Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

This Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake has a very special secret ingredient – Quinoa. Naturally gluten free, it is the perfect dessert to serve anyone with a gluten intolerance, sensativity, or celiac disease. Not to mention, self-proclaimed chocoholics.

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake from The Baking Beauties

I mentioned on Facebook the other day that I was reading Quinoa Revolution, written by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. You may recognize them from their first quinoa cookbook, Quinoa 365, which was one of the first books I saw that showed the diversity of quinoa. Using it hot or cold, sides, salads, breakfasts, and even desserts. The recipe for this moist chocolate quinoa cake comes from the Quinoa 365 book, with just a few small tweaks of my own.

As the cake sat on the pedestal, all pretty and proper for its photo shoot, the kids didn’t stray far from the kitchen, staying within earshot so they wouldn’t miss the announcement that pictures were done and the cake was ready to be eaten. (Hey, it’s tough being a bloggers kid – having to ask if the food is actually for eating for photographing has become habit.)

One bite, and they were awestruck. My husband immediately declared that he would like this cake for his birthday. His birthday isn’t until autumn, and he usually prefers something with pumpkin. This shows how incredible this chocolate cake is.

Even though my son pretended to be dying as if he’d been poisoned when I told them that this cake had no flour, only quinoa, both kids still requested a second piece.

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Serves: 8-10
Quinoa Chocolate Cake adapted from Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood
Chocolate Whipped Buttercream Frosting from I Heart Eating
Quinoa Chocolate Cake
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup white quinoa (rinsed if the package doesn't state that it is rinsed)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Chocolate Whipped Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cool room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)
Quinoa Chocolate Cake
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Place the cooked quinoa in another bowl and allow to cool to room temperature (you can put it in the fridge for this, just stir occasionally).
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Process the milk, eggs, and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Add the quinoa and melted butter, and blend until completely smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper.
  5. Pour the quinoa mixture over dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the baking pans before removing them.
  7. Layer cakes with the Chocolate Whipped Buttercream Frosting.
  8. Store covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.
Chocolate Whipped Buttercream Frosting
  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder and cornstarch. Whisk in the milk.
  2. Heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly. Now is not the time to walk away, or answer the phone, this will only take a few minutes. Continue whisking until the mixture become thick. Remove from heat, place in a different bowl, and let it cool to room temperature.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture.
  5. With the mixer on high speed, beat it until it is light and resembles whipped cream. If it looks separated, don't panic, just keep whipping it. This should take about 5 minutes.
  6. If the mixture doesn't look like whipped cream after 5 minutes, refrigerate it for half an hour to cool it off and try again.
  7. Frost the cake immediately, if you wait too long before frosting, the air starts to deflate when you frost your cake.
  8. Garnish with chocolate shavings (optional).
You can replace the quinoa and water with 2 cups of cooked quinoa, if you have some on hand.

Amazing Gluten Free Chocolate Cake from The Baking Beauties

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links – your cost remains the same, but I earn a small percentage to help support this blog. Thank you!


  1. Tamar Lundeen says

    Looks yummy! I’d like to know how it is you seem to know the day I get my determination back to get back to low carbing to loose a few extra pounds? Hmmm? How do you do that. LOL I will save this for future reference. TY

  2. Barb says

    Can this be baked in a 9×13 inch pan? I’m the hospitality chair for our local celiac support group and I would need to bake it that way in order to make pieces small enough so it would be enough to go around for tasting.

  3. Karen says

    Wow! Looks good, but is the gluten free better for you despite the sugar (especially if you can’t have sugar). Now has anyone tried substituting sugar with anything else…ie: stevia, coconut sugar, agave syrup (not), or anything else? Let me know how it turn out.

