Monday 13 February 2012


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?

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.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the muffin tin with the 12 large-sized cupcake liners.  
  2. 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.
  3. Dump in the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the Vitamix.  Blend well to combine.  
  4. 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!)
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Test the cupcakes for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester.
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan and allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a rack.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.


Sara said...

These sound amazing! I bake for a church event once a month and I always like to have a gluten free option for some who attend, and these will definitely be going on the menu sometime soon!

Stefanie said...

What a wonderful idea for making them gluten free! These look so decadent! Just looking at them, I never would have guessed they were GF or had quinoa!! Amazing cupcakes and beautifully decorated

Zoe said...

Quinoa chocolate cupcake! This is an amazing recipe! Will bookmark this.

ilovecooking said...

Wow, I didn't know you could make cupcakes out of quinoa. I like that you can't even taste it in them too. If these were dairy-free, then they could be eaten by anybody. I think it's easy to use egg substitute in place of eggs. I read vinegar works well, but I dont know how that affects taste.

Happy Valentine's Day!

thelittleloaf said...

How cute are those little hearts? And I love the idea of a moist healthy chocolate cupcake...definitely going to try :-)

Jodie said...

These look delicious and I love the chocolate heart on top!

amlamonte said...

oo these look fabulous! you are mastering this gf thing, and i am following in your footsteps!

Unknown said...

These sound good! I'd have never thought to use quinoa

Anonymous said...

I just finished baking these and they are amazing! A few weeks ago I baked your Best Cupcakes Ever which were divine. I think I agree with you, these will now replace those. I make dishes with quinoa but never would have thought that baking with it could turn out like this. Thank you so much for all your efforts!


Connie the Cookie Monster said...

i keep coming back to this post. the cracks on those cupcakes look gorgeous! and who knew quinoa could be used in baking? i for one surely didnt!

Cakebrain said...

thank you so much for reaffirming my belief that these are even better (due to their healthy benefits) than my "go to" recipe using wheat flour. I think in the long run, you'll feel better about it! :)

it's a must try because the cupcakes come out so moist and delicious!

Anonymous said...

I am waiting for my quinoa to cool and I'm definitely baking these now!!
I'm guessing this base can be turned into all different kinds of cupcakes and muffins right?

Cakebrain said...

Hey Anon,
Funny you should say that. I was thinking of making other things like banana cupcakes, coconut cupcakes etc but I never do it because I love chocolate. So I've never gotten around to it. I am a bit worried though about substitutions because the cocoa powder acts like a flour and you'd definitely need something to replace it with like ground almonds or coconut flour or something. I don't know. Let me know if you ever make them into something else. Whenever I have quinoa, I make chocolate cupcakes and nothing else because it's so good

Anonymous said...

I just made these cupcakes in the form of lemon coconut cupcakes. I put in 3/4 cup of shredded coconut, 3/4 cup of sugar (because I didn't want it too sweet),3/4 cup coconut oil and 1/4 tsp lemon extract.
Next time I will bake longer and I would use 1 cup coconut flour because I thought the texture was a bit "eggy". Not sure why? I don't bake that often but cupcakes that are healthier is definitely a reason for me to start baking weekly:)

Cakebrain said...

Bravo! sounds fabulous! The egginess may indeed be a result of not having enough flour for structure. The chocolate ones aren't eggy at all because the cocoa powder absorbs all the moisture. Maybe if you had added some coconut flour it would have helped. Shredded coconut would probably not have much of an affect on helping with creating a cake-like structure to the crumb. Definitely yours sounds very healthy! Happy baking!

Anonymous said...

Please do different variations!! I will follow the recipe and use carob powder(because its what I have home) with a bit of chocolate chips. The lemon coconut was tasty but I don't know enough about baking or even gluten free.

Andrea- Vancouverite in TO said...

I have baked both the quinoa and the "best ever" cupcakes about a million times each. They are both great. I love just dumping everything into my Blendtec for mixing. For this reason, and of course the amazingly moist crumb, the quinoa cupcakes win. We always use the Swiss meringue butter cream and coloured dragges (my little girl loves them). Today we even made the little chocolate hearts. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Cakebrain said...

Hey Andrea,
Thank you so much for your comment! I too love the dump-it-in-the-blender recipe! I'm glad you're loving it! It's my go-to recipe now because it's healthier than the flour-based cupcakes. Yay!

Barb said...

