Quinoa Chocolate Cake

You can probably think of lots of words to describe chocolate cake, but I’m guessing ‘healthy’ isn’t one of them.  Prepare to be amazed by this healthier version of everybody’s favorite treat, with a surprise ingredient that makes all the difference!

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

Hey guys — it’s Sue from The View from Great Island, and today I’m craving decadent chocolate cake.   But this is Super Healthy Kids, so I know I have to step up my game and offer a more nutritious version of the classic dessert.  This Quinoa Chocolate Cake challenges a lot of what we think we know about cake.   There’s no flour whatsoever in this one, for instance, but it does have an unusual ingredient…quinoa!  By now 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?

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

Quinoa is referred to as an ‘ancient grain’, but it’s really a seed that originated in South America, and has been enjoyed and depended upon as a healthy food by humans for thousands of years.  Like all seeds, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in vitamins and protein.  For this recipe you’ll need 2 cups of cooked quinoa.  (You can use the leftovers from dinner!)  Quinoa needs to be rinsed thoroughly before cooking, but after that it cooks up just like rice.  It has a light nutty flavor that is lovely in savory dishes but takes a backseat in this chocolaty recipe.  The plumped up grains give it a wonderful light texture that you normally can’t get in a flourless cake.  It keeps it super moist, as well. Combine quinoa, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla in a food processor. It’s that easy!

Flourless Quinoa Chocolate Cake. A healthy version of everyone's favorite dessert! www.superhealthykids.com

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.

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.

A delicious and healthier version of chocolate cake, made with quinoa! www.superhealthykids.com

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!

Fluffy Chocolate Cake made healthier with a secret ingredient! www.superhealthykids.com


You’ll find Sue over at The View from Great Island, where she’s busy cooking up all kinds of fun in her kitchen.  Follow along with her on Facebook, too!

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Quinoa Chocolate Cake
Serves: 8


  • 2 cup – Quinoa, cooked
  • 1/3 cup – almond milk, unsweetened
  • 4 large – egg
  • 1/2 cup – butter, unsalted
  • 1 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 1 cup – sugar
  • 1/2 cup – cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoon – cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon – baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon – baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon – salt
  • 1 cup – heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoon – powdered sugar


      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray and line a 9-inch nonstick cake pan with a round of parchment paper at the bottom.
      2. Melt butter.
      3. 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.
      4. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup of the cocoa powder, baking powder, soda, and salt to the bowl and pulse to combine well.
      5. 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.
      6. 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.
      7. When the cake is completely cool, frost.
      8. 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!
Recipe adapted from Barefeet in the Kitchen

Nutrition Facts

  • Nutrition per serving % daily value
  • Calories: 424 21%
  • Fat: 26 g 40%
  • Carb: 43 g 14%
  • Fiber: 3 g 12%
  • Protein: 7 g 14%
  • Sugar: 28 g
written by
Sue Moran

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Nicoleta Spirea says:

Hi, I love this cake, it’s amazing. I’m using honey instead of sugar and comes out great .

AMY says:

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!

Natalie Monson says:

So glad you liked it!

Angie says:

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!

Tina Rowan says:

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

Brian Pontious says:

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.

Devynn says:

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.

Courtney Moore says:

Could i use coconut milk instead of almond milk? I have it in bulk! lol

Kate says:

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

Nicolette says:

Do you think this could be prepared a day in advance and still be great the next day?

I think the cake would be fine, but I would make the frosting the day you plan to serve it, Nicolette.

Myriam says:

If I want to make it vanilla flavor, what substitutes the 1/2 cup of chocolate?

Sue Moran says:

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!

Allessandra says:

Can I use quinoa flour instead of the freshly prepared quinoa?

Pauline H says:

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

Sarah says:

Any suggestion on how many calories per serving? Thanks!

Christy Eaton says:

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!

Erica e says:

Have you tried other variations aside chocolate flavor? Idk peanut butter flavor perhaps???

Sue Moran says:

I haven’t Erica, but I like the idea! I think peanut butter would work really well in the frosting!

Crystal says:

So moist and delicious! Thanks for a great recipe!

Sue Moran says:

You’re welcome Crystal – enjoy 🙂

Ariela says:

Silly me! Just noticed the instructions for the frosting are in the recipe 🙂

Sue Moran says:

Hope you enjoy it Ariela!

Ariela says:

I would love the recipe for the frosting

Jaime says:

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 😀

Joanne says:

Made this exactly as written – delicious! Thanks for another great recipe!

I will try this recipe for my son’s birthday! We just love quinoa and I usually put it in cookies. I suggest you to soak quinoa before boiling it.

Erica e says:

Can you share a cookie recipie with quinoa? What’s a great idea!

Sue Moran says:

A lot of quinoa doesn’t need soaking, it’s been pre-treated, so I suggest checking the package for directions.

Jessi says:

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.

Sue Moran says:

You can use the vitamix Jessi, that would work fine.

Sue Moran says:

I’m not familiar with vegan butter, Jessica, but I’m guessing it would work fine. I think coconut oil might also work.

Jessica says:

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.

Allison says:

Is there any way I cam substitute the sugar with another sweetener- or perhaps use less? 1 cup is a lot…

Sue Moran says:

You can definitely experiment with using less sugar, or use another type of sweetener. I think coconut sugar would be a possibility.

Joelle says:

We can’t do nuts in my family….would this work with cows milk instead of almond?

Sue Moran says:

Yes Joelle, you can use any type of milk you like, regular, coconut, or soy.

Krista says:

What temperature should this be baked at? 350?

Sue Moran says:

350F Krista, adding that now 🙂

Amanda says:

Do you think I can use regular milk instead of almond milk?

Sue Moran says:

Yes, any type of milk will work, even coconut milk.

Rox says:

What is the baking temperature? Thanks!

Sue Moran says:

Sorry Rox, that was an accidental omission, I’m fixing it now…350F

Donna says:

How much uncooked quinoa would the 2 cups cooked quinoa needed for the recipe?

Sue Moran says:

It depends, Donna, on a few factors, but I think you’d be safe cooking up 3/4 of a cup of raw quinoa.

Jen says:

Would it work as cupcakes?

Sue Moran says:

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.

Holly says:

I can’t wait to try this! What a great way to get my kids to eat quinoa! LOVE it!

Sue Moran says:

Thanks Holly! I’m pretty confident your kids will love this 🙂

Sue Moran says:

I know, really — I’ll never look at chocolate cake the same way again!

Who comes up with wonderful ideas like this. It looks amazing and no, I would have never guessed there was NO flour and quinoa in it!

Toni says:

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.

Sue Moran says:

Glad I could inspire you!

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