Amazing Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Gluten free Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Quinoa Chocolate Cake ~ naturally gluten free and one of the moistest, fluffiest, most delicious chocolate desserts I’ve ever had ~ and it’s all due to an unlikely ingredient. This super food cake also happens to be super easy, just whip it up in the blender and enjoy!

A decadent chocolate cake with a secret healthy ingredient!

Gluten free Quinoa Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake challenges a lot of what we think we know about cake. There’s no flour whatsoever in this recipe, but it does include an unusual ingredient…quinoa! By now I’m sure you’ve had quinoa in a salad or a side dish, but I’m guessing you’ve never considered it as a dessert ingredient. Here it takes the place of flour and gives this cake a moist, fluffy texture ~ it was a huge hit with my family of taste testers, and not one of them suspected there was anything unusual in this luscious chocolate cake, until I let them in on the secret ~ who knew?

cutting a slice of quinoa chocolate cake

Quinoa is referred to as an ‘ancient grain’, but it’s really a seed, so, quinoa is naturally gluten free. Like all seeds, it’s a nutritional powerhouse ~ high in fiber and protein, in fact it’s one of the few plant foods on earth that contains all 9 amino acids. It’s a true super food.

For this recipe you’ll need 2 cups of cooked quinoa. (You can use the leftovers from dinner!)  Quinoa needs to be rinsed thoroughly before cooking, but after that it cooks up just like rice. It has a light nutty flavor that is lovely in savory dishes but takes a backseat in this chocolaty recipe. The plumped up grains give it a wonderful light texture that you normally don’t get in a flourless cake.

To cook quinoa: (this will yield about 3 cups cooked quinoa)

  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot.
  • Rinse 1 cup of quinoa well under cold water.
  • Add the quinoa to the boiling water, with a dash of salt
  • Boil for 15-20 minutes.

quinoa chocolate cake just out of the oven

This cake is a breeze to throw together ~ just combine the quinoa, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla in a blender or food processor and pulse until everything is combined. It’s that easy! The cake bakes up beautifully, the texture is dense but very moist, and the top is flat, perfect for frosting.

a slice of quinoa chocolate cake with fork

Speaking of frosting, as you can see, I didn’t skimp on it, so I can’t make any health claims for this dessert.

TIP: You can skip the frosting and give the cake a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a lighter version.

Quinoa Chocolate Cake with fluffy frosting

Try this Quinoa Chocolate Cake on your friends and family without telling them that there’s anything unusual about it at all ~ then get ready for the rave reviews. You can let them in on the secret…or not!

Once you realize how great this cake is, you might want to try my quinoa BURGER ~ that’s right, my Red Quinoa and Black Bean Veggie Burger is made with it too!

Reader Rave ~

“I made this cake last night – without the frosting. It is divine! Have shared it with friends who couldn’t believe that it is made with quinoa and not flour. I love the light texture and moistness. It tasted perfect with an espresso mid-morning today too.” ~ Madhavi

*This recipe is adapted from my friend Mary at Barefeet in the Kitchen ~ Mary has lots of great gluten free desserts on her blog, so check it out!

gluten free quinoa chocolate cake
4.09 from 34 votes

Delicious Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Quinoa Chocolate Cake ~ naturally gluten free and one of the moistest, fluffiest, most delicious chocolate desserts I've ever had!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Author Sue Moran



  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup almond milk or dairy milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoon confectioner's sugar sifted
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder sifted


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray and line a 9-inch nonstick cake pan with a round of parchment paper at the bottom.
  • Melt butter.
  • Put the quinoa, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to combine and then process until smooth, this will only take about 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the sugar, 1/2 cup of the cocoa powder, baking powder, soda, and salt to the bowl and pulse to combine well.
  • Turn into the prepared pan and bake for about 40-42 minutes until a toothpick comes out without wet batter sticking to it. Remember that if your pan has different dimensions, your cooking time will vary.
  • Let the cake cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before turning out of the pan. Be careful when you flip the cake over as it will be delicate. I like to place a plate over the pan and then gently flip both over together.
  • When the cake is completely cool, frost.
  • To make the frosting whip the cream until it is starting to thicken, then add the sifted confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder. Continue beating until thick and spreadable. Don't over beat!
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • Quinoa comes in red, white, and black varieties. I used the common white variety here, but you can use any of them.
  • You can double this recipe to make a layer cake, or bake this up into cupcakes.


Don’t forget to pin this Amazing Quinoa Chocolate Cake!

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Carol Brown
    May 29, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Could you possibly use an alternative sweetener such as swerve?

    • Reply
      May 29, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      I’m not an expert on alternative sweeteners, Carol, but I would think that any granulated sweetener would be ok to swap for the granulated sugar in the recipe. Let us know if you try it!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2017 at 7:51 am

    I made this recipe as cupcakes. I baked them 15-17 minutes. I had 18 small cupcakes. I only made half of the icing to use today, the other half I will make and serve tomorrow.
    Delicious! My first quinoa as flour recipe was a success. Thank you!

    • Reply
      May 28, 2017 at 8:22 am

      That’s so great to know, LaQuita ~ I was thinking of doing that myself! I’m so glad you had success, and thanks so much for coming back to let us know :)) Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    May 24, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Such a terrific recipe! I love the quinoa and am so intrigued. This is a must make. Pinning and sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    May 24, 2017 at 10:23 am

    HI, I just made this and I’m pretty sure it’s amazing….as I was taking it out of the oven, the pan caught an edge and yup, you guessed it, half the cake came tumbling out in a mess! Still, I managed to salvage some (and scoop up some of the messy bits in the oven!) and plopped a couple of pieces in my mouth – truly amazingly light and delicious. So. Instead of cake, I guess it’s gonna be trifle. Who cares? Delicious is delicious! Will definitely make again and hopefully, it’ll come out in one piece – thank you!

    • Reply
      May 24, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Oh gosh, I was cringing as I read this Rose…I’ve been there and done that many times! And you know, quinoa chocolate trifle doesn’t sound half bad 😉

  • Reply
    May 24, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Thank you for the recipe, I tried it and it was delicious. Nice chocolate flavor and moist.

    • Reply
      May 24, 2017 at 6:59 am

      Thanks Lynn, it’s great to get reports back on this cake because I think a lot of people can’t quite believe it can be so fabulous!

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    May 23, 2017 at 4:11 am

    I’ve never seen anything like this before – what a brilliant idea putting quinoa in the cake. It’s so much healthier than traditional chocolate cake so I wouldn’t mind eating an extra piece 😉 Looks so moist too!

  • Reply
    [email protected] is How I Cook
    May 22, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Ok! I will try it. It is hard for me to resist anything chocolate!

  • Reply
    May 22, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I’m completely blown away by this cake Sue — I’ve never thought to use quinoa in baking like this! This is sheer genius and I would never guess by looking at this cake that it’s gluten-free — it looks so moist! Chocolate is something I need daily and I’d love to try this cake. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    May 22, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    Wow! I am so intrigued by this cake. It’s looks so perfectly moist and delicious. And that frosting is a perfect topping 🙂

  • Reply
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
    May 22, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    This looks beyond amazing! So incredibly light and fluffy!! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that there is quinoa in here!! Mind blowing, girlfriend! This is the end all, be all of chocolate cakes! Cheers!

    • Reply
      May 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      I don’t think anyone would ever guess in a million years if they didn’t know!

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