Wow, these definitely are all you said. After eyeing the quinoa brownies on President's Choice website for a while I saw these and it was my incentive for trying it. My GF hubby loves them and the kids were bartering for the mini ones I made.

Cakebrain said...

I'm so happy to hear your whole family loves the cupcakes! Haven't heard about the President's Choice brownies...will have to check it out! However, these cupcakes really are so easy you don't have to buy premade stuff, right?

Mrs E said...

I made these the other day and they were gorgeous, if a little 'bitty'. I thought I'd be able to pass them off as regular cupcakes with the family but my daughter did ask what the little bits were. I personally like the texture but wondered if they are supposed to vbe loike this. What could I do to make the texture smoother?

Cakebrain said...

Mrs. E,
In no way should the cupcakes be a little "bitty"...I take that to mean that they are lumpy? Did you follow the instructions exactly? That is, did you process the entire mixture in the food processor or blender until smooth? Did you COOK your quinoa first? If you used raw quinoa, you would indeed have chunky, granular cupcakes. These cupcakes should be the moistest, smoothest cupcakes you've eaten! Good luck and do let me know if you missed a step or two because it's almost impossible to have granular cupcakes with this recipe.

Mrs E said...

Oh I did cook the quinoa first! (Dippy I may be, but I'm not a complete fruitcake!)I either didin't cook it long enough, or I should have used the blender (i.e. with a blade attachement) rather than just whisking the mixture. Fear not though, I'm definitely going to give it another go. x

Cakebrain said...

Oh Mrs. E!
I think for sure it's because you did not use the blender or food processor. The cooked quinoa must be cooked enough (test by tasting) and after blending, your batter should be smooth. Whisking will not work as well because the quinoa doesn't break down. Good luck! do have another go at it!

Mrs E said...

Success!! Used the food processor this time and they came out perfick!! Thanks for the scrumptious recipe and the advice x

Yvette Proctor said...

I used Orgran Egg Substitute/Replacer and it worked a treat :)

Anonymous said...

If I use standard size cups, how many minutes should I bake them? I don't want to overbake them! Thanks :)

Cakebrain said...

I've never baked them in standard cups. If you do, you'll need to use two pans because otherwise the batter will overflow. You'll obviously will get more than 12 cupcakes then. Fill to about 2/3 full. I'd start checking at 18-20 minutes. You should look at them through your oven window. If they look wet in the centre, leave them in there. If they have puffed up, they're almost ready. When they're no longer shiny on the surface, give it the old toothpick test. Depending on your oven and how much you filled the cupcake wells and whatnot, I'd guess 18-23 minutes.
These don't get dry easily like other recipes. They're way more forgiving because of the cooked quinoa. Just make sure you use a food processor to blend the batter!

Anonymous said...

Hi again. Anon who asked about the standard size cups here.

I made the cupcakes and they turned out perfect. I received so many praises. The times you suggested were definitely helpful! The quinoa was still warm when I put it in the blender, but it did not affect the outcome. Other than that, I followed the recipe exactly and will be doing it again this week.

The Swiss meringue buttercream was a great match for this cupcake. It was light, not too sweet, and held up so well.

Thank you so much for this recipe!

Cakebrain said...

hey anon with the standard cups!
thx so much for letting me know how it went!

So glad you realized success with the recipe. It's very adaptable and so yummy.

You're welcome!

Kathleen said...

Yummy, these chocolate cupcakes are amazing. I'm not usually one to play with a recipe, but I gave it a go and altered the recipe to make 'vanilla' cupcakes... I replaced the cocoa with 1/2 cup of coconut flour and replaced the milk with coconut milk, because coconut flour absorbs more liquid than cocoa I added another 1/3 of a cup of coconut milk, I also added 1/2 tsp of baking powder just in case. They turned out pretty tasty as well!

Cakebrain said...

so glad it worked for you too!
I have been replacing the butter with other oils and using coconut milk or almond milk to replace the milk. Yes, it's a pretty adaptable recipe. I've got to try your vanilla rendition soon! (but find that I so difficult sometimes because i love chocolate!) thx for the input!

Basset Certification said...

That looks really good and mouthwatering! Will make this for this weekend. My mother and siblings will be ecstatic with this.

Anonymous said...

I am from Singapore and I am a fan now! I tried the chocolate cupcake and the swiss buttercreme meringue and I thnik I have mastered both of them. I will try this tonight, and will let you know how it goes!

You rock!!! ~ Mr. Baker!

Cakebrain said...

Mr. Baker! aw shucks! thanks for making my day :) hope you find this recipe as satisfying as I do!

