Quinoa Chocolate Cake

I had heard a lot about the quinoa chocolate cake recipe in Quinoa 365, but up until now I had never given it a try.  You all know that I am not that big on sweets to start with.  On top of that, while I really like Quinoa 365, some of the recipes are just plain unhealthy.  Take this one, which started out with 3/4 cup of butter and white sugar!  Now, I realize that a little butter isn’t going to hurt.  I mean, even Clean Eating magazine dedicated an entire article this month to why butter isn’t as bad as its cracked up to be.  But still, when you get into the 3/4 cup of butter + white sugar you are sort of out of the “healthier” dessert range in my book.

My adaptation of this quinoa recipe was my first attempt to make it healthier, and I am happy to say that the results were absolutely delicious!  My boys (and husband) absolutely loved this quinoa chocolate cake!  I didn’t tell them it was quinoa, not flour, and no one even asked.  And, they were gone within two days if that tells you anything.

I choose coconut palm sugar because it is low on the glycemic index.  After reading about it on Natural News, it has quickly become my go to sugar alternative.  It tastes so yummy its hard to believe that it isn’t every bit as bad for you as white sugar.

One thing I want to mention is that I did cook it in small individual dishes and while I think the batter would fill two baking pans, I didn’t test this out for myself.  (The original recipe said that it would – it looked a little light on volume but that could have been all the little boy testing going on.) Oh, and whatever you do don’t let your unruly kids near the oven when you are checking for done-ness.  They just might slam the door and cause your cake to fall.  (The taste will still rock though.)

quinoa chocolate cake

Next time, I will try skipping the butter and doing 1/2 walnut oil and 1/2 applesauce.  I will also try cutting the sugar back just a bit an seeing if anyone notices.

My husband said they reminded him of Little Debbies.  I’m still trying to figure out if it was a complement, but based on how many he ate I’m taking it as one.

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

  • Adapted from Quinoa 365
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 inch round or square baking pans. Line with parchment.
  2. Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Add 2/3 cups of cooked quinoa, butter, applesauce and walnut oil. Process until smooth.
  3. Whisk together coconut palm sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture and combine until well blended. Divide between pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. (Or, if cooking in individual serving size pans, cook for about 28 minutes) You know the cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely prior to serving.
  4. Frost if desired.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

Calories: 309

Fat: 12.4 g

Protein: 7.3 g

5 :  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Recipe by Cooking Quinoa.

  • Vincent Polisi

    These were absolutely fantastic!

  • Ron

    I would not worry about the butter. I cook with butter and olive oil and my cholesterol is great. The sugar on the other hand is a real issue.:)

  • Denny A.

    I have tried the Quinoa 365 recipe and it tastes great. But I am trying to eat a little healthier and your modifications of the sugar and adding applesauce make sense. I am going to try this modification and see if I can tell the difference. Thanks Wendy for the healthy ideas.

    • Wendy Polisi


      You are welcome! I hope you enjoy!

  • William

    That does look tasty. I've never had quinoa, I don't think; what is it, exactly?

  • Carla

    This looks terrific! It's a great way for people who aren't familiar with quinoa to get their feet wet, so to speak. Personally, I'd probably eat tennis shoes if chocolate were involved. 😉

    • Wendy Polisi

      Carla, You can't even tell there is quinoa in it! It really is a great intro to quinoa for the chocolate lover!

  • Tammy

    I love your recipes but is there any way you could add the carb count to nutritional values so I can calculate the weight watchers points?

  • Naomi

    I also don't use white sugar or any derivative of cane sugar but will eat foods sweetened with fruit juices, maple syrup, honey or agave. Is there any alternative for the coconut palm sugar, can you use agave instead? I know this affects the ratios of liquids in recipes. Thanks!

    • Wendy Polisi

      I haven't tried it this way but I'm sure you could as long as you adjust the liquids.

      Sent from my iPad

    • CherylWhite

      I agree with Naomi, don't use white sugar at all, but I've found a product called NewSweet. I'm diabetic and it works great, doesn't raise my blood sugar at all. And it's easy to cook with.

