anyone else will be feeding a crowd. We love that this recipe is delicious and allergy friendly, both for wheat and easily substituted dairy!
That’s awesome – thanks for the report!
Do you mean a 9×13 pan or a 1/2 sheet? I was going to make 2 cakes to feed everyone, but this would sure be easier!
Mel, I would love to know if you can figure out what I did wrong with this recipe. After all the rave reviews, I was so intrigued and eager to try it. But I had a colossal fail! It looked great in the oven but once I took it out, it collapsed into a heavy, soggy layer of what looked like a brownie but tasted awful! (I baked it in a 9×13 pan.) I made a couple of substitutions that I’m wondering were the culprit(s)! Since I am lactose intolerant, I used half almond milk and half heavy cream in place of milk. This is normally a safe substitute in recipes. I also used Swerve and Coconut Palm sugar instead of regular refined sugar. Again, this is normally not an issue, but perhaps in this recipe it made a difference? Can you tell me what you think may have gone wrong? In addition, my cream would not whip after chilling it so I ended up with thick chocolate cream instead of icing. Big, bad flop all the way around!!
Hi Pam, because the base of this cake is quinoa and not flour (gluten free or regular), I think any substitutes have the chance to alter the result. I haven’t made those exact same substitutions so I don’t know for sure, but because this cake turns out so delicious as written, I am guessing those may be the reason. Sorry!
Thank you, Mel! I assumed it had something to do with the substitutions.
I hated to waste the ingredients, so I decided to try to “repurpose” the flop. I cut them into “brownies” and then sliced them in half so that they were quite thin. Then I baked them at 300 degrees for a couple of hours until they were dry and crisp. Made quite good “brownie brittle!”
Look at you! That’s so inventive!
I made this for my gluten-free friend two years ago for her birthday and not only could no one tell it was gluten free but they thought it was the best chocolate cake they had ever had! I make this now every time someone needs a chocolate cake and am making two for a party on Thursday! Best cake ever! My only note is that I cannot get the quinoa smooth enough on its own so I add the wet ingredients to the blender until it’s completely smooth. Best ever!
Haha. Now that I’ve read the instructions again I see that you say to do that!
Do you think this would possibly work in mini cupcakes? I have made it before and love it. Now I have a wedding shower for my niece who absolutely loves this as well, but we were planning on doing small bites.
I can always make a batch, but thought I’d get an opinion first….
I believe others have made this in cupcake form with great results (and reported back in the comment thread). I haven’t, but I think it’s worth a try!
Oh drats – I wanted to post a picture of a slice of the cake I made with my mom a few weeks ago! I know I’m super late to this recipe, but it’s amazing and comes together perfectly with minimal hurdles or areas of worry. The only issue we ran into was when I overwhisked the frosting before putting it in the fridge. It was still perfect, and the cake itself is so, so dense!! I never knew a good way to make cake that had a fudgey and thick texture while still being pliable and rich, and this is it – with an added bonus of being free of gluten!
You’re AMAZING for posting this!!!
I’m bummed that this didn’t turn out for me. I think you need a high powered blender and to make sure the quinoa is cooked well, almost too soft (if that’s even possible?). We dubbed this bird seed cake as it had crunchy bits of quinoa throughout.
This cake looks amazingly moist! Is it too moist to make it three layers high?
You could definitely try, but I think it’s a bit too fragile to try 3 layers.
I made mine in three 8” layers. They are thinner, but I wanted more frosting to cake ratio and it turned out great. Adjust cooking time accordingly, of course.
Love, love, love this cake!! Has saved me from Celiac depression! Can you tell me how to adapt it to be a yellow / vanilla cake? Or has anyone sucessfully done that? Thanks!
My one try at a vanilla cake ended in disaster so I haven’t attempted it again. I think the quinoa method is best suited for a chocolate cake. Sorry!
This cake was absolutely amazing! My family loved it as well and they are not found of GF foods or desserts. I loved how you didn’t have to use 6 different gf flours to make and it was simple. This will def be my go to GF cake! Thanks for sharing this recipe! 🙂
The cake was delicious! I made just one mistake by adding a layer of ganache. The cake was rich enough as it is. A lighter icing would have been better.
Hello Chrystal – Mel doesn’t have access to internet right now so I’m helping her out with comments for the next few days. Thank you for reporting back. Yes, I bet that was very rich! If you try it again, hopefully you will find just the right amount of sweet.
Is this cake best stored in the fridge?
Yes, I store it in the refrigerator.
I’ve made this twice. Well worth the effort. Frosting was a bit too sweet for us so I toned it down the second time.
Okay so the first time I made this is was PERFECT! And I literally told everyone I knew to make it asap!
I made it again today and the cake is too crumbly (but still moist) to even take out of the pan. It just cracks and crumbles. Needless to say I’m eating it with a fork because I can’t let it go to waste!!
BUT what did I do wrong??
Hi Jessie – honestly, I wouldn’t be able to guess what went wrong without more details. Is it possible the cake was overbaked at all?
I have celiac disease and gave had gluten free chocolate cake beifre but within a day it’s dry and crumbly. I have to say this is one of the best cakes I have had and can not believe its only bi ding ingredient us the quinoa. The icing is amazing and I felt that the longer it sat the better it tasted. I made this cake for a couple of friends for their birthday…they loved it and thought it was moist and delicious!
This looks amazing!
Have you tried using coconut sugar in place of granulated sugar (I’m assuming that you’re referring to typical white sugar here) and if so, how did it turn out?
I haven’t tried that substitute but it would probably work pretty well.
Love this cake! But do you have Any suggestions on making this as a vanilla cake?
I don’t, sorry! The one time I tried it, it was awful.
Thank you so much for this recipe!! I have already made it twice and making it a third time this week! I just have one qustion dose rise good in a 9×13 pan?
I haven’t made it in a 9X13 so I don’t know for sure but I believe others in the comment thread have if you want to read through to see their results.
I am going to have to try this. Ironically, I have everything on hand. Looks like cake baking is in order for tonight.
I made this cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday, since she has to eat gluten free. Everything turned out well, and it tasted alright, but not amazing. I put the leftovers in my fridge, and when I pulled them out the next day, an incredible change had taken place. The cake tasted divine. So much so, that my friend (who was very skeptical about “quinoa cake” and said she would have just one bite to be polite) and I both ate huge pieces. We then sat staring at the remaining cake, wondering if we should throw all self control out the window and polish it off then and there. We did. Now I’m making it this weekend for her birthday 🙂 And you better believe that I’m baking, cooling, and frosting it the day before. Thanks for the life-changing chocolate cake recipe that even my gluten free friends can enjoy!
I agree. I like this cake on day 1, but I love it even more on day 2!
What a wonderful cake! So moist, did a slightly different frosting, especially young guests loved it!
I made this frosting once and it was perfect and wonderful. The second time however, I must not have waited long enough for it to chill, though it was more than 2 hours, because it separated and was a watery mess. So sad!