AussieCakeLover said...

I love this! Last time I only had red quinoa so tried that instead... Was absolutely fabulous, though the quinoa itself is a little sweeter do next time I'll cut back on the sugar a little. Thanks so much!

Sardius said...

Awesome recipe! Served them at my bookclub this morning and they were very popular - all the ladies except me are GF.
I whipped a batch of these up on Sunday - delicious! I replaced the milk with almond milk and the butter with coconut oil. I found the better too thick for my Vitamix, though. It short ciruited the blades and I had to keep the stick thingie very active to get it to mix at all. I also couldn't get all the batter out and into the cupcke papers so they were a bit smaller than intended. The leftover batter did make a delicious milshake afterwards! I made antoher batch on Monday, this time with butter and in a conventional kitchen aid food processor. There were idenitifiable quinoa remnants detectable by both eye and taste. I think the solution is to do everything BUT the cocoa in the vitamix then transfer to the food processor. More washing up but the cupckaes are worth it. I or my friend will try this with stevia and see if we can't go surgar-free as well. We'll let you know!

Cakebrain said...

sounds like a yummy idea!
ooh...too bad about it not working in your Vitamix. I use my Vitamix with no problems, but I do start it out slowly with the liquid ingredients first and gradually build up to speed. I blend until all the quinoa is smooth. I've never had it conk out on me. When I use my KitchenAid food processor, I also don't have a problem and I just dump everything in. I do process it until the quinoa is no longer discernible visually. I cannot detect any quinoa flavour or texture. Perhaps you need to cook your quinoa longer before using it? let me know how stevia works! :)

Heather Stewart said...

I cannot wait for my cupcakes to cool down enough to taste them! I made minis, so I turned the oven down slightly and they were ready in about 20 mins...the little bit of leftover batter was scrumptious - like the silkiest chocolate pudding :) my l'il Oster blender had some trouble mixing it all after I had added all the dry ingredients, so I added just enough cream to smooth it out.

Heather Stewart said...

Absolutely delicious!

L. Genelle said...

I baked these last night. Fantastic!!!! They tasted like brownies but so light and airy - it just melted in your mouth! I have added this recipe to my list of favorites. And you're right, they don't need a bit of frosting! Next time, I'm going to try it with egg replacer.

Cakebrain said...

@Heather, yes, sometimes even my Vitamix struggles if I'm not a food processor would probably be better if your blender isn't powerful enough. Glad you likd the cupcakes!
@L. Genelle, thanks for telling me! yes, they taste so chocolatey delicious, but not overly rich; leaving a sort of clean feeling in the mouth...and don't require frosting. They are also very adaptable and probably egg replacer will be just fine since the recipe is not finicky.

Anonymous said...

I baked these last night because I was craving DARK chocolate. I wasn't looking for a GF recipe, but I was glad to try it since I have a nephew with Celiac's.

Used my Vitamix, and yes, the batter is very, very thick, like pudding! Definitely made use of the wand.

I only had standard sized cupcake liners, so I used those and was able to make 19 cupcakes. I baked these in 3 batches so I could test out times. I ended up leaving in the last batch of cupcakes in for 35 minutes! These cupcakes definitely are not finicky and are very forgiving.

I couldn't wait for them to cool before digging in, and I'd have to say the texture tastes like the cupcakes just aren't done. I left the cupcakes out overnight uncovered because I was tired. This morning, they tasted great!

So, my takeaway is this is a great recipe. Great chocolately rich flavor! Bake as long as you can to combat the undone-ness texture, and then let fully cool uncovered before enjoying.

Thank you for this recipe! It's definitely a go-to.

Cakebrain said...

hey anon,
glad everything worked out...and indeed the recipe is very forgiving.
You can use grapeseed oil/veg oil/coconut oil instead of butter; you can use egg replacer; you can use red quinoa instead of regular...and finesse your way with other sweeteners too.

I <3 the recipe. Depending on your oven, yes, baking times can be different for people. My oven is good for 30 minutes with these babies. I also use large cupcake liners and get 12 cupcakes exactly. It's my go-to chocolate cupcake recipe now. I can't say enough about it! Thanks for your comment!

mpatterson said...

Has anyone used regular granulated sugar? Where can I get organic cane sugar? Can't wait to try this recipe! Thanks!

Cakebrain said...

Use whatever sugar you have. I have used granulated white sugar, other readers have used agave or honey or date sugar...the possibilities are endless. Do not be afraid to substitute.