      • Karen Labelle says

        The cinnamon rolls is my gransons favourite food in the world. He is 10 yrs old with weight issues. He only weighs 44lbs. We are desparate to get protien into him. Do you have any suggestions to adding protien powder to your recipe it would be greatly appreciated. Also if you have a recipe for snack bars , no nuts or peanut butter, something he could take to school. You know how schools are for nut free products. It would also be great if it had protien powder in it. Thank you so much for reading this and for any suggestions you have. I am a very worried Nana about her only grandson. It has been a battle for all of his life getting meat protien into him Thannk you Karen Labelle

  4. says

    OMG, Jeanine, you’ve done it again. I have been waiting for a chance to try the Amazing Quinoa Chocolate Cake and finally got to it tonite (cooked up the quinoa last nite.)
    I was a little worried at the texture of the frosting until I checked your photo again …whew! it looked the same :-) and a little concerned about the pinch of cayenne which was clearly evident in the batter and the baked cake…. and then I combined them. Oh, my, oh, my, oh my. What a treat. My husband has proclaimed ” A-freaking-mazing…it screams for a glass of milk, which is in my book the mark of a great chocolate cake/cookie/dessert. ” The frosting is exactly the right foil for the cake, which is rich and chocolatey and dense and moist. The chocoate flavor stands up to the frosting beautifully, and the whole is chocolatey but not icky sweet!
    I can only afford to have half a cake in the house at a time (way too tempting for only 2 of us), so I made a 1/2 recipe in a 9×5 loaf pan, then divided it horizontally. It was really delicate to divide (I can see why you said to bake in two pans.) Next time I’d probably bake 1/2 recipe in two 3.5×8 pans, divided. Putting it in 5×9 was a tetch less than the volume of a 9″ round, so the batter was a little thick and it fell a little coming out of the oven, even tho it toothpick tested as done. My fault for messing around with your proportions! (But making in bread pans instead of halving and stacking a single round layer, it stores nicely in an upside down 1/2 gallon plastic block ice cream keeper, in the fridge.)

    Finally tracked down some millet flour, so looking forward to your new millet sandwich bread sometime soon. Keep the great ideas coming!!!

    • says

      Awesome!! lol I’ve heard from numerous people that it freezes really, really well, so you ‘could’ bake 2 9-inch rounds and keep one in the freezer for “emergencies” (without the frosting). So glad that it was a hit, exciting! :)

  5. Susi says

    Do you drain the water off the quinoa that you boiled it in? I’m assuming that you do but thought it’s ask so it turns out right first try!

    • says

      No, the water is absorbed by the quinoa when cooking. If it still seems a little bit wet, leave the cover on, and take it off the burner, wait 5 minutes and it should be absorbed. Fluff with a fork and you’re ready to go!

  6. Lisa says

    Do you think this recipe would work with using an egg replacer? I use chia seed meal and water because of food allergies…

    • says

      Because it has 4 eggs, the eggs play a fairly large roll in the texture of this cake. I’m not sure how egg replacers would work, sounds like a great experiment. If you do try it with an egg replacer, please let us know how it worked!

      • Patricia McBride says

        I made this awhile ago, when I first saw the post. I cut it in half because we can’t use eggs either and I had read somewhere that if using more than two eggs, then try cutting recipe in half to see if it will work. It worked out fine.

        Today I made the whole recipe and substituted 4 chia seed eggs and cooked it in a 9 x 13 pan. I also added 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour to the batter to help stiffen it up a bit. Worked great and tastes wonderful. Still very moist even with the extra bit of flour that I added.

        • says

          That’s awesome, Patricia! I’m so glad that you gave it a try, and even happier that you came back to let us know how it worked! :) So happy that this worked with egg replacers! Woohoo!