Wow, I’m gonna have to try this!
Mel, this is the best gluten free cake that has ever happened to me!!!! I’ve made it several times, and I’m a little ashamed to admit that I completely ruined the frosting every time. I used regular vanilla frosting in its place and it was great, but I really want to try the chocolate whipped cream! It keeps turning into a globby-watery mess. Any thoughts? Whipping too long? Not long enough? I feel like I should be able to handle this, but alas… Not so much. 🙂
Ugh, how frustrating! Let’s see, I bet we can troubleshoot this. What brand of chocolate are you using? Chocolate chips or baking chocolate bars? Are you letting it cool until absolutely, completely chilled? You might try refrigerating it overnight just to see if that makes a difference. It needs to be as cold as possible without being frozen. 🙂 It sounds as though you might be over whipping…but it’s hard to know. Does it every thicken at all?
I’m sorry I forgot to come back and thank you for your help! I tried it again, but refrigerated the cream over night, and watched it more carefully when I whipped it. It was amazing! I’ve now made it more times than I want to admit with perfect success. This is our new family favorite! When I sent it to my husband’s office for a pot luck last week the gluten free ladies asked if I would make it for their birthdays. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe! I love this blog.
Between the overnight chilling of the cream and the reports on how delicious the cake is on day 2, I better get going to make this ASAP so it can sit for a day before serving on Saturday!! My friend loves hosting a group of women for monthly gatherings, but her husband is severely celiac such that they don’t even like to have gluten brought into the house, so this will be perfect for the evening!
I love this cake! You don’t happen to know how to make a vanilla version of this cake, would you? Do you think I could do it without the cocoa powder and with a little more vanilla?
I don’t know, I”m afraid. I tried it a couple of times and it was kind of a disaster.
Okay I don’t know if you’ll see this since it’s an older recipe, but I’m scoping out options for my son’s birthday cake and wanted to make it ahead of time. I’m assuming this would freeze (without frosting) like normal cake? Any thoughts on freezing the cake part for a few days?
I haven’t tried freezing this particular cake but usually cake, overall, freezes quite well so I think it’s worth a try.
This cake was AMAZING! I, like many, was skeptical of the quinoa. But you can’t taste it at all! I made this for my family, and no one would have known the secret ingredient had I not told them. The cake was moist, rich, perfect consistency, and absolutely delicious! We will definitely be adding this to our recipe box to make time and time again! Thank you!!
I made one layer plus cupcakes today, adding candied ginger for our town’s big Fruitcake Festival tonight. The tiny cupcakes sunk badly in the center but the cake came out fine. I wonder why? BTW, the added ginger tastes really great!
can you substitute the following and then post a recipe for me:
ground dried sprouted quinoa or quinoa flakes
chia seeds/ or other whole food binding agent other than eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
coconut oil instead of butter
agave honey or dates as the sweetener
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
baking powder thats aluminium free
celtic sea salt
Wow! Amazing! I loved that this cake was gluten-free, made with quinoa, and so delicious. The cake turned out perfectly – the frosting would have too, if I hadn’t been multi-tasking while whipping it up. It whipped up a tad quicker than I thought, but even having a heavier whipped cream instead of a light and fluffy whipped cream did not diminish the yumminess of this cake. Can’t wait for another event to make it again!
Which do you quinoa do you for your recipe the red or the white? Will it make a difference? I’m making this for my daughter’s 23rd birthday tomorrow. She was diagnosed with Celiac Disease 2 years ago and Lupus 1 month ago. I haven’t baked in forever but when I saw this cake I thought I would give it a try and hopefully make her day! Wish me luck☺️
I meant which quInoa do you use?
I’ve only ever used white quinoa in this recipe and haven’t tried it with red. Good luck!
I have to say this cake brought her to tears! She said it was better than any gift we could have bought her! It was so moist and truly delicious…everyone was amazed that it was made out of quinoa!!! She said she could even eat it without the frosting. Thank you for sharing!!
Thanks for this recipe Mel, I have been making it for a year, and its a huge hit!!
Do you know how to modify it to be a vanilla cake instead of chocolate?
I’ve tried a vanilla version and it was an epic fail so I don’t have any good advice. Sorry!
I made this cake for my son’s 8th birthday – he has wheat, soy, corn allergy. I followed the directions exactly, and the cake was very moist, didn’t fall apart (used the parchment paper on bottom) and unlike other posters, we didn’t have any nutty taste
The cake was a hit for kids and adults and the only consensus complaint was that frosting was to chocolatey for our families taste, so we all decided “next time” plain whipped cream.
Funny thing is I made too much quinoa, so I stored the cooked leftovers in exactly 2 cup glass containers. So I am ready for the next one! : )
I had printed this recipe off when you first posted it, and I just got around to making it yesterday. I have never used quinoa before, and I think that was my hang-up, but I was brave and made it, and it was sooooooo good! I even had a piece for breakfast because it said you could use quinoa as a breakfast cereal 🙂 Thanks Mel! So yum!
This looks so good, and it’s my husband’s birthday tomorrow. We’re not gluten-free, but I’m still interested! And P.S. I can’t stop laughing at the note to make sure you cook the quinoa in water and not broth! That would be a tragic mistake. Mmmm, chocolate chicken cake.
Totally random question: has anyone tried making this icing topping with white chocolate? For Father’s Day my son wants to make chocolate cupcakes with blue icing, so I figure trying to colour chocolate icing blue won’t look too pretty? Thoughts?
Thanks so much!!
I made these into dairy free cupcakes by subbing 1/4 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup earth balance margarine for the butter and did a chocolate coconut cream whipped frosting. Oh. My. Delicious!!! Thank you, Mel!!
I’ve been gluten free for 3 years and I’m more intolerant to rice than gluten, so most gluten free recipes call for rice flour leaves me out. A dear friend made this cake for me and I had cake for the first time in years. Yum yum! Try substituting almond extract for vanilla and top with almond slivers. Divine!
I have been cooking things from your site for some time now. Only once did I not have an amazing success – and I altered the recipe, so it doesn’t count. THIS CAKE TURNED OUT PERFECTLY. It looks like your PHOTO even. Seriously. I followed the directions exactly and despite the comments about failures, it was perfect. I have been wheat free for six weeks and I miss baking cake and cookies. Rice flour is fine for cookies, but not for cake, in my experience. This cake is glorious. I didn’t want to do the melting of the chips so I threw a tablespoon of instant coffee and a 1/4 cup of sugar into a half cup of whipping cream and popped it in the freezer in the metal mixer bowl and forgot about it, so it froze at the edges, BUT it whipped perfectly with the cream I added to the iced bowl and it is a glorious whipped cream frosting. Thank you thank you for this recipe. I was going to take it to work tomorrow, but not going to do that. We will eat it all, thank you very much. .