Amber said...

These look amazing! Just a few quaetions.....I am in England so I am hoping coverting from cups is succesful. is cane sugar caster sugar?

Cakebrain said...

thanks for your kind words! I think it would be easy to convert. You can replace cane sugar with regular caster/granulated sugar.

Anonymous said...

I used coconut milk in place of cow's milk and the cupcakes tasted the exact same!

Unknown said...

Just made these today.......yummy! Although I could feel the odd bit in them, but I know that's because I used my food processor as opposed to my blender, I think my blender should blitz the quinoa better.
After the kiddies have eaten their tea, I plan to make the meringue butter cream! I've made normal butter cream before, but this method has always made me feel a little nervous, possibly because I have to heat the sugar and eggs, and also, I have a plastic bowl not a metal one! Hopefully a wipe around with some lemon juice will eliminate any traces of oil........wish me luck!!!

AmLi said...

I swear.... I've made these 4 times in the last month!!! And... right now I'm making them again per request for a baby's first birthday party! I just love quinoa, and quinoa and chocolate, oh my! Thanks so much for this recipe, yummy! To mpatterson: my Costco now sells organic pure cane sugar as well as organic quinoa, so you might want to check that out. :)

Cakebrain said...

AnnaBell and AmLi,
I too love this recipel...have been baking nothing but for a while...thus my food blog is suffering from lack of new posts! lol!
My Costco stopped carrying the organic pure cane sugar :(
Yes, that Swiss Meringue Buttercream is awesome and suits this cupcake. Do try it!
yay! more people lovin' this cupcake recipe! I can't ask for more!

Henrietta said...

I was lucky enough to taste 1 tonight! Thank you so very much Cake on the Brain for thinking of me! It has been very hard to find yummy Gluten free treats that taste exactly like a wheat/gluten option. It was absolutely delicious and I am definitely attempting to make these tomorrow!
I love your blogs and recipes!

Cakebrain said...

So glad you liked the cupcake! There's no need to eat dry tasteless cupcakes when you are GF! We deserve better!

Kat said...

Thank you SO much for this recipe!! I would absolutely put these cupcakes up against any "regular" cupcake recipe. And I made regular chocolate cupcakes this week, so I have the two to compare! I cannot believe how beautiful and tasty these cupcakes are, even without frosting. I am excited beyond words to find a cupcake that I can give to my kids without guilt. Love it!

Cakebrain said...

Hey Kat,
yay! another convert! I totally don't bother making any other chocolate cupcake recipe anymore. I make this one. Now if I can only come up with a vanilla or banana version, my life will be complete!
So glad you like the recipe. thanks for the made my day!

Suzanne Leigh said...

I love the taste of these cup cakes.!!!!!!!
Only problem,,,,, they sink in the middle big time!
What consistency is the dough before you bake it?
Maybe I need to use more quinoa to make it thicker?
Pack it down more. I used the cooked quinoa cold.
I also wonder if i should soak the cooked quinoa over night in the milk and vanilla????
Thanks for your feedback!!!

Cakebrain said...

That's unfortunate about the sinking feeling you get...
How about you try my new updated recipe for those of you encountering sinking middles?

I find this updated recipe holds up better. You bake it longer and you also have more cupcakes! Yes, you can simply pack the cooked quinoa, which is generally what I do. I really pack it in so maybe that's the difference. You can really squish a lot of quinoa into the measuring cup so maybe the differences between measuring methods could account for up to 1/3 cup extra quinoa...which would offer more structure.

I don't soak my quinoa. I just cook it like rice. I even keep a bag of frozen quinoa ready for when I want cupcakes. I just defrost and use in the recipe.
Good luck!

Jenny said...

I love this recipe! I also made the switch to cupcakes after making the original in a double layer cake. I ommitted 1/2 a cup of the sugar and used the full one cup of quinoa. I also switched olive oil for the butter and added a small grated zucchini and dark chocolate chips. I had non cake eaters loving this and have shared the recipe many times. I can't wait to make the valentine version with the chocolate heart that you have shown!

Anonymous said...

I've currently got a batch of these in the oven and if they taste anywhere near as good as the batter then they truly will be amazing.
Just a quick question, I blended mine up in the vitamix but had to add extra milk as the consistency was thicker than hummus. I was worried that I might burnout the motor, I've never cooked with quinoa before, is it possibly because I used too much by 'packing' it into the cup?
The seem to be rising well... I transferred the mix to a bowl as there was no way it was going to just pour out into the cupcake tin.... I also added whole frozen raspberries to the mix just before spooning mix into the tin... The batter with the raspberries tasted MAGIC!!!