  7. Lilianne says

    Hi Jeanine, love love loved it. Finally found a chocolate cake that doesn’t have a granular feel but Is moist .my husband said it was the best he ever had! Maybe because of the cayenne pepper :)
    Will make it again….thanks

  8. Susi says

    I made this for my son and friend for their birthday. It was a huge hit! Within two bites two other kids had proclaimed “I want THIS cake for my birthday!” I did clarify that they weren’t referring to my snazzy minecraft decorations and they assured me it was the cake. It was a big hit with all. It is a super rich chocolaty cake for sure. It almost reminded my of light fluffy fudge(if such a thing existed!). I am looking forward to fighting over the leftovers for sure! BTW, I made my quinoi in a rice maker and it worker great…I just made sure I got it out of the pan the minute it finished so that I didn’t lose any to being stuck on the bottom! Awesome recipe, definite keeper. Thanks Jeanine.:)

  9. charlotte says

    For all you doubters out there (and I don’t know why anyone would, wheat is a grain, quinoa is a grain), Quinoa chocolate cake is THE BEST chocolate cake you will EVER eat. There’s something about the texture that lets the chocolate flavour absolutely dominate. Could be the full cup of cocoa powder, too….

  10. Carrie says

    I made this wonderful cake with a few modifications for allergy purposes. I used soy milk, palm sugar and earth balance butter substitute. I also made them into cupcakes. My son loves them and so do I. Got 23 1/4 cup cupcakes and baked them for 22 min. The earth balance butter substitute (soy milk and palm sugar) did not work for the icing but we spread it on after we put it in the fridge for a bit anyway. I am going to freeze the iced cupcakes and send a few to keep at school so he can have a birthday treat with the other kids when someone brings in a cake or cupcakes for their birthday. I think they should freeze well.

  11. says

    Ahaa, its pleasant conversation on the topic of this
    post at this place at this website, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

  12. says

    I made this today for my husband’s birthday. It was a big hit, we loved it! I did notice that the recipe instructions for the frosting didn’t say when to add the vanilla so I put it in when I was blending the butter and sugar.

  13. dita says

    thank you for this recipe. i have eaten so many cakes and baked goods without flour and they are dry and crumbly or not the texture i was hoping for .. this quinoa cake is dense and moist and amazing. i am going to trick my boyfriend and just let him eat it tonight and then tell him later. haha. the blender really does the trick for the quinoa to make it all one smooth batter. awesome recipe!

  14. julie arnold says

    How can I make the best ever quinoa cake without chocolate? I’m in a Just 10 group and we made the chocolate cake but I couldn’t have any because of headaches caused from eating chocolate…. it turned out a little crumbly because we made cupcakes instead of cake; do you suggest using a vanilla pudding mix instead of cocoa? Email me back soon! Julie

  15. julie arnold says

    How can I make the best ever quinoa cake without chocolate? I’m in a Just 10 group and we made the chocolate cake but I couldn’t have any because of headaches caused from eating chocolate…. it turned out a little crumbly because we made cupcakes instead of cake; do you suggest using a vanilla pudding mix instead of cocoa?

  16. says

    SO….. when the ____ am I supposed to put in the vanilla extract in the frosting??? As if this recipe isn’t complicated enough, I AM STRESSING OUT!! And Cayenna pepper? Where am I supposed to find that? Luckily my neighbor had some. She said she puts it in some lemonade she makes…. what business does it have going in my cake? Answer me dat girlfriend. Anyway. This cake better be good. My new BF is gluten free and I’m making him this cake to celebrate his 1 year soberversary. I’ll let u know with a follow up comment.

  17. says

    Okay. I’m back to review this cake or should I call it chocolate pie I made tonight. Okay. I don’t have time to let it sit in my fridge for 3 days. I work and I work hard and don’t have a lot of time. WARNING: This is not your average Betty Crocker Devile’s Food cake (which u know u man gonna love gluten free or not) I had to bake this cake 3 times longer than it said to. I don’t even know what to say right now. Have to get up so early for work and now I tired. THIS CAKE TAKES FOREVER FOREVER. For Real. Goddamn the frosting is good. I considered just making more of that and putting in cupcake holders and calling it suffle. LOL Just be warned. Have time on ur hands for this one.


  1. […]  That being said, I have begun to find fantastic gluten free foods and am so glad that there is a trend for gluten free living at the moment! I just tried the Western Foods gluten free brown bread and love it! Fluffy, flavourful and toasts well; a delicious BLT was the result! ^_^ There is also a delicious Quinoa Chocolate Cake recipe that is to DIE for! Find it here: […]

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