Thanks, Jennifer – so, so happy this cake worked out so well for you!
I have made this a few times now and it’s awesome! This might be a silly question (since there is no reason to have leftovers) but how do you recommend I store this? I made them into cupcakes and I know I can freeze them, but what else? Should I refrigerate them covered? Or just leave out at room temp? Any ideas would be helpful!
I usually refrigerate well-covered if they will be uneaten for a day or so. Just for a few hours or up to a day, I store covered at room temperature.
I do have a question. After baking, I could kinda feel the texture in some bites of the quinoa. Does anyone have that problem? It’s possible I didn’t cook it completely? It was an amazing cake no matter what!!
I think that might happen if the quinoa isn’t cooked soft enough or blended fully.
I made this for Mother’s Day and it was a hit! So moist and perfectly rich. I followed the recipe to a T. I did add fresh strawberries to the top which added a fresh element to balance the richness of the cake. So amazingly good!!! Read the recipe closely before starting. You need to give some ingredients time to cool. Will definitely be saving this recipe!
This was absolutely amazing! I made this last weekend for my daughter’s 5th birthday party because we had a child with a wheat allergy here and I did not want to exclude him. I was simply amazed. It was delicious, and what’s more, the children and the adults gobbled it down. My daughter doesn’t usually like cake, and she had 2 pieces of this one! I made mine with vanilla whipped cream for the frosting and used a blend of Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa and regular cocoa (It’s what I had), and it tasted like an Oreo. WOW!
OMG!!!! I was stressing so much — planning and cooking for a small birthday party in a new house — and I needed cake. Chocolate cake was requested. I planned on a quinoa cake, and stumbled on this one. Instead of frosting the cake, I just sifted some powdered sugar on top and served a bit of whipped cream on the side. Rave reviews both before and after revealing the ‘secret’ ingredient! Thank you SO much for posting this!
I have been lucky enough to have two different friends make this for my bday the last two years. It is a freaking amazing cake – somewhat labor intensive, but worth it. Also, I am totally making the icing by itself and eating it like mousse in the near future.
I will try it….when do you put quoina in blender? B4 it is cooked or after??
After it is cooked.
I love using odd ingredients in my baking and getting people to guess what it is!!
This cake sounds wonderful!
We’ve made this cake a few times and love it! My almost 9 year old just requested it for his birthday. I’d love to make it ahead – has anyone had success freezing it without the frosting? Thanks!
I have made these many times as muffins with mini chocolate chips. It makes about 2 doz. muffins and I freeze half with no problem.
Thanks, Laurie, and what a great idea!
Did the cake yesterday, but adapted the filling (banana cream with some slided bananas on one layer and some berries on the top layer, it was divine).
thanks so much! this is my new favorite gf-cake i am going to use for all sorts of cakerecipes i have 🙂
now, i am thinking, did anyone ever try a “yellow” cake version of this? the cacaopowder adds to the texture, so i am thinking of using either starch or simply glutenfree flour of some sort to get the same result.
suggestions? experience? thanks!
I tried a yellow version that was a disaster (using more quinoa) so unfortunately I’m no help!
i’ll give it a try and let you know 🙂
i think as the quinoa is too wet, it has to be something different, as similar to cacao powder as possible. thinking of starch or gf-flour or something the like.
i’ll try 🙂
hey! i just tried to adapt the recipe so it would be a yellow cake version. I simply added the same amount of glutenfree flour instead of Cocoa-powder.
it turned out beautifully!!!
the only thing to note is that without the cocoa, you can taste the quinoa much stronger, so i will experiment with some more flavors to make it less dominant, i added a lot of vanilla in this first try today. i don’t actually mind the taste of quinoa at all, but you can tell that something is different to a “normal” cake, where as in the chocolate version, you think it’s just a normal, delicious cake 🙂
i usually add berries now, directly into the dough before baking, in either chocolate or vanilla version (and then you also don’t have the quinoa-flavor-problem).
and i made a marble version, sooo pretty
i’ll let you know in case i perfect the “yellow version” even more 🙂
Thanks again for this, it saves my baking-life!!
We were feeding the sister missionaries from church and one of them needs gluten free. This was my first experience with gluten free baking and quinoa (I know, where have I been?). This cake turned out wonderful. I’m so glad I found this recipe! I followed it exactly! Thanks Mel!
just made cupcakes and simply the best chocolate cake ever. Even my DH that does not like anything just when you mention its gluten free said it was delicious. Thank you!!!
I made this for a party at my kids school a few weeks ago since there are several gluten free teachers… Rock Star Status achieved!!! It was a huge success. They all loved it and the last time I went to the school to volunteer there were several teachers that came out of their classrooms to find me and thank me for the cake. I have even had some of their friends, people that I don’t even know that heard about this “amazing cake” email me asking for the recipe. Don’t worry, I refer them all to your blog!
I have made this cake at least 5-8 times. It is absolutely the best ever. My first attempt was for a Christmas dinner with a gluten free crowd. I made 3 layers 8″ and “Organics” chocolate frosting. (Most all other ingredients were organic too). It was the bomb. No one could believe it was gluten free. I have since made it with the suggested frosting, plain whipping cream and no frosting. The cake is moist and firm. I have to adjust for altitude since where I live any chocolate cake explodes in my oven. For this cake I reduce the soda and baking powder by half and add an extra egg. I do not like it in a 9×13. It comes out different. Not as moist. Really love 3 layers with frosting or whipped cream the best. I also use Sunrise dark chocolate cocoa powder made by Ghirardelli. That puts it over the top!
LOVE THIS! THANK YOU!!!
Thanks for giving your feedback on this recipe, Cherylee! So happy you are loving it!
I absolutely love this cake!! The moist chocolate flavor is so delightful, and you can’t even tell it’s made with quinoa. My kids and my husband absolutely could not get enough of it. I have a request from all of them to make it again soon. I did change a few things though. I cut down the sugar to 1 1/4 cup and I also used 1/2 butter and 1/4 cup avocado oil and it turned out great! I also didn’t make the frosting and just used a chocolate gnache, and it was still tasted yummy. I will have to try the frosting recipe next time.
over the summer i made this cake for a friend’s birthday (she’s Gluten free). she loved it so much she has asked me to make it for a baby shower she is throwing. The mom to be is also gluten free however she has gestational diabetes as well. i’m trying to research this to see if there is anything in the cake recipe i should not use/substitute for something else. would anyone have any suggestions/thoughts? any information is greatly appreciated. thank you!
This is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made! I have made it several times now for social gatherings (both in cake, and cupcake form), and it never fails to receive rave reviews from everyone. And when everyone asks for the recipe, they are shocked to hear the secret ingredient! So much fun to see their face expressions! 😉
Only changes I made: subbed coconut palm sugar, and added 3/4 dark chocolate chips. The chocolate chips add great texture.
