Chocolate quinoa cake

The first piece of chocolate quinoa cake I ate was at a fancy restaurant where main course portions were the size of Canada’s largest coins – loonies and toonies. Lunch arrived prettily set on a silent white plate with scribbles of coulis of some sort. You know the stuff – pureed parsnip essence or a reduction of Brussels sprout hearts and maybe a shake of smoked paprika. Way off on the northern hemisphere of the plate a single perfect candied walnut emerged from its shell, like a sailor adrift in the arctic ocean, considering his options as the icy sea begins to crush his vessel. Because food tells a story and the chef wants you to listen to what the food has to say. That kind of place.

Mostly I avoid restaurant desserts because the main course satisfies. But in this case, still hungry, I shared a reasonable sized cake portion with a friend. She was not put off by quinoa as an ingredient. You may know that quinoa polarizes people. They refuse to have anything to do with it as though it is some sort of bacterial plague and all its little quinoa-y seeds will sow contagion in their tummies. Contagion of what, I’m not sure.  It’s a slippery slope with quinoa. Next thing you know you’ll be eating barley fritters, drinking macha tea, and harvesting greens from boulevard medians.

Presented humbly with a pointillist’s application of powdered sugar and a clover leaf arrangement of garnet coloured raspberries rising from the surface, the black checkerboard colour startled us. But the cake’s crumb gave off a kind of moonlit shine and beguiled us into taking the first bite. That bite announced that butter had bestowed the seductive glow. Beyond the first nanosecond in my mouth is a memory of chocolate intensity like the first beats of the George Thorogood song “Bad to the Bone”, a kind of stuttering pleasure, a chocolate riff on my tongue.

The taste memory lingered for a few years until I encountered “chocolate quinoa loaf” at our local coffee shop. At less calories than a bran muffin, which did not contain chocolate, I bought a slice to accompany my coffee. It was nirvana redux.

My husband, a never-quinoaer, took a bite. I, of course, lied about the contents. One does this with children to get them to eat their vegetables and recalcitrant adults who deserve punishment. After eating most of my slice, I told him it was gluten free. He blanched and squeaked “What’s in it?” Oh the glee when I declared his nemesis quinoa created this heavenly treat.

I’ve never witnessed a conversion before but my husband’s embracing quinoa is a holy allegiance which I expect he will carry to his grave. In fact, I heard him talking on the phone the other day to his lawyer, something about his last will and testament and quinoa cake.

He found a recipe on line and now this cake makes a regular appearance at home. He encourages you to try it. If you don’t feel the same way he does, you are surely not human.

Here is the sacred recipe. Warning: eat only if you are willing to have your spirit uplifted and your soul surrendered to the divine.

And now go forth. Worship. Become a cakeologist.

Chocolate Quinoa Cake
Recipe by Stacy Evans
2 cups cold cooked quinoa
3/4 c melted butter
4 eggs
1/3 c. milk
1 1/5 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. white sugar
1 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a rectangular cake pan.
  2. Blend quinoa, butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together in a blender until smooth.
  3. Combine sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir quinoa mixture into sugar mixture until batter is well combined. Fold chocolate chips and pecans into batter; pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool cake on a wire rack.

When you take your first bite, consider listening to George Thorogood and think about the cake singing to you –

I broke a thousand hearts
Before I met you
I’ll break a thousand more, baby
Before I am through
I wanna be yours pretty baby
Yours and yours alone

37 thoughts on “Cakeology

  1. Pingback: Thursday Doors, 15/3/18: Women’s Doors, part 2 – Mexi Movie the Third

  2. Had to laugh out loud in a couple of places – being gluten-free and married to a glutenful man. He’s not so bad about quinoa, but I cannot get the man to consider lentils. Perhaps there is hope? Thanks for the recipe.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I make this cake!
    It’s the most ridiculously expensive cake I make, but it’s really, really good. I got the recipe from my friend 🙂 She’s in the sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free world, and she tells me what’s really good and what’s not. My family is quinoa-friendly, so it was an easy sell.

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  4. Oh My. You are a master at writing…’stuttering pleasure, a chocolate riff..” An amazing line. And now I’m sitting listening to the music and craving quinoa. How did you DO that? Yes, when I get home I’ll make this cake too, even though there are eggs in it! 🙂 Is the ‘rectangle pan’ a 9×13?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used an 8 x 8 pan but my husband made one in a loaf pan so its flexible as well as sinful. I once looked up egg replacement on Google and I seem to recall it involved flax seeds and water. Are you allergic? I can’t eat egg “straight” anymore but I’m okay with them in baking. I hope you like the cake, Dawn. We eat it w/out icing and its very rich and satisfying.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mmmm, cake, your words and baaaad to the bone. Quinoa makes no difference. I used it to cook before, albeit in Italy not yet. I suspect I’d need to use your method with amore and deny its existence. Alas, as I was getting together photos for the recent “Sweet” photo challenge, something broke inside me and now I can’t see sugar and desserts. I’m sure it’s temporary but I feel mighty good about it right now. Saving your recipe though…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is written just beautifully Susanne! I’ll make this cake, so “1/3 c. milk” – is the c. cup? And the sugar, is it caster sugar? “I, of course, lied about the contents. One does this with children to get them to eat their vegetables and recalcitrant adults who deserve punishment”. I chuckled!!! Heartily.
    I love quinoa. If you like I’ll write a recipe for a savoury pulao style dish. And then you can write about the pleasure derived from eating that too!


    • Hi Shubha, I’m so pleased you’ll give this recipe a try. Yes, “c” stands for cup and the sugar is the granulated kind. Please do send me your savoury pulao dish and I will definitely write about it!


      • Susanne
        Thanks for the encouragement. And I’m not one to waste time!!

        2 cups cooked quinoa
        1 cup ground (home roasted) cashews
        3 or 4 green chillies deseeded and chopped ( this way the heat is gone out of them)
        2 table spoons chopped fresh green coriander
        4 medium sized potatoes diced and steamed in microwave oven ( I use Desiree and leave skin on)
        Potatoes should be cooked but still firm
        4 table spoons extra virgin olive oil ( you can use butter if you wish)
        1 tea spoon cumin seeds
        Salt to taste

        In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil/butter and then add cumin seeds, let them splutter and pop and change colour
        Add chillies and cooked potatoes and mix well for three minutes on low heat
        Now add cooked quinoa, salt and stir
        Add ground cashews (alternately use roasted and ground peanuts but I don’t use them as some people have peanut allergy)
        Fold through for a couple of minutes on low heat
        Now add the chopped coriander ( do you call it Cilantro like the Americans do?) to garnish
        Since potatoes and quinoa are pre -cooked, there’s no cooking to be done when they’re in the pan together!

        Enjoy this Yummy and healthy dish

        Liked by 1 person

        • Copied and printed and added to the old fashioned recipe binder in my kitchen. I’ll let you know when I make it and how it turns out.

          Yes, we Canucks call corander cilantro.


  7. “Beyond the first nanosecond in my mouth is a memory of chocolate intensity like the first beats of the George Thorogood song “Bad to the Bone”, a kind of stuttering pleasure, a chocolate riff on my tongue” … this borders on literary pornography! Oh yes – I’m quivering here with desire! Now I’m left here with my mouth watering and no where to go 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Because food tells a story and the chef wants you to listen to what the food has to say. That kind of place.”

    Biggest LOL I’ve had all day.

    Wonderful piece. You could find work as a food critic, no problem.

    Liked by 1 person

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