This gluten-free chocolate quinoa cake recipe nets a rich, chocolatey dessert that your guests won’t believe is gluten free. It also makes for the perfect Passover-friendly dessert. It’s also sometimes my birthday cake since my birthday falls on or around Passover. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
I love a good chocolate cake, so when I received a review copy of The Healthy Jewish Kitchen by Paula Shoyer, and saw a decadent chocolate quinoa cake inside, I knew I had to make it. Ever since I first laid eyes on this cake, I have made it every year for Passover. And without fail, every year it’s a wild success!
This chocolate quinoa cake is perfect on many levels. Let me gush a bit:
- It’s rich and chocolatey. You’ll feel like you’re indulging on a forbidden cake.
- It’s flourless. The only “grain” (quinoa is a pseudo grain) you’ll find is cooked quinoa blended into the batter.
- It’s 100 percent gluten free, so you can enjoy it if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
- It’s perfect for Passover, a Jewish holiday when the Jewish people are forbidden to eat leavened bread made from wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt. Quinoa is allowed and works beautifully in this cake.
While this cake is the perfect Passover chocolate cake, I know you’ll soon find out that this cake deserves to be served year-round!
How to Make Chocolate Quinoa Cake
The gluten-free chocolate quinoa cake recipe is surprising simple to make. So much of it can be made ahead of time too. In fact, if you plan right, you can make the quinoa a few days before Passover and leave it in your fridge until you’re ready to assemble your batter and bake your cake.
The first step is to making this cake is to assemble your ingredients, and of course, this includes having your quinoa cooked and ready to go. You can use any style of quinoa you like, although make sure the package is labeled gluten free. Read Is Quinoa Gluten Free? for more information on how to purchase safe, gluten-free quinoa.
Now combine orange juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Pulse 5-6 times and then add quinoa and process the mixture until smooth, about 60 seconds. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a high-speed blender.)
You’ll then add the melted chocolate to the food processor and pulse a few more times until it’s well blended. It should look like a smooth, chocolate cake batter.
You’ll then add the batter to a well-greased and floured bundt pan (use potato starch as your “flour”) and place it in the oven to bake for 50 minutes. The cake will stick to the pan so make sure you coat the bundt pan well with cooking spray or oil.
Here is what the cake looks like baked. After it has cooled for 10-20 minutes in the bundt pan, you’ll want to flip it out of the pan onto a wire rack to fully cool. If the sides are stuck, simply use a spatula to loosen the sides. Be gentle with the cake!
To create the glaze in the original recipe, you melt bittersweet chocolate, oil and a little vanilla together and then slather it on the cake.
I, however, have come to love frosting instead of chocolate glaze. It tastes more like a donut with the frosting on top! My frosting is made from cocoa powder, powdered sugar and dairy-free milk.
Both toppings are featured in the recipe below, so take your pick!
A Few More Details about the Chocolate Quinoa Cake
Here are a few things you need to know about this gluten-free chocolate quinoa cake recipe:
Texture: This cake has an awesome texture. Depending on the brand of quinoa you use, you might be able to feel the quinoa in your mouth as you chew the cake.
You can make the quinoa more smooth in texture by blending the quinoa well into the cake batter. The more blended it becomes, the more cake-like the texture.
Moist: This cake is extremely moist, much more moist than other chocolate cakes I’ve made in the past. If you like a moist chocolate cake, this cake is for you. I think the quinoa helps it hold in the moisture. Yum!
Flavor: You don’t taste the quinoa at all, which some people don’t like because of its nutty flavor and scent. This cake tastes rich and chocolatey. While it does have sugar in it, it’s not that sweet. It’s just right.
Appearance: Well, it looks amazing, right? Your eyes do not deceive you. This cake tastes as good as it looks. I just wish I was a better photographer!
Kosher for Passover: All ingredients in this cake are Kosher for Passover. Quinoa is fine to use during Passover, and you just add a little potato starch for dusting the pan (other starches, like corn starch, are okay as well if not served on Passover).
Protein-Rich: Quinoa contains four grams of protein and three grams of fiber per serving. While many people consider quinoa a grain, it’s technically a seed and one of the healthier “grains” you can consume. Keep in mind, however, that while quinoa is gluten free, it still contains 17 net carbs per serving so it is not considered a low-carb food.
Make Ahead: You can make this cake 1-2 days ahead of time. I find it becomes even more moist with time. I do, however, think the cake tastes best when it’s freshly baked. I simply prepare the quinoa ahead of time so it’s easier to assemble.
Other Passover Recipes
Try any of these Passover friendly recipes at your gluten-free seders:
- Passover Charoset
- Homemade Gluten-Free Oat Matzah
- Gluten-Free Matzo Ball Soup
- Easy Beef Brisket
- Sweet BBQ Cola Chicken
- No-Bake Gluten-Free Chocolate Matzah Cake
- Lemon Crinkle Cookies
- Overnight Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
- Gluten-Free Flourless Chocolate Torte
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Made with Quinoa
- Bundt pan (10" or 12 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa See notes
- potato starch for dusting bundt pan
- 1/3 cup orange juice approximately juice of 1 fresh orange
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/5 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips bittersweet or semi-sweet, melted (see notes)
To Make Glaze:
- 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease bundt pan and then dust the pan with potato starch. Shake off excess starch.
- Place orange juice, eggs, vanilla, oil, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a food processor. Pulse 5-6 times. Add quinoa and process mixture until smooth, about 60 seconds.
- Add melted chocolate to the quinoa mixture and process for another 30-60 seconds until well combined.
- Pour batter into bundt pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Allow cake 10 minutes to cool, then gently flip it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the glaze, melt 5 ounces of chocolate in microwave, then add oil and vanilla to mixture and mix well. Drizzle or spread mixture over cooled cake. See notes for optional frosting recipe.
- 3 Tbsp milk substitute
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1.5 cups powdered sugar