Today is my son’s birthday. When I asked him what kind of cake he’d like me to make, he said he didn’t care as long as it’s chocolate. So, since my daughter is gluten sensitive, I decided to give this cake a try. The first cake we baked fell horribly in the middle. This might have happened for a number of reasons. 1. I realized after making it that my baking powder was expired. 2. I processed the quinoa prior to mixing with the other ingredients. 3. My daughter took the cakes out of the oven thinking they were done. I think they should have gone a little longer. I had enough quinoa left over, so decided to just go ahead and try it again right away. When mixing the wet ingredients in my food processor, I turned away for a moment and when I turned back it had gone from a nice cake batter consistency to a thick, congealed, curdled looking mess! I went ahead anyway and mixed it with the dry ingredients (adding a little more milk to get it to the right consistency) and baked it. It turned out great! I’m so happy to have a cake recipe that we can all enjoy together. I used to make a regular cake for the gluten tolerant and a different dessert that was gluten free for my daughter. Thanks for the great recipe.
I made this cake last night after searching for a gluten free recipe that had great reviews. I am so happy I stumbled across this! Quinoa and other gluten free products are now making their to us in Trinidad and Tobago in a wider variety and I was and still am excited about being able to use it for a cake! I’ve been allergic to gluten from birth and I have a small baking business. Someone ordered gluten free cakes and this was the perfect to try for both them and me! I followed the directions provided and my batter was airy and almost the consistency of mousse rather than runny like I read in some comments. I baked mini cupcakes at 325F in a non stick pan for 20 minutes and regular cupcakes at the same temperature and pan for 30 minutes. They came out perfect slightly sunken in the middles which was a plus for me since I topped half of them with a puddle of chocolate ganache and chocolate shavings and the other half I topped with my own buttercream frosting. They are incredibly moist and not too sweet but sweet enough to eat unfrosted and still be delectable. Will definitely make these again very very soon! 🙂 Thank you Mel!
I just made the chocolate cake and am very disappointed. The cake only rose 1/2 inch. Not suitable. I haven’t tasted it yet. But I have to move on to another kind of cake before tonight. Ugh. I followed the recipe to the T.
Holly, I used coconut oil as a sub for butter and I used a 1:1 sub ratio. The cake turned out phenomenally! I also subbed organic raw coconut palm sugar for the sugar and organic coconut milk for the milk since my friend’s diet is both gluten & dairy-free. She and everyone else who tried the cake LOVED it and raved about it for days! Her husband, who never eats sweets and follows a Paleo diet, also loved the cake and she said she had to fight him for the last piece. Hope it works out for you! Enjoy 🙂
wow thank you maria and mel for your responses. made the cake last night. i am SO GLAD the batter makes 2 cakes because the first cake turned out horribly (i only have 1 8″ pan). not sure what i did but even after being in the oven for 45 minutes it still was not done. i think the melted chocolate chips had something to do with it. instead of giving up and throwing out the rest of the batter i put it in the fridge. woke early this morning, decided to try again with the batter from the fridge. I did add a 1/4 cup of cocoa powder (all i had in the house) before putting the batter in the oven. maybe the cold batter was the trick when using both the coconut oil AND melted chocolate chips because the second cake came out beautifully! brought it to work so my coworkers could be my guinea pigs and THEY LOVE IT! it’s 9:30 AM EST and half the cake is gone. can’t wait to make this for saturday’s birthday party.
this evening i plan to make this cake however before i do i was wondering instead of cocoa powder can i substitute melted chocolate chips and also if i was going to substitute coconut oil for the butter is the measurement the same (3/4 cup melted)?
Holly – Others have responded in the comments about using coconut oil…I haven’t but I think they are subbing one for one. You will have to experiment with the cocoa sub as I haven’t tried that and don’t know if/how it will work. Good luck!
Holly, I used coconut oil as a sub for butter and I used a 1:1 sub ratio. The cake turned out phenomenally! I also subbed organic raw coconut palm sugar for the sugar and organic coconut milk for the milk since my friend’s diet is both gluten & dairy-free. She and everyone else who tried the cake LOVED it and raved about it for days! Her husband, who never eats sweets and follows a Paleo diet, also loved the cake and she said she had to fight him for the last piece. Hope it works out for you! Enjoy 🙂
this is the best gluten free cake I have EVER had. it was really moist. and the frosting was great thanks so much for the great recipe
It sucked!!! Was nasty and dry!! Never making again!!!!
I made this cake and it turned out fantastic! my kids even knew it was GF and had still ate it like it was the real deal! I am the GF person of the house and I have to force the kids to try my things.. but not this one!! not a piece left by morning!
I will say though, I did make it as a 9×13 one layer… DON’T do this! it took forever to bake and it was still very wet.. next time I make it I will do two layers! also I did not have everything to make the frosting, so I cheated and used a GF whipped frosting I had on hand..
I am eager to try this cake but I do not have a food processor or blender…..Has anyone tried using a hand mixer….would that work instead?
Susan – Unfortunately a hand mixer won’t be able to do what a blender or food processor can – and that’s to really process the quinoa to a finer consistency. Maybe you could borrow a blender from a friend or neighbor to ensure it will turn out as wonderfully as possible!
I borrowed a food processor and will be making the cake in a couple days…hope it turns out as delicious as it sounds!
Holy smoke-a-roney! What a fantastic cake! Made a dairy free version using almond milk, and coconut oil instead of butter. For icing I used melted chocolate and coconut oil. And between layers I used the icing plus some dairy free cream and mandarin slices. I rarely bake and as we don’t have an oven at the moment, I used our little stove top cooker and a 7 inch pan. And it still turned out great. Moist (even after 5 days), delicious. One of the yummiest cakes, whether you’re gluten free or not. And so easy. Thank you!! Really. The next time I need to “take a plate” I’ll be taking this!
Just had the cake at our Easter Celebration.. and OMG!! Amazing. Looked just like your photos! Tastes fantastic. Never would have guessed it was cooked quinoa. Absolutely amazing.. Thanks to you and Sally for this one!
I wish I had had the amazing experience with this recipe that so many others seemed to have had! I read lots of the comments before making this, but maybe I didn’t read all the right ones before trying it last night? I usually bake by weight, and a resource I found said 4oz of unsweetened cocoa per cup, and it may have been right, but I couldn’t quite tell since the burnt taste kind of overpowered everything haha
My cake was extremely oily/greasy for some reason, and everyone I asked agreed that “clean” means no grease on the knife–especially since I’ve pulled other GF baked items out at that point and they were undercooked–so I let it bake a little longer. I started to get suspicioius after a while, but by that point the cake was way overcooked. (And still extremely greasy, so I guess that’s on purpose to make it moist?)
Sadly, the frosting didn’t work either. Right after it started to thicken the mixture separated suddenly and turned into chocolate butter instead of chocolate whipped cream. So, I’m not nearly as excited about quinoa cake as I was before (and the kids wouldn’t touch it and they love both quinoa and cake), but I think it has potential, so maybe I’ll try it again some other time in the distant future.