  • Tasha Y.

    I will definitely try this recipe. I’ve been substituting an all natural sugar substitute that I found called NewSweet. I don’t think you can buy it at stores, but I buy my online from the website. It tastes like sugar but it’s good for diabetics (me) and if my recipe calls for a cup of sugar I can just use a cup of Newsweet, so I don’t have to adjust my recipes.

  • Tim

    This sounds really good. Does the flavor of the walnut oil come through, or is it just used for moisture?

    • Wendy Polisi

      Really just for moisture…feel free to use another oil. Though I think olive oil would be too strong…organic canola would be good.

  • Natasha

    Would you be able to use grape seed oil instead of walnut oil? I made these once already and they were delicious, they completely fell apart, but they were so good I didn't care and neither did my students.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Honestly, I think any oil would be fine other than olive due to the strong flavor.

  • jan

    While the recipe looks terrific, I'm especially interested to find out where you got those cute little cake "cups"?!?

    • Wendy Polisi

      I think they were from Pier One on clearance.

  • CherylWhite

    "Next time, I will try skipping the butter and doing 1/2 walnut oil and 1/2 applesauce.

    So if we delete the butter… then you would add 1/4 cup PLUS 1/8 cup each of applesauce and walnut oil?.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Yes, that is what I was saying. I haven't tested it though!

  • CherylWhite

    Just finished making the cake. I didn't realize that the 2/3 c. cooked quinoa meant that you should COOK 2/3 c.quinoa and then use 2 cups of it in the cake. My "cake" turned out to be a very rich chocolate pudding that was delicious. Have a new cake in the oven now using 2 cups cooked quinoa. :)

  • Jan Marie

    I will have to try this cake recipe! My husband LOVES chocolate anything. I've only been cooking quinoa seriously about 5 months. It is awesome!!! Not only tastes good but gives you the needed protein in your diet — much better source than meat and dairy for sure! I've made rice pudding using cooked quinoa instead of rice… excellent… and substituted agave syrup for sugar. I put cooked quinoa into a regular broccoli raisin salad and it tasted the same but viola! You have protein now in it!!! I just add it to my favorite stir fry recipe, add it to most any salad… possibilities are endless and then you share such variety of ways to use it we've got it made! I was fortunate that the bag of quinoa that I bought was organic and prewashed or I might have had "bitter" results! I usually still rinse it.
    Thank you Wendy for sharing and I enjoy your blogs as well. God bless!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Hi Jan! Hope you enjoy this one! So funny that you should mention the quinoa pudding because I have a recipe coming up this week. I also add quinoa into so many different things, its a great way to "bulk up" a dish. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  • Amanda W.

    I absolutely love this recipe, and it is baking right now in my oven. While waiting I was reading the comments section and have a question. Was i supposed to use 2/3 c. uncooked quinoa and add the yield of that? Please help!

  • Jeanette

    In the comments section there are questions about how much quinoa to use. The recipe says 2/3 cup COOKED quinoa. To me that means that you take the quinoa out of the package, say 1 cup, and cook it. From that you take 2/3 cup.

    When a recipe says "2/3 cup cooked quinoa" you use quinoa that has been cooked.
    When the recipe says "2/3 cup quinoa cooked" you take the quinoa and cook it and use the resulting quantity in the recipe.

  • Suzanne

    Made this yesterday, omitting the butter (didn’t want to wait for it to cool) and using more oil and applesauce, as instructed.
    I also used less sugar since my cacao powder was sweetened.

    Super easy to make, and it turned out GREAT! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Wendy Polisi

      So glad you enjoyed it Suzanne!

  • Wendy Polisi

    I will have to look into that Cheryl. What is in it?

  • CherylWhite

    It's made with Trehalose and just enough stevia to bring sweet level up to refined sugar. But it doesn't cause blood sugar levels to rise. By itself, Trehalose has a LOT of health benefits too. All kinds of medical research using it. You can get it at NewSweet.com.

  • Wendy Polisi

    Thanks for the great info! I will definitely see if I can find it.