This Chocolate Quinoa Cake is easy to make, light and fluffy, and very similar in taste to a traditional cake. It is sugar free and sweetened only with fruit. We love it with my (sweet potato) Healthy Chocolate Frosting.
A Delicious Fudgy Gluten Free Cake
This chocolate quinoa cake was a happy mistake. A very, very happy mistake.
It was developed trying to use quinoa in a brownie recipe. My tests kept coming out too cake-like, until I decided to embrace the fudgy-cake texture and frost it!
It’s a great way to have your cake and eat it too. Had to throw that in there.
If it sounds a bit weird to you, just think about the subtle nuttiness of quinoa, and the delicious “poppy” texture it has. Blend that with a rich chocolate and it makes a slightly dense (in a good way!), moist, incredible cake.
If you’ve never cooked quinoa before, it’s similar to cooking rice. Use this post on how to cook quinoa and you’ll be ready to go!
How to Make a Chocolate Quinoa Cake
This healthier gluten free cake is made from whole ingredients – quinoa and dates, rather than flours or starches.
If that’s appealing to you, definitely check out my Healthy Chocolate Frosting (the first ingredients are NOT sugar and butter!).
Ingredients in Chocolate Quinoa Cake
- Quinoa, cooked to package directions. I find the white quinoa has the most mild “quinoa” flavor, so works best in this recipe. If your quinoa isn’t pre rinsed, be sure to rinse it prior to cooking it! In fact, rinse it anyway, because we don’t want the bitter flavor quinoa can have to come through in this cake. This article is a great resource for why and how to rinse quinoa, and how to cook quinoa.
- Medjool Dates, which are the only sweetener used in this cake. These dates keep the cake sweet and fudgy, and just sweet enough. Medjool dates are available in most produce sections of grocery stores.
- Cocoa Powder – use a high quality cocoa powder!
- Coconut Oil, or feel free to sub another oil good for baking, like avocado oil.
- Arrowroot, to give it a softer and more cakey texture.
- The usuals – vanilla, salt and baking soda.
Easy Steps to Make a Perfect Quinoa Cake
- First, soak medjool dates in hot water. This allows them to soften so they blend up well into the cake batter.
- Second, add soaked (and well drained) dates into a food processor bowl, along with quinoa. Process the quinoa and dates together until the two form a sticky mixture. The quinoa will still have texture, but the dates should be more of a gel texture covering the quinoa.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, sea salt and baking soda, and mix the wet ingredients together by pulsing a few times in the food processor.
- Remove the food processor bowl from the machine, and take out the blade. Add the arrowroot and cocoa powders to the bowl, and use a spatula to mix into the dry ingredients. Stir until no dry ingredients remain.
- Add the thick, sticky batter to a cake pan lined with parchment paper, which will help it easily come out of the pan. Alternatively, use coconut oil spray to heavily grease pan before pouring in batter.
- The batter is thick, so it needs to be spread into an even layer. This is a bit difficult because gravity will not help “balance” the batter in your pan.
- Bake the cake for about 28 minutes.
- Fully cool the cake before slicing. Frost if you’d like, or enjoy it as a snack cake!
Once your cake has cooled, feel free to frost it! Use your favorite chocolate frosting recipe, or keep the whole thing low in sugar by using my Chocolate Sweet Potato Frosting. I’ve gotten rave reviews on this healthier frosting!
Tips for Chocolate Quinoa Cake
- This cake is meant to have some of the quinoa texture, so don’t worry if your batter still has pieces of quinoa– these give the cake an interesting texture, but really aren’t very noticeable.
- Make it Gluten Free: Quinoa, arrowroot, and cocoa powder are naturally gluten free, so this cake is a great option.
- Make it Ahead: This cake makes amazing, firm slices– nothing crumbly here! It freezes perfectly. Just wrap it up tightly in wrap or a freezer bag, and then defrost and store in the refrigerator when ready to use.
Other Sugar Free Dessert Recipes:
- 3 Ingredient Cherry Coconut Sorbet, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Double Chocolate Muffins, by Sunkissed Ktichen
- Blissful Blueberry Breakfast Bars, by Sunkissed Kitchen
- Gluten Free Date Bars, by Sunkissed Kitchen
Chocolate Quinoa Cake
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa cooked (about 1/2 cup raw quinoa)
- 8 1/2 ounces dates*
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
- Line an 8×8 pan with baking paper and set aside.
- Pit dates, and then pour boiling hot water over the dates and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes to soften.
- Drain dates well, and then add to a food processor with cooked quinoa.
- Process for 1-2 minutes until the dates are broken up.
- Add coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla, and process for another 1-2 minutes, until the dates are broken up, but there is still some texture to the quinoa. This can also be done in a high speed blender, but the goal isn’t to have a completely smooth batter, so don’t over process.
- Add cocoa powder, arrowroot, sea salt and baking soda, and then pulse to combine (use a spoon to stir in any dry ingredients after pulsing 5-6 times).
- Pour batter into prepared baking dish, and use a spoon to smooth over the top.
- Bake for 28-32 minutes.
- Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. I fully cool, frost, cut into bars, and keep in the refrigerator.
- Refrigerate for 4-5 days, or freeze for up to a couple of months in a well sealed container.