I did cut the sugar to one cup, so that could also be a reason for the DRYNESS****** <— I meant dryness
Thank you so much for the delightful recipe. I made this two days ago and it was absolutely delicious and my family devoured it in less than a day! I might have over baked the cake a little because it was a tad bit dry but the delicious frosting was light creamy and mousse-like and quite addicting. I did cut the sugar to one cup, so that could also be a reason for the lightness, but I was going for an extra-dark chocolate cake without a prominent sweetness to it, so it worked absolutely perfectly for me.
I will definitely be making this again, but next time I want to double the cake recipe and triple the frosting recipe because I want a four layer cake completely slathered in this heavenly whipped chocolate frosting. <3
I thank you! Even though my hips and thighs don't 😉
I love this cake!!! I ve made it 3 times..Each time its been amazing…Today I m going to try and do Chia egg instead of eggs..Hope it works out since it s for my husbands birthday!!! Thanks so much for the recipe!! 🙂
Did this work for you??
Mel- this cake turned out absolutely amazing! The cake itself is moist, dense and just the right amount of richness without being too rich to enjoy a full slice. The light frosting balances everything out just right. I made the batter in my vitamix and it purees the quinoa to a very smooth, silky texture and you can’t tell that there is quinoa present by look, texture or taste. I mixed all the wet ingredients in the vitamix and then added the wet ingredients into the dry in a large bowl and mixed with a wooden spoon until combined. This technique will help with those who have struggled with over mixing. Also, I let my heavy cream/semi sweet chocolate mixture sit in the refrigerator over night before I whipped it up in my Kitchen aid stand mixer and it turned out perfect and it came together very quick. This fabulous cake was served to 4 adults and 6 kids and we all LOVED it. To the few people who left poor reviews, make sure you puree the quinoa really well and leave yourself enough time for the frosting mixture to cool in the refrigerator completely and it will turn out great. Definitely a new family favorite for us!
My mother made this cake for my birthday a few months ago and I was so taken by its moist chocolate-y-ness and the super frosting that I’m going to make it for myself today! I’m inviting friends for a cake party so I don’t eat it all myself. I also made just the frosting for my daughter’s vanilla birthday cake (gluten free…she has celiac, so all my baking is GF), and it came out perfectly and is now my favorite frosting! Thanks so much for developing this recipe!
Awesome cake, and I admit I’m no great baker. I can cook only because I can read! Has anyone tried it without the chocolate? If quinoa chocolate cake can be this good, there has to be a way to make a quinoa yellow cake. My quinoa is cooling right now so I came here looking for alterations to make it without chocolate but looks like I’ll be experimenting myself. Thanks for the great recipe.
Karen – I’ve actually tried making this into a yellow cake. It was a complete disaster when I tried it. Admittedly, this is the only cake (the chocolate one) I’ve ever made with quinoa, so I am far from a quinoa-cake expert but I clearly need to do more experimenting. It needs much more structure when the cocoa is omitted and just increasing the quinoa didn’t work for me. Let me know if you come up with an awesome yellow quinoa cake.
I have made this recipe many times. I make them into breakfast muffins and add a cup of mini chocolate chips. I have had issues with the quinoa being crunchy at times and have found that it works better if the quinoa is refrigerated. I also add more baking powder. Last night I made cupcakes and I added a little vinegar to the liquid to get them to rise a little more. That seemed to help. The vinegar reacts with the baking soda to lighten the batter. Personally, I think this recipe is the best cake, gluten free or not. Love your recipes, Mel!
I just made this cake. Thank you for the recipe, it was fabulous. I made it in a bundt pan. I separated the whites and yokes and whipped the whites to stiff peaks, the last thing I did to the cake was fold in the whites.
It was so rich and decadent, perfect with ice cream 🙂
First, let me say I LOVE QUINOA, so YUM! Secondly, I assume it would be OK to use Almond Milk in place of regular milk, but can you suggest any substitutes for the white sugar? We are eating a modified low-carb/paleo diet. Thanks so much!
Debra – I have not tried substituting almond milk or subbing out the sugar. Your best bet would be to read through the comment thread of the recipe to see the modifications that others have tried with success. Good luck!
So glad you didn’t delete it as a previous commenter suggested! It was moist and delicious, a hit in this gluten free household. We’re also egg free and chia worked well as a replacement.
I’m pretty sure the proportion of the cream and the chocolate (for the whipped topping) is off. i’ve already had to throw away 2 batches. I checked other websites for a ganache whipped frosting, and the chocolate is usually about double the whipping cream.
Can’t wait to try this – reviewer above “Kathy” What is your problem? Just because you didn’t like it and had one bad experience out of… how many positive reviews? You come on here telling the author to delete it? Get over yourself, it’s a cake recipe. Obviously you did something wrong – SHOCKING.
I just made this cake (minus the icing because I had some regular better cream icing in the frig I needed to use up) and it was a huge hit with my 23 month old son. I literally had to grab him off the counter to keep him from sticking his face in to it, even after her had two pieces. I should also mention that we do not have any food allergies in my home so my kids are not use to gluten free stuff, and EVERYONE loved this. My husband said it was great as well.
As if you didn’t know before you have a winner on your hands with this recipe! I had signed up for a cupcake contest and did not realize how strong my competitive streak was. I was determined to find the most delicious, allergen friendly recipe available. We have a handful of allergies in our home, dairy, soy, xanthan gum and gluten so finding a cake that tastes like cake (and a winner!) has been challenging. I tried your recipe a week ago and my picky 15 year old said too many chewy bits – note to self – blend more. Next batch, too runny (just had to bake longer) – note to self- blend less. Third batch was just right! I used unsweetened almond milk and earth balance butter for our purposes. Even though they were the only allergy friendly cupcakes at the event we won Mel! So thank you for your inspiration and award winning recipe. It is my new go-to recipe. With a few tweaks I made cornbread the other night but I won’t have Goldilocks over quite yet . . . By the way, my seventeen year old has requested this for his next birthday, which doesn’t seem like an odd request to most people except he does not eat cake! He has always had ice cream cakes or root beer floats. So again from the bottom of my heart Thank You!
I came across this recipe quite by accident. I was intrigued by the quinoa. I was diagnosed with Celiac 7 years ago. I have always loved to bake so I have not had the same struggle as others with good GF desserts. Some are successes and some aren’t!
AS for this cake I always test my GF desserts out on my “normal’ friends/relatives. Such a hit!!! I have give the recipe away many times. My GF friends and family love it too! I followed the recipe exactly as it is— great. The blender works best. Smoother texture. As for the frosting, it has never separate. I always have Hershey’s Chipits semi-sweet chips in the house. The first 2 times I made it , it was more like a decadent frosting, not whipped. Last time I made it I used Chipits (Hershey’s) baking kisses. They are larger and I used 1 cup chocolate with 2 cups whipping cream! Delicious! As others have said, thanks for sharing and this possibly one the best and easiest GF recipes. BTW…love your site and love hearing about your family!