Cakebrain said...

Hi Tammy,
sounds so yummy... If I didn't have a Vitamix, I would use a food processor because yes indeed the batter is thick. The batter is very forgiving if you add more quinoa and pack it in. I haven't added liquid to thin it though. Hope it works out and if it does, then this truly is a very adaptable batter! yay!
I usually use that big black plastic "stomper" that comes with the vitamix to ensure that the batter gets mixed thoroughly. Sometimes it helps with the sequence that you add the ingredients. I dump all the liquids in first and get them going before I pile in the quinoa and cocoa powder. You must have packed it in pretty good, eh? let me know how it goes!

barwon girl said...

I love this recipe, but would like to reduce calories. Do you think I could sub sugar for banana and oil for yoghurt

Cakebrain said...

Barwon girl,
I'd rather eat fewer cupcakes than go totally low sugar and fat...but if you must try, go ahead! It's not something I will every attempt.
I don't know if banana would be a good substitute for sugar at all. If it were me, I'd use coconut sugar, agave or honey.
As for the oil...I would use coconut oil. The texture of your cupcake batter might be much different with yogurt. It's not even considered a fat substitute. Let me know if your experiment yields good results! I'm interested to know. I am tempted to think the result won't be so easy to pour into your molds and it will be more doughy than batter-like.

Anonymous said...

These are truly Amazing, thank you for sharing. Have you ever used precooked and frozen quinoa? I wonder if defrosted precooked quinoa would have the same consistency or if it would be to moist? Thanks again.:) Colleen

Cakebrain said...

I actually use frozen cooked quinoa all the time! I make a huge batch and freeze. Then thaw yo use in cupcakes. It tastes exactly the same!

Lic. Teresa Mendizábal said...

Hi! I am from the land of quinoa. Peru. Have a problem. I live in a room and work for goverment and find some problem with quinoa preparations for infants. I don't have a kitchen and i am not a part of a big Project so I can't make assays, or trials, but at last I am going to make a batch for a demonstration session, and broadcast the recipe, so I hope you could have some time and help me. The mothers I work for (their children need to eat quinoa, but people need more ways to use it) they don't have blender, for getting the quinua smooth in the mix as you

But, here we have quinoa, we can't make flour from the raw stuff because it would make it more expensive and few people can find a mill. It's not a solution. Your recipe is a solution. So I think we can boil and overcook the quinoa to get the grains soft enough for not using a blender, but to get a soft mass and make your wonderful cupcakes Don't you agree?
So I wanted to know: sorry, for abusing... you think you could make a batch of mix using overcooked quinoa, and not your blender, only mix it by hand? how much water you would need for each cup of dry uncooked quinoa? and maybe it would need some adjustments in your recipe, as the quinoa could be watery... I am hoping this recipe would be used in schools, and must be made in big batches
I cook the quinoa the same proportion of water as you and doesn't have water at last, it is only fluffy and well defined grain, but it' won't mix well with the mixture and the grains wouldn't be appropriate por infants as it could be if they are getting soft for overcooking.
Thank you in advance!
regards from Peru, the cradle of Quinoa :)
registered dietitian
convert a recipe of cupcake to a layer cake?

Cakebrain said...

The original recipe I used made a layer cake but I found the texture to be too gummy. There are many links to the original recipe. If you just google 365 Quinoa chocolate cake recipe you'll find it I'm sure.

If you do not have a blender, perhaps you can mash the quinoa. It would take a long time though. I think a hand food mill might work as well. It'll make it a finer puree I think
Especially if you need to make so much for a school! Other than mashing it by hand (with mortar and pestle) if you do not have a blender or food processor, I do not see another alternative. If you add more water, I would say add another 1/4 cup of water to each batch to experiment to see if that'll make it softer. Good luck!

Lic. Teresa Mendizábal said...


Ashley said...

Any idea why my sometimes fall flat when I make these? About half the time they fall and cave in and the other times they don't??

Cakebrain said...

if you don't measure out enough cooked quinoa, perhaps it won't give enough structure to your cupcakes and the centres may fall. Or, you may have incorporated too much air into the batter when blending/processing it; at which point when it comes out of the oven, it deflates like a souffle. Or, you've used too much leavener?
If I were you, I'd add some more cooked quinoa and see if that helps first. Just pack it in when you're measuring.

