Best Ever Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes...Gluten Free!
Happy Valentine's Day!
This recipe has been adapted from a layer cake from the Quinoa 365 cookbook (which for me didn't work out very well initially). I was determined to tweak baking times and procedure because the cake held promise. You will require 2 cups of cooked quinoa. This is best done with quinoa that is not over-cooked. Mine was cold; straight from the refrigerator.
I purchased my quinoa from Costco. It's organic and you don't have to rinse it...but I do anyways. I also used a rice-cooker to cook my quinoa. The original recipe calls for 2/3 cups uncooked quinoa and then it tells you to cook it (leaving you leftover quinoa to store away). I made 1 whole cup of uncooked quinoa and this allowed for more leftovers (so I can make something else with it).
My first attempt with the quinoa chocolate layer cake resulted in squidginess. It was kind of wet and not too pretty but I knew that the flavour was good. No soapy quinoa flavour detected. Good thing.
My cupcakes were lined with jumbo (or large) cupcake liners. The recipe yields 12 cupcakes. I used my Vitamix to blend the quinoa and all the batter ingredients together. Then I filled the liners with the batter. The batter was just enough for the the jumbo liners. They were filled more than 3/4 full.
The cupcakes looked and smelled promisingly chocolatey in the oven. They puffed up and then when taken out they fell a bit. However, they tested clean with a cake tester. No crumbs. I baked the cakes for 30 minutes and they came out perfectly. Not squidgy!
Unlike the layer cake, the cupcakes are sturdier and the crumb isn't wet. It is super moist and not a note of quinoa is detected. My daughters didn't even know there was quinoa in it. They didn't think it was gluten free. Not a speck of flour was required in the recipe. In fact, you could probably make it dairy free by substituting the milk with coconut milk and coconut butter. I think that the eggs are pretty important for the structure though. I have no idea if egg substitute would work because we're okay with eggs and I probably will never attempt it. If you try it and it works, let me know!
The recipe calls for 1 cup of cocoa powder. I imagine that lends quite a bit of structure and flavour to the cake. Don't skimp here. Get good cocoa powder. I have used Callebaut.
The Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes do not require frosting. They are scrumptiously moist without it. I sent one to school for Bebe's recess snack. When I asked her how it was after school, she said it was so yummy! I told her it was gluten free and she said it sure didn't taste like it!
Can you imagine a chocolate cupcake that's moist, healthy with all the goodness of quinoa and doesn't require a frosting? I inhaled my cupcake and encourage you to try this excellent reincarnation of the quinoa chocolate cake recipe. I'm never going to go back to making it in layers. This rocks with a glass of cold milk too!
Now, I had to bling these babies up for Valentine's Day for my loved ones. I made chocolate lace hearts on parchment paper. I grabbed a bar of Lindt Dark Chocolate (70%), microwaved to melt it in a custard cup and made a parchment cone to free-hand drizzle some hearts. I let them set and them wedged them in a little dollop of buttercream atop the cupcakes. I encourage you to top these with the Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream from HERE.
If you like dragées, use them for sparkle. I personally don't like their crunch. My daughters love all sprinkles and go crazy with them. To each her own.
I thought this particular ivory white dragée made the cupcake look so elegant. It might even make a good Wedding Cupcake! Imagine a Celiac Bride/Groom who could finally eat their own wedding cake worry-free?
I haven't had such a good cupcake since my most popular post THE BEST CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES EVER. Even when I don't post anything, people still seem to land on that old post and I still get lots of commenters telling me how yummy it is.
Well, this Quinoa Chocolate Cupcake is in contention to beat out that recipe. In fact, I think it's better. It's faster to whip up (in a food processor or blender), it's cheaper (uses cocoa powder) and it's moister. Above all, it's healthier because it doesn't use white wheat flour; but it has all the goodness of the extra protein from the quinoa and it tastes amazing.
I'm very excited to have you try this recipe as cupcakes. Try it and let me know what you think. Will this quinoa chocolate cupcake knock the liners off my popular go-to chocolate cupcake recipe using regular flour? I'm converted. How about you?
BEST EVER QUINOA CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
adapted from Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood
Makes 12 large scrumptious cupcakes
- 2 cups cooked quinoa, cold (see note below for instructions to cook quinoa)
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cups butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
*1 muffin tin (large cups, large cupcake liners) with 12 wells.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the muffin tin with the 12 large-sized cupcake liners.
- In a Vitamix, Blender of Food Processor, combine: milk, eggs, vanilla. Blend until combined. Add 2 cups of cold cooked quinoa and the melted butter and continue to blend until smooth.
- Dump in the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the Vitamix. Blend well to combine.
- Pour from the blender directly into the cupcake liners, evenly distributing the cupcake batter between the 12 liners. Gently tap the tin on the counter to ensure there are no air bubbles. Smooth the tops with a small spatula (or your finger!)
- Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 30 minutes.
- Test the cupcakes for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a rack.
- Frost if desired with Swiss Meringue Buttercream using a 1M Wilton tip. Decorate with the chocolate lace hearts (see post above for the easy method I used). Bling it up with dragees if desired.
- Cupcakes can be stored sealed in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month. But I don't think they'll last that long.
Note: Bring 2/3 cup raw, rinsed white or golden quinoa to boil in a heavy saucepan with 1 1/3 cups water. Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered saucepan on burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and allow the Quinoa to cool.
Rice Cooker Method: Cook rinsed quinoa as you would rice, following manufacturer's instructions and the indicator lines for appropriate water levels. I made 1 cup quinoa and found it had enough leftovers to make another dish.