Made this cake today and was shocked at how great it turned out! Two things I would add – rinse and drain the quinoa a few times before cooking it and puree the quinoa/egg mixture in the food processor, not a blender. The flavor of the cake was fantastic – so chocolately you would have no idea the quinoa was even in there!! My only issue was that it fell apart a bit here and there, I think because it was a little too moist. I used a different thicker frosting so that helped it stay together much better. I will absolutely make this cake again – thanks so much for this recipe!!
Thanks for the prompt reply. I made it — it was AMAZINGLY tasty — and was good with buttercream. Thank you – so much – for posting this. I’m excited to make it into a beautiful princess cake for granddaughter (who hasn’t had a decorated cake for a few years now, due to allergies.) Every other recipe I’ve tried was grainy or had strange after-taste. Loved this one. Thanks again!
Question: Planning on making this for niece’s birthday cake. Would this cake be good/stand up to buttercream frosting? Could it be used as a base cake for stacking into layers? Not sure what the texture/flavor is yet – would like to know in advance? Thanks for any guidance –
Leann – I think this cake has a slightly more delicate (some might even say crumbly) texture than a sturdy chocolate cake. If your buttercream is whipped and light, I think you will be fine but because the structure of the cake is different (quinoa vs. flour), the texture and sturdiness is different than a normal cake, too. It might be worth doing a test run if you are wanting to make this for an event. Good luck!
This recipe is amazing. The quinoa cake is now a regular dessert in our household. It is a million times better than the boxed gluten free cake mixes. Love it! Thank you
I made this last night and was very surprised at how wonderful this cake toasted. I used flaked Quinoa and I didn’t use a food processor just a stand mixer on high with the whisk. It turned out great. My son (13) came in after hockey practice and asked for a muffin I said sure. He was raving how good it was then I told him it was gluten free and I asked him to rate it 1-10 he gave it an 8. I’ve made several things with gluten free flour and never liked the after taste or texture. This one was awesome! It’s on my fav list for future cakes that I have to make.
MaryAnne, did you just put the flakes into the wet ingredients or did you mix it with water first as the box directions say?
I am in love with this recipe. I made them for my father-in-law’s birthday (my husband and I are gluten free but his parents are not) and everyone thought they were fantastic. They crumb in a really awesome, rustic way. SO GOOD.
I actually made them as cupcakes, and topped them with some cherry pie filling I cooked down with a little spiced rum, and them topped with the chocolate whipped cream. Sort of a cherry cordial cupcake — he loves cherry cordials.
I’ve tried to make chocolate whipped cream before, and this is by far the easiest, most fool-proof method I’ve found. I’m thinking it’d be great with white chocolate too.
I just made another batch for my OWN birthday, and both the people at work AND school thought they were incredible. I just iced them with chocolate and cream cheese frosting this time. Nobody even knows they aren’t normal cupcakes.
I tried it and it came out amazing! Firm enough, but so moist. I used a 9 x 12 pan and cut into 12 rectangles, plus 2 cupcake ‘tasters’. This version comes in at 104 calories per piece, without frosting.
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (I used Minsley organic cooked quinoa)
1/3 cup milk (almond)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8oz unsweetened applesauce
4 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
I wish I knew how to upload a picture!
I would love to make this for my husband for Valentine’s day. However, he isn’t really a chocolate cake fan, he prefers coffee cake.
Anyone tried making a flavor substitute? I can obviously substitute the cocoa powder for instant coffee, but I would not imagine using a whole cup. I can add to taste in the batter, but I wondered about the lost volume?
I am also considering substituting stevia for 1/2 of the sugar, and halving the butter and making both up with applesauce. Anyone else tried this or similar?
Hi Amanda – I haven’t made either of those changes so I can’t attest for results. I will say that I did try a vanilla version of this and it was an epic fail. The batter is quite delicate and I’m not sure how the instant coffee would sub for cocoa. Good luck!
I needed to make this sugar-free so for the cake, I substituted Swerve for the sugar, one to one. For the frosting, I used a 90% cocoa bar broken up, added the hot cream, and then sweetened with packets of Splenda and Stevia (which I had on hand) to taste. It was a huge hit with my parents who normally can’t have desserts. My husband (who eats gluten and sugar) said it was very good, not too sweet, but rich and chocolaty. So there were 6 gms of sugar in the chocolate bar, but that was negligible for the whole entire cake.
im very nervous. first time making this. is the batter supposed to be watery? I feel like I did something wrong.
Julia – The batter might be a bit on the thin side but should not be overly watery. Did it bake up well? Let me know if you have any other questions. I hope it turned out!
This cake was totally delicious! Very moist and super chocolate taste! It is definitely a keeper!
Also, I have a Ninja blender. That should be able to grind the quinoa up enough, right?
Hi, so I tried this cake today and it’s definitely the best gf chocolate cake I’ve made/tried. I just have two questions. One is, it’s much too bitter for me, is there a way to cut down on that. Two; It’s a bit crunchy. Was yours? Did I just not leave the Quinoa mixture in the blender long enough? Feedback would be very helpful. And thanks for the overall wonderful cake recipe!
Cheyenne – using Dutch-process cocoa might cut down on the bitterness since it has a milder flavor than natural, unsweetened cocoa powder. I’m not familiar with Ninja blenders but I use my Blendtec or food processor to grind up the quinoa mixture. Can you blend it a few minutes longer to see if that helps?
Could you substitute quinoa flour?
Amanda – I’ve never used quinoa flour so I’m not sure of the substitution amount but you could definitely experiment. Good luck!
Sorry if this has already come up, but I am wondering if I can use quinoa flour instead? I don’t have any quinoa, but I have plenty of that.
Hi Leah – I just answered it for Amanda above but I don’t have any experience with quinoa flour so you’d have to experiment. I’m sure it should work I just don’t have any advice. Sorry! 🙂
Wow! My cake didn’t hold together, but delicious? Yes!
This. Is. Delicious!!!! Thank you for sharing it. I made this recipe as cupcakes, exactly following the directions as posted here. I had never cooked quinoa in my life! But it was great, and I discovered I like it. The cupcakes rose up beautifully like muffins and two minutes later- bang- they sunk in the middle. As one to rise up in the face of adversity (haha), I grabbed my trusty pastry bag of tricks and piped the ganache into the sunken middle. Then I whipped up some heavy cream with a little bit of confectioner’s sugar and piped the whipped cream on top. Voila! Looked like I meant for it to happen. I’m hoping this image URL works so that you can see them. Thank you again!
Andrea – so glad you loved these! The pictures is beautiful – I love the two-toned frosting look!
