Perfect Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

I think we’re finally caked out around here.  I didn’t think it was possible, but after 6 days straight of various cupcakes, my sweet tooth is maxed out.

Please pass the chips and dip.

Before this sugar coma hit though, we had some reallllly good cakes.  And frosting.  Please don’t forget about the frosting.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake - no flour, just cooked quinoa, for a moist, fudgy cake no one will guess is gluten free!

I was so excited to try this recipe when I saw it on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe awhile back, but the first time I made it I wasn’t quite ready to share it, despite the pickiest 5-year-old I know eating it, blissfully unaware of any difference from regular chocolate cake.  I said he would be my test for blog-worthiness, but I found I could still tell something was…different.

I’ve now tested this out on my family multiple times, and it’s been declared a winner.  Decorating with raspberries would really take this over the top if you love the chocolate-raspberry combo like I do.

Obviously gluten free baked goods are different sometimes, but if I’m making chocolate cake I want it to be awesome.  THIS, my friends, with a couple minor notes, is an awesome chocolate cake.  I don’t say this lightly: no one will know it’s gluten free.  And more importantly?  Even when you tell them, they’ll never guess there’s 2 cups of quinoa involved.

So, what are the all-important notes before you start on this cake?

1) Cook your quinoa 5 minutes longer than directed, with an extra 1/4 cup of water.  This will make it softer and easier to blend into total smoothness.

2) Rinse your quinoa before cooking it. Dump it into a fine sieve and run some water over it to remove any bitterness.  We don’t want bitterness.

3) Blend the crap outta that stuff.  Think it looks smooth?  KEEP BLENDING.  You want it to be as smooth as any cake batter you ever made from a box or you’re gonna notice there’s something questionable lurking in your cake.  This was my main problem the first time – unwanted texture.  It took a good 5-10 minutes on high speed to blend it smooth enough for my liking.  Lesson learned: warn the kids first.

quinoa batter

Ok, you’re officially ready to put that quinoa you nobly bought to good use.  I tend to cook a whole bunch and freeze small batches to feed my baby, or to make these quinoa cookies, but if you only want enough for the cake, use about 3/4 cup uncooked.

This recipe can also be made into 22 cupcakes (yes, 22 – you read that right :)).  They bake up nice and flat, perfect for icing!  Is there anything better than a fudgy cupcake paired with perfect vanilla frosting?  Happiness.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes - no special flours, just cooked quinoa, for moist, fudgy cupcakes no one will notice are gluten free! |

Do you or someone you love eat gluten free?  Even if the answer is no, I hope you can’t resist trying this!  Call it a protein cupcake and eat it after exercising – yay for quinoa :)

Gluten free chocolate cake with quinoa - no fancy flour blends required for a perfect, fudgy chocolate cake!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Perfect Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Total time
Gluten free cake without any fancy flour blends - just basic cake ingredients mixed with 2 cups of cooked quinoa for a fudgy, decadent chocolate cake!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (just under ¾ cup uncooked - rinse before cooking, and cook with an extra ¼ cup water - see post for details)
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup butter or margarine
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk (or regular milk or cream)
  1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Pulse just until combined. Add the cooked quinoa and the butter. Blend well until COMPLETELY smooth.
  3. While that blends, in a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the smooth quinoa mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake on a rack in the middle position for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool for 10 minutes - they will be quite flat. Invert the cakes onto cooling racks (remove the parchment paper stuck to the bottom of the cakes).
  5. While the cake bakes, prepare the mousse filling. Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the whipping cream in a saucepan until