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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake


Prepare to be amazed by this healthier version of decadent chocolate cake with a surprise ingredient that makes all the difference!

Quinoa Chocolate Cake, a healthier version of everybody's favorite! www.superhealthykids.com

Baking with Quinoa

This Gluten Free Chocolate Cake challenges a lot of what we think we know about cake.   There’s no regular flour whatsoever in this but it does have an unusual ingredient…quinoa!  I’m sure you’ve had quinoa in a salad or a side dish, but I’m guessing you’ve never considered it as a dessert ingredient.  Here it takes the place of flour and gives this cake a moist, fluffy texture.  Who knew?

Some recipes might call for quinoa flour. In this recipe, you will actually used whole cooked quinoa and blend it with your other ingredients. Quinoa is known for its high nutrient content – protein, fiber, and b-vitamins. What it is less known for is its ability to create and amazing texture in baked goods.

Whipped Frosting

I frosted this cake with a whipped cream frosting, but you can use any frosting recipe you like.  You can even whip coconut cream just like you would dairy cream, to make a vegan version. Whipped cream frosting is much lighter than a regular buttercream and requires a lot less added sugar as well! I think it is the perfect complement to this chocolate cake.

You can lighten this dessert even further by leaving off the frosting altogether and just giving the cake a dusting of powdered sugar, or topping it with seasonal fruit like fresh berries.  Either way this recipe is a keeper! I predict you’ll be amazing friends, family, and guests for many years to come with this one!

Quinoa Chocolate Cake, a healthier version of everybody's favorite! www.superhealthykids.com

This cake was a hit with all my taste testers, everybody gobbled it up and they had no idea there was anything unusual in the ingredient list until I told them.   I recommend giving this one a try, even if you’re skeptical.  I’ve made it several times and it always turns out wonderfully.

 More Gluten Free Desserts

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3.4 from 189 votes

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 339kcal


Whipped Frosting


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray and line a 9-inch nonstick cake pan with a round of parchment paper at the bottom.
  • Put the quinoa, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Pulse to combine and then process until smooth, this will only take about 30 seconds or so.
  • Add the sugar, 1/2 cup of the cocoa powder, baking powder, soda, and salt to the bowl and pulse to combine well.
  • Turn into the prepared pan and bake for about 40-42 minutes until a toothpick comes out without wet batter sticking to it.  Remember that if your pan has different dimensions, your cooking time will vary.
  • Let the cake cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before turning out of the pan.  Be careful when you flip the cake over as it will be delicate.  I like to place a plate over the pan and then gently flip both over together.
  • When the cake is completely cool, frost.
  • To make the frosting whip the cream until it is starting to thicken, then add the sifted confectioner’s (powdered) sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp of the cocoa powder.  Continue beating until thick and spreadable.  Don’t over beat!


Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 257mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g
Keyword : Quinoa Chocolate Cake


Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Recipe Rating


We love quinoa and it’s such a great grain (we are also gluten-free so it’s perfect for us). Would never think of putting it in a cake but it’s such a brilliant idea! This looks so decadent too.

You could do it, Jen, I’ve done another one of my favorite flourless cakes as cupcakes, but they do stick to the papers a bit, and they have a moister, more delicate texture than regular cupcakes, so as long as you’re aware of that, you can definitely cook this cake that way.

Would it be possible to substitute the butter in the cake for a vegan butter like earth balance? A friend of mine had to give up dairy and gluten and this would be perfect for her, but for the butter.

Can I use a vitamix to blend the quinoa, milk, eggs, etc in the first step or would it blend it too much? I do not have a food processor.

Amazing recipe, a family we know adores it. May I request you amend the statement about changing the whipped topping with coconut whip topping to make it a vegan desert. Vegans don’t eat egg. I have 2 celiac children with dairy allergies, one who can not have egg. I can’t make this a vegan recipe, I’ve tried several egg subs to no avail. I’d be really excited if someone has had success and is willing to share 😀

Just had this at a kids party it tasted amazing! Tasted like a great chocolate cake! You wouldn’t even know it did not have flour!

I just made this for my little girls birthday cake. Just wondering if it would be freezable at all? So i could use leftovers for lunch box snacks. Thanks

I don’t think so, Allessandra, that won’t result in the same wonderful texture that you get from the grain itself, and adding extra flour would cause the balance of ingredients to be off, too. Sorry!

This looks amazing! Can you think of a way it would work without eggs? All delicious desserts seem to use eggs and they make me ill x

I tried the recipe replacing sugar with honey. I found the cake bitter. But it was very moist! I see the potential. I’m going to try again with adding bananas to help balance the bitterness.

I made this as directed except I used butter milk instead of the almond milk simply bc i had it on hand after making some buttermilk pancakes. This turned out to be one of the moistest cakes that I ever had. When my wife tried it I didn’t tell her what exactly it was except that it was a chocolate cake. One bite and she said the same thing. When I showed her the recipe she just about fell off her chair. Unlike myself and my daughter she is not a big fan of quinoa. But in this form she has no problem eating it.

Has anyone tried doubling this recipe and layering the cake? Is it too moist to layer without falling apart?

Made this cake today for my book club and it was a huge hit! Really tasty! I’ll make it again no question. I did find the recipe for the frosting too liquidy so added another TBS of cocoa powder and got the thicker consistency I was looking for. Next time I may even double the frosting recipe, I mean who doesn’t love be chocolate frosting!

SO GOOD! Really moist and delicious. Next time I will cut down on the sugar and add some chocolate chips. It was really sweet already without the frosting. Great recipe!

Hi! So I premade quinoa flour, do you have a suggestion for measurements for that? I’m super excited to try this out!

Hi Anjeni, are you looking for a non-dairy alternative? There are non-dairy whipped toppings available– a coconut whipped cream sounds yummy. I hope this helps!

We loved this cake. I’ve made it twice, the first time I followed the directions with ingredients, but didn’t process it enough to get rid of the quinoa bits, so I tried again. The second time I blended it more and added only 3/4 cup sugar. I had to add a bit more milk in order to get it really smooth. Next time I think I’ll cut the sugar again to 1/2 cup and see if the flavor is still as good. Thanks!

4 stars
I feel like this cake should’ve been baked in a bigger pan. I used a 9” cake pan but it took forever to cook and even when I pulled it out thinking it was cooked, it was like pudding texture in the middle. Not sure what else could’ve been wrong

Is the two cups of quinoa measured out before or after cooking? So two cups of raw quinoa, or two cups of cooked?

5 stars
My foodie husband even loves this cake until someone tells him there’s quinoa in it. (Don’t tell him it’s quinoa!)