So, I made this cake yesterday and I think I am still in shock of how good it is!!!!! Even my fiancé was loving it and he “thinks” he hates quinoa lol. The cake didn’t rise much so I was a little worried at first but when I tasted it, it tasted so rich and yummy! I used soy free earth balance sticks instead of butter maybe that effected the rising, I am not sure? I also used a can of coconut cream instead of heavy cream and it worked well. I like cold cake so its nice that the cake doesn’t get hard in the fridge! I will be making this again for sure. Do you think this base would make a good vanilla cake?
Kimberly – interesting you should ask about the vanilla variation. I thought it should be pretty easy to convert this cake to a white/vanilla cake but my last two attempts have failed pretty miserably. Gooey, nasty texture. I’m still going to try though and will definitely update if/when I get a good vanilla variation!
I was wondering about a vanilla cake too. Maybe the combination of the quinoa and cocoa was the “magic” of your chocolate cake. What could be used to substitute cocoa with the same results?
The only vanilla/white version of this I tried was an epic fail so I’m afraid I won’t be much help especially since I’m not a gluten-free expert. Good luck if you try anything!
What if instead of cooked quinoa, you blend the quinoa into a flour/powder?
Guys, check my reply somewhere above / below.
i did the same recipe as the chocolate version, but instead of the cocoa powder, just add any glutenfree flour and add some more vanilla flavor (liquid or powdered). the texture is great and the taste is good, too. i made it several times already. also tried half/half muffins (marble), turned out beautifully!!! and soooo yummy! 🙂
Hi Kyle – that’s a good question – I’ve never tried it starting with quinoa flour (dry) so you’d have to experiment. Good luck!
DD made this cake today. It was fantastic! In reading the reviews, I think the success of the recipe might hinge on the kind of blender one has. Our Blendtec pulverized the quinoa into a very appetizing wallpaper paste. There were absolutely no signs of quinoa grains anywhere. I did modify the frosting recipe, using my friend Karen’s Chocolate Whipped Cream frosting recipe instead. (http://karenscookieblog.com/2011/02/09/valentine-cupcakes/) The recipe is similar but uses cocoa, and is simpler to make, in my opinion. Thank you, thank you for sharing such a terrific recipe!
Wow–I was skeptical, but this is SO GOOD! I am new to the gluten free lifestyle, and I haven’t been too happy with the options for baked goods that I’ve found so far. But this cake is fabulous–worth making just because its so tasty, health-benefits aside. Its really moist and fudgy. My only complaint is that the layers baked up really thin, so I decided to do 2 batches, or 4 layers, so the cake (which will be a birthday cake) will have the necessary height. But its so quick and easy that it was no problem to whip up another batch. Thanks!
Hi Mel – I made this cake for my friend who is a celiac (she just had a baby and I was super excited to make dinner so I could make this cake). She and I LOVED it too!! I read the comments above and here are somethings I learned – First I used an 8×8 pan and used half the batter in each pan (I had to make one for my family too). Second, I blended the mixture in a Bosch blender for about 3 minutes. I would have done longer, but babies were sleeping and I didn’t want to mess with nap time. 🙂 Third, I check on the cakes and pulled the oven rack out slightly to look at them and test them for doneness. I would say that they need 28 minutes BEFORE checking otherwise they will sink (like mine did) in the middle…Just my experience. I used a foil pan and it turned out great. The edges may be a bit crispy, but nothing bad. I really enjoyed it. I ran out of heavy cream before I could use it for the recipe, so I just made my own chocolate frosting for the top. It was delicious and I think I will go enjoy another slice. :)Thank you!!
I made this cake today for my father’s birthday and it was truely delicious! Easy simple ingredients that I already had made it perfect for me. It tastes more like a chewey chocolate browny cake, but nobody comlained about that! So yummy, I will definetly make it again!
Oh my goodness! Made these last night, as cupcakes, for a friend and our whole family was surprised! It’s our new favorite now! Thanks for sharing!
I was test trying this recipe tonight before actually going “live” with it at my son’s birthday party. Holy cow!!! Who knew quinoa would actually turn out this way. I do admit I need to process it a bit more next time so there isn’t the quinoa texture but quite honestly this was probably better than any regular chocolate cake I’ve ever tried. I cannot wait to make this for my celiac family members. Thanks for a super easy super delicious recipe!!
I saw this yesterday and made it today and it was delicious. And not just because it’s been too long since I’ve had a decent chocolate cake. But it tastes like a wonderful non-gluten free cake. It’s moist, fluffy without any of the funny after taste that GF foods sometimes has. This is a keeper in my book. I’m not an expert cake maker, so my cake did fall a bit. I noticed I had better luck with mini cupcakes since even though they fell a small amount, it was easy to cover up with frosting.
I had some leftover quinoa in the fridge and decided to make this cake. It was so good! The only problem was that it was a little too crumbly. The cake slightly crumbled apart when I cut into it. Is that normal? I did use coconut sugar instead of granulated white. Not sure if that was the problem. I’d love to make this again for a friend’s birthday, but I definitely need to figure out how to make it more stable.
Tiffany – I haven’t had a crumbly issue (although others in the comment thread have) – did you use the quinoa chilled or at room temp? That might have something to do with it, also, I haven’t ever used coconut sugar so I don’t know if that would make a difference in texture.
I’ve tried to make this cake twice and I’m not sure where I have gone wrong. Both times my cake fell after baking and fell apart when I tried to move them to a plate. My quinoa was room temperature. I don’t know if elevation could also be an issue but it didn’t work, darn. On a positive note, this is the only recipe I’ve made of yours that hasn’t worked for me. I love your recipes and know that I can trust your opinion and taste buds!
I made the cake yesterday hoping to serve it for our daughter’s birthday but had a big problem, the cake layers baked beautifully but after placing them on the cooling rack, i had a major problem in removing the layers from the rack. They either stuck to the rack or broke into pieces!! I had made the frosting so i just used it as a sort of glue. Definitely was not the elegant look that i was after. My guess is that the cake is super fragile. Next time, i will make cupcakes.
This was so amazing!! Thank you!!
Well. I. Never! I’m going to have to try this!
I can’t wait to make this for my GF friend! However, she is also lactose intolerant. Any advice on replacements for the milk? Can I use almond, rice or soy milk with similar results? Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe! 🙂
Hi Maria – if you read through the comment thread, there are a couple people that have successfully made adaptations for dairy-free. I’ll refer you to those comments since I haven’t tried it myself. Good luck!
I made this the other day and used coconut milk and whipped it up after having left it in the fridge for overnight and drained the water. Added a few tablespoons of powdered sugar and cocoa to taste. BEST WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING EVER!!!!
I’ve been GF for a few years now and this is a new one on me also. I’m ready to try cupcakes with this recipe tomorrow. Anything I need to know about baking cups or baking times before I do?
Jennifer – I used normal baking cups (didn’t grease them or anything) and baked for about 15-18 minutes.
