Saturday, July 9, 2011

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Puddings, cookies, breads, cereal, casseroles, burgers, soup, salad toppings.. I've tried just about everything with Quinoa. Most recipes were an experiment, trying to find new ways to enjoy this high protein grain (it's actually a seed).

While visiting my family, I got a couple of the women in my family converted with my favorite Quinoa/Avocado/Broccoli/Nutritional Yeast Mash. They took me to the health food store and had me walk around and answer questions about supplements and foods they've been wanting to try but didn't know what to do with.

One of my aunts started using cooked whole quinoa in her smoothies. This gave me an awesome idea, Quinoa Protein Powder! It's easy, and if you use the ivory quinoa, the taste is not overpowering (or the color). So, I just grind my quinoa into flour, store it in the fridge, and add to my smoothies!  From what I've read, and I do a lot of food research, such a high percentage of saponin is rinsed in processing that rinsing is unnecessary. But I purchase in bulk, and I'm just in the habit of rinsing everything. So, if you rinse, be sure it is completely dry (talking hours here) before grinding. This powder is super fine and can also be used to thicken soups instead of dairy or rice.

Against traditional thought, all varieties (ivory/golden/black/red) of quinoa are very close in nutritional value. True to anything red, the red quinoa is a source of Vitamin E. But then again, so does the Ivory variety! Red/black quinoa is said to have a few more grams of fiber, as well as a bit higher in calories and protein. The darker varieties seem to take a tad longer to cook, and have a stronger earthy taste (the kind of earthy feel you get from brown rice). Mostly described as 'nutty.'

The benefits seem endless! What can't this grain (SEED!) do? I won't repeat it all here. This is one of my favorite sources for a quick run down on nutritional info.

If you've been using a recipe you love over and over, but it's losing it's luster, you should check out this book. My hubby surprised me with this book when it came out and while some of the recipes are things I had tried, I was thrilled to see them! Tested recipes! Whoo! At their website you can try out recipes as they add them! Two very cool sisters wrote the book.

Last night I made one of my favorite recipes out the book. One of my girlfriends is leaving for Germany for a year (so sad! but so excited for her!). She had a going away party last night and I brought this flourless chocolate cake, topped it with my own icing recipe and freshly picked beach strawberries. It disappeared, as usual, and I finally let out the secret! I love seeing the reactions! "All this time?" haha! Some definitely felt better after knowing. However, I must say, while it is high in protein and gluten free, it is certainly not 'clean' or healthy. I have a 'cleaner' version of my own which I will post. For potlucks, I actually follow the recipe (a rarity for me). Ok, sometimes. Last night I followed it (well with the substitutions- we don't use dairy milk for example). Because it is flourless, the cake always comes out even and the recipe allows for two 8-inch cakes, so it is easily layered and Voila! you have a beautiful layer chocolate cake that doesn't take long at all!
 *Note about cooking time: Mine come out perfect at 35 minutes. I have a gas oven, so maybe that's it... but start checking at 35 minutes.

Instead of typing it out myself.. here it is. I'm positive once you try this recipe you'll buy the book. The first 10 pages are about the history, use and specifics of Quinoa. Nice resource. There is even a baby food section! Really!
The inside was even prettier!

Jo's Quinoa Chocolate Cake (variation on 365 Quinoa Recipe)
2/3 C Quinoa (white/golden/ivory)
1 1/3 C Water
1/3 C Almond Milk (instead of dairy)
4 large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 C Coconut oil (instead of butter) (have used 1/2 C applesauce with great but dense result-cut back on sweetener)
2 tsp Stevia or 3/4 C Honey or 1/2 C Yacon (instead of 1 1/2 C Sugar)
1 C Cacao, Carob or Cocoa Powder (Cacao was really strong, I got headaches, carob was delicious, cocoa was best)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

*note about sweetener: I have tested all three. I listed them in order of preference. Honey tasted amazing, but for the cleanest option, go with stevia (dried, powdered, unprocessed is best). I have never used sugar in the cake. I use honey when I 'follow the recipe' and I still reduce it by at least 1/2 cup.
*note about Cocoa: we used to use carob in place of cocoa until I started raw foods in 2008 and found out about raw cacao. Now, I'm finding I get headaches from it, and I've been pulling away from cacao, cocoa and the like more and more. If you don't care, use Cocoa. It tasted best (and because of the theobromine, most people would get headaches from raw cacao). Theobromine is a myocardial stimulant (heart beats fast). You feel like you are on drugs if you have too much. Which makes sense now when I look back at some of the cacao loving raw foodists I met in Boone.. a little... 'wacky.'

Follow the same instructions for the recipe link above.

Ok, so everyone always wants to know about my chocolate icing. I used to make it with Agave. And started out making it with Avocado for raw brownies. It doesn't seem like it's going to work, but trust me. It will be very thin at first, once it cools.. you have control over the consistency. The colder it gets the harder. So, watch it unless you want to dirty more pans and heat it up and cool it back off again.

Basic Heart Healthy-ish Chocolate Icing
1/2 C Cocoa Powder
6 Tbs Coconut Oil
1/4 C Honey
1/2-3/4 tsp Vanilla
pinch of salt

On stove, in saucepan, melt/combine coconut oil and honey over lowest heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir to fully combine.

Add to the saucepan, vanilla, cocoa and salt. Stir well with fork. For about 3-5 minutes. It will thicken. I usually transfer this to a freezer friendly bowl, then stir. Personal preference.

Once well combined, place in freezer, and check every 10 minutes or so until thickened, but still easily spread (so you don't tear your cake!). Ice completely cool cake.  COOL! Otherwise, it drips all over and what a mess. That goes for any icing.

I like to ice my cake with the icing not too thick, then place whatever pretty yummys I want on top, THEN place in the ridge for the icing to harden (thicken) completely.

Again, to go 'cleaner' omit honey, use stevia or apple juice.


  1. Wow, that cake looks gorgeous! I am definitely going to give this a shot next time I have to make a dessert for a special occasion.. Thanks for posting!

  2. This is my absolute favourite chocolate cake!! (And really, the only recipe I use from the 365 quinoa book) I just made it last week for my hubby's birthday and decided to ice it with a whipped cashew was a little dangerous, to say the least

  3. Im curious if you cook the quinoa before you blend it?

  4. what kind of fruit is on top?

    1. looks like baby strawberries

  5. What a information of un-ambiguity and preserveness
    of precious know-how regarding unpredicted feelings.

    My blog - Prosolution

  6. Sounds like a great treat for someone with gestational diabetes, as long as it's made with Stevia! For the frosting, how much Stevia would be used instead of the honey?

  7. Would flax eggs work with this?


Thanks for your input!

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