Quinoa Chocolate Cake


Once in awhile, I come across a recipe that really blows me away – not only because it’s delicious, but because it utilizes some original technique I would never have thought of. This chocolate quinoa cake is a perfect example – it’s not made with quinoa flour, but actual cooked quinoa, whizzed into a batter with sugar and eggs and cocoa, then baked into this rich, dark cake that has a texture better than any gluten-free cake I’ve tried. Just look at it! It tastes as good as it looks.


It comes from Patricia and Carolyn, authors of the superhit cookbook Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood, a book you may have seen practically everywhere for the past few years. It came at a time when quinoa was new and exotic, and people weren’t sure what to do with it. I made this cake years ago, and people keep asking about it – I just realized I never did post it here, and so here you go. I know a lot of you are often on the lookout for gluten-free and/or grain free birthday cakes that are delicious enough to make even for avid eaters of grains and gluten, and this is it.





Quinoa Chocolate Cake

About Julie

41 comments on “Quinoa Chocolate Cake

  1. Robyn
    August 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    What a great way to get a daily dose of quinoa! Thanks, Julie!!

  2. sue/the view from great island
    August 13, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    That looks like the most classic chocolate cake ever — I can’t believe there’s no flour in it, I have to try for myself!

  3. Bobbie
    August 13, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    OOOH this looks good, can you post the frosting recipe too, it looks scrumptious.

    • Julie
      August 16, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      The frosting! Honestly, I can’t even remember. I dump a lump of soft butter in a bowl, add cocoa and icing sugar and a splash of milk and beat it until it turns into frosting.. adding more sugar/cocoa/milk as it needs it. Usually I just wing it!

  4. kickpleat
    August 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I made a very similar cake earlier this year and it was very tasty and moist. Yum!

  5. Lorraine
    August 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Looks delicious Julie. Are you able to post the frosting recipe too?

  6. Stella
    August 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Hi Julie – Just checking…
    In your comments at the top of the page, you indicated that this recipe includes flour, but then in your ingredients — you don’t list flour. Just wanted to check to see which one is a typo.

    “it’s not made with quinoa flour, but actual cooked quinoa, whizzed into a batter with sugar and eggs and cocoa and FLOUR, then baked into this rich, dark cake that has a texture better than any gluten-free cake I’ve tried”

    ps: I LOVE LOVE LOVE your website & watch for each post!!

    • Julie
      August 16, 2014 at 11:55 pm

      Stella! Thanks for the catch. Seriously, my brain has been on island time.. I think I was trying to reiterate there was no flour? or was thinking of flour? or something? I have no idea. But yeah, there’s no flour in this!

  7. Jenine
    August 13, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    Yum! Can you post that delicious looking frosting recipe too?

  8. Megan
    August 14, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Hi Julie, I was expecting a GF visitor tonight (in Melbourne Australia) so made this for her. A few things went awry – the oven elements died, the BBQ with hood ran out of gas, I dropped one of the raw batters on way back inside after the BBQ incident, so I steamed them as puddings!! And the GF visitor did not arrive. Still, they were delicious! Thanks

  9. Jules @ WolfItDown
    August 15, 2014 at 1:40 am

    I love how all the rest of the ingredients are so basic in this recipe! I find that when you use quinoa flour it gives the foods you make that sort of strange flavour, whereas cooked quinoa has a subtler flavour that soaks up whatever you mix it with, this sounds and looks amazing!! x

  10. La Cuisine d'Helene
    August 15, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I have the cookbook and will look at this recipe. I love to learn new techniques.

  11. Allison
    August 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Made this tonight for my family and they loved it! We are dairy free so I used Earth Balance butter and almond milk – it turned out lovely. I love that this recipe is gluten free and also uses simple ingredients I’d already have in my pantry. A true keeper!

  12. Keli
    August 18, 2014 at 10:54 am

    WoW! This was the most fantastic chocolate cake and so easy. Made one last night, first time, turned out so well we ate the whole thing 🙂 Next time, I am going to experiment with reducing the amount of butter and replacing with banana or applesauce. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  13. Renee
    August 24, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Ok, as a gluten free pastry chef, I feel it’s my duty to make this. Looks great!!!

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  18. beth
    March 29, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    question about the quinoa: i’m assuming cooked means cooked, but quinoa expands, so how much will make 2 cups? Does it generally double? TIA. can’t wait to try this recipe!

  19. liz
    April 12, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    i am wondering if you k now how to sweeten this without sugar? i am eradicating sugar from my diet as well as flours and dairy. it sure looks delicious.

  20. Mary
    April 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Beth: The general directions are: Rinse 1 cup quinoa with water and drain. Then combine quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heart and simmer, covered, 10 to 15 minutes until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

    This makes quite a bit–probably more than 2 cups cooked. Seems like a lot when I cook it. You might try 1/2 c. of quinoa with 3/4 cup of water and see if that is enough. If not, then you could just cook a bit more.

  21. Alicia
    April 27, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Sons birthday is coming up. Could I make cupcakes with quinoa chocolate cake recipe?

    • Donna
      August 1, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      Hi Alicia
      Did u make cupcakes
      Did they work
      Baking time?
      Can u advise

    • Donna
      August 1, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Alicia
      Did u make cupcakes?
      Did they work
      Baking time?
      Can u advise

  22. Celestiel
    September 22, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Best chocolate cake I have ever had. And it’s GF!!!!! Delicious Ganache frosting. Not too sweet. Moist. Perfect.

  23. Janet
    October 1, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Could I make this in a 9X13 rectangular pyrex dish as well instead of layers?

  24. Bre
    December 12, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Awesome recipe! Looks delicious!!
    But, please edit for correction. This recipe is NOT grain free, as quinoa is very much a grain. It’s gluten free and flour free only. As someone who is grain free for health purposes, I was excited to find a good looking recipe only to be disappointed seeing that the main ingredient was a grain ????

  25. Anonymous
    December 19, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    What is the chocolate frosting recipe for the Quinoa Chocolate cake? Lease

  26. Helen
    January 3, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Julie, this cake is fabulous! I have been baking with alternative flours for a long time and using black beans in a brownie recipe of ground walnuts or almonds instead of flour. I never would have thought to use cooked quinoa! Bravo for your brilliance.

  27. Bev dyck
    August 11, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    I made this for a wedding and it is just great! I am really happy.

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  32. Cassie Budd
    January 20, 2017 at 10:57 am

    I’m going to have to try this! I love playing around with new concepts and hiding healthier ingredients in baking. 🙂

    • Julie
      January 23, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      It’s definitely very different than any cake I’ve ever made!

  33. Jenn Morneau
    January 7, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Have you tried putting less sugar? Just curious if the taste changes dramatically. I’ve tried cutting the sugar in my mother’s chocolate cake recipe and I like it, but I also make up for it by making lots of butter & icing sugar loaded icing!

    • Julie
      January 15, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      You usually can get away with cutting back on the sugar, but I haven’t tried it in this particular recipe!

  34. Vicki
    September 6, 2019 at 6:28 am

    Made this yesterday in a 9X13 and frosted with Ermine’s frosting. Such a good cake. Very very moist and rich. So easy with ingredients that I always have on hand. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Julie
      September 7, 2019 at 10:02 am

      What a great idea!

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