Hi Mel, Thank you so much for this AMAZING recipe! I used my Vitamix for 2 minutes to blend and baking took exactly 33 minutes in my oven. For those of you having problems with separation or not getting it to whip, the heavy whipping cream must be SUPER cold. I had to leave it outside in 30 degree weather for about 30 minutes and then it finally whipped up. Took double the time to whip than usual.
My daughter has a severe wheat allergy and is on a gluten-free diet. She’s never had cake before and her 1st birthday is coming up and I was looking for a gluten-free chocolate cake recipe and I came across your site. I was so excited to try and it and just made it today. OMG….I am in chocolate heaven and I cannot believe the secret ingredient is quinoa! I just took some over to a neighbor and will reveal the secret ingredient after they try it 🙂 I will also be sure to post the recipe on my blog and credit you. Thank you again!
As a quick update to anyone who wonders, I made this cake into cupcakes today and it worked beautifully! Made 24 and I baked them for about 15 minutes. They don’t have the pretty domed top like bakery cupcakes, but even though they are kind of flattish, they still taste incredible.
I was just going to ask about cupcakes! I’m on The Virgin Diet (maintenance phase). I’m not gluten sensitive, but I’m sugar sensitive (and a ton of my friends are gluten-sensitive and Celiac). Flour substitutes give me a crazy high and a stupendous crash afterwards. Quinoa, however, doesn’t. I am so thrilled to have found you and this recipe. My birthday is this weekend, so I’m making cupcakes that everyone in my circle will enjoy. Thanks again!!!
Mel, I was pleased to have found this recipe. It gave me hope in my pursuit to find suitable desserts as a gluten sensitive individual. It has been 6 years since I have sought out desserts with respect to my diet. And yours was the first that I tried. Thank you for idea of using quinoa as a base ingredient. That was the “go to” moment for me. Furthermore, I would like to share with you and your followers my personal experience after following your instructions and making a couple of modifications. I also have created a spreadsheet of mine that includes all of the ingredients, amounts and dietary information. Please let me know if this is something that you and your followers might find helpful. I can send you the information for your approval via email if you see the benefit. Again, thank you for opening my eyes to the possibility of using quinoa as a base ingredient in which to build upon.
Hi Richard – I’m very happy that you enjoyed this recipe! Is it possible to put your spreadsheet into a shareable Google doc format? Then that way you could share the link with everyone?
I made this cake the other day and it was fantastic! The cake itself was chocolatey, moist, and you could hardly taste the quinoa.(Though the quinoa that you could taste left an almost nutty taste, that added to the richness) The frosting was delightful! I didn’t have enough time to let the cake sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours so I just placed it in the freezer, and stirred it every 20 min. or so, and it turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!
I made this cake a while ago, and it was amazing! The cake was rich, smooth, and you couldn’t hardly taste the quinoa! (though the quinoa that you could taste left a nutty taste that went great with the flavor) My celiac friends and family loved it and were excited that there was something they could eat! The frosting was indescribable, I didnt have enough time to let the frosting sit in the fridge for a few hours so i ended up putting it in the fridge and mixing it every 20 min or so, and it turned out great! Thanks for the great recipe!
I made this a while ago and it was awesome! The cake was rich, choclatey, moist, and you could hardly taste the quinoa. It was also great for my celiac friends and family members! (though the quinoa that you could taste left an almost nutty taste that made the cake so much better) And the frosting was indescribable! I didn’t quite have enough time to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, so I just put it in the freezer and went to check on it every 20 min or so. Thank you for the great recipe!
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!
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!
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!
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 🙂
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?
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.
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.
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!
Hi.. I would like to know what kind or color of quinoa dd u use?? Thnx.
Hi Jumana – I use white quinoa.
just made this. omg! my new go-to gluten-free cake. everyone loves it! thank you.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Quinoa? Cake? Can’t wait to try it!
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! 🙂
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.
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.
it looks delish!
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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??
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.
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.
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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.
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!
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!
THIS CAKE IS AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS!! Seriously, I was hesitant, but it is delicious! Thank you!!!
Does anyone know if I can turn these into cupcakes and have them not stick to the liners?
Kasumi – I’ve never made them in cupcakes but you might try greasing the liners with nonstick cooking spray.
Sorry, scratch that comment!!! ^^^^^! I read the directions more carefully 🙂 thanks!
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!
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!
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!!
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?
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.
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).
This looks absolutely incredible!! Your pictures are mouthwatering!
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!
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!
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!
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 !
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!
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??
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!
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 🙂
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?? 😉
how long would you bake for standard cupcakes?
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 🙂
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)
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.
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.
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?
Theresa – did you try whipping the ganache mixture anyway? A quick google search for a chocolate buttercream may do the trick.
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???
Made this today and it was amazing! I posted it here on my Gluten Free blog. Thanks for sharing.
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!
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.
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!!!!
oops — typo! I’ll make him another CAKE. 🙂
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.
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!
well, i’m shocked but not appalled–quinoa! this looks amazing, especially since the frosting is practically as thick as the cake. 🙂
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!!
Thank you for the quick reply..will definitely report back after making it:) so excited about the quinoa in it!
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. 🙂
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).
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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!
We love chocolate mouse for frosting at our house, this cake looks delicious. Definitely will be trying it soon.
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.
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!
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!!
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.
You’re kidding me right??? A Quinoa Cake! Who would have thought – it looks simply divine! I can’t wait to try this recipe!
Seriously, I cannot wait to try this on my gluten free friends! I’m so excited about this recipe!!! Thanks, Mel!
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!
Wow Quinoa?! That is interesting for sure. Must try this!
Quinoa. Who knew, right? 😉
…I can’t wait to try this!
Soooooo, this is healthy with the quinoa and all right?
Holy cow! This looks awesome and we don’t even eat gluten free! I never would have thought to use quinoa this way!
I will have to try this one! Thanks for the GF recipe. If you need recipes for flour blends, I have some simple ones.
Mouth open. Jaw dropped. Quinoa freaking cake!!!!
This looks amazing and I was more shocked to read the ingredients, easy ones too!! I will have to bake this soon. 🙂
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!
Thanks Mel, that does make sense about measuring the quinoa. I will be trying this very soon!
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!
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!
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. 😀 <3
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!
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???
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.
I don’t see a reply from Sally. What kind is best? Thank you.
I’ve only ever used white quinoa.
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? 😉
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
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.
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!
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?! 🙂
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!!
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!!
This cake looks truly perfect! Lovely!
Made this for Christmas this year WOW Unbelievable it was the Best cake everyone has tasted !!!
Is this cake best refrigerated or left on counter if not eaten first day?
I like to refrigerate it.
This cake is the best ever and whenever I tell my friends what is in the cake that there is quinoa they are shock 🙂 now every time I meet with my friends I’m ask to make this cake
I wonder if anyone has tried making cupcakes with this instead of a whole cake?
I have and they turned out great!