Unknown said...

I love these cupcakes! It has been a while since I have made them though, and I came across 2 versions I think are both from you. One says to use 2 cups cooked quinoa-makes 12, the other says 2 1/3 cups quinoa- makes 15. Which do you use?

Cakebrain said...

Ooh Karen, you are one smart cookie to notice! For the bakers out there that commented that their cupcakes fell in the middle (sank), I think extra quinoa would remedy the situation. Frankly, I like them kind of moist and not as robust so can go with less. Also, it is dependent on how tightly you pack your quinoa when measuring. If I were you I would just go with more if you like more bite and less if you like a little squidgy. Both are yummy though. Good luck tweaking it!

Anola said...

I made this tonight... the texture and colour looked like it would be so good but unfortunately it had a bitter taste. I'm very disappointed as I put a lot of work into these but they don't taste good. I followed the recipe exactly but used coconut oil instead of butter, regular sugar instead of cane sugar and maybe a tiny bit more cocoa powder. I thought it was the Pam spray that I used for the mini muffin tins but I also used regular muffin tins with liners (so no pam spray) and it still had a bitter taste. You don't feel the bitterness right away but only after chewing for a few seconds... don't know what it could be from.

Unknown said...

I just finished baking these and... oh my yum! The bitter taste I read Anola got might be from not rinsing the Quinoa properly. I reduced to 3 eggs used almon milk, a little less sugar and a little more than 1/2 cup of coconut oil. <3

Cakebrain said...

I agree with Migdalia...that Anola might need to rinse the quinoa. The quinoa brand I purchased from Costco does not require rinsing, but I still rinse it. I have not heard of any complaints from other readers about a bitter taste. Perhaps check the freshness of the quinoa and make sure you rinse thoroughly before cooking it. There is plenty sugar there to counteract any natural bitterness of the quinoa. Even then, cooked quinoa isn't actually bitter. I would suggest you taste the cooked quinoa before you use it in the recipe. Perhaps there is a problem with the quinoa. It is a seed so it can go stale.

Unknown said...

That recipe is definitely a good I will be making them! Everybody loves discover delicious new recipes and an occasion this is a perfect opportunity to do so.
Personal Chef To Go

kstov said...

These look so yummy! Do you happen to have the nutrition information?

Cakebrain said...

Hey Kstov,
thanks for the kind words. No, I'm just an English teacher who loves to bake. I have no idea how many kajillion calories are in these...but I bet there are a lot.

KonaneFinds... said...

Has anyone ever replaced the sugar with stevia? If so what other wet ingredient did you add to make up for the bulk/volume of the sugar? I just made these after a friend introduced me to this amazing recipe by making my birthday present: double layer cake with nutella frosting! (not sure if the nutella is gluten free) Delish! Best chocolate cake EVER!

Cakebrain said...

I've never used stevia but have used coconut sugar and agave. Bulk/volume may be an issue. The sugar remember acts like a "wet ingredient" too and I don't think stevia will do it. You might have dry cake. If readers have tried, it, please chime in here! Nutella should be gluten free. It's hazelnuts, cocoa powder and lots of icing sugar...which is why it's so yummy.

Unknown said...

HI! they look so yummy and nice presentation, can u plz tell me can i use normal or caster sugar other than cane sugar

Cakebrain said...

Mrs Saeed, You can use whatever type sugar you wish: white granulated or cane sugar or caster sugar. You can even use coconut sugar

Martin said...

This looks soooo good, my kind of meal! If you have a problem with the cooked quinoa here and I found a good article.


Unknown said...

I have made this recipe many times - my kids always request it for their birthday! I happen to have quinoa flour on hand. Have you experimented with using that and adding liquid instead of using cooked quinoa?

Cakebrain said...

Hi Amy! Glad you enjoy the recipe as much as I do! I have used quinoa flour in other cupcake recipes and it doesn't taste as good...leaves a sort of weird after-taste. I would not even bother using quinoa flour as a substitution and adding liquid because then it would be creating a totally different recipe anyway. The quinoa flour should be used in recipes that list it specifically as an ingredient. Besides, how much liquid would you add? It would be too bothersome to try to figure it out when the recipe with cooked quinoa is perfectly balanced. Quinoa flour tends to make baked goods that are more dry and crumbly in texture too; but by all means go and experiment away if you want to. Let me know how it goes.

LondonCakeLover said...

I made this cupcakes for Brother's birthday, and WOW, it was amazing! Thanks for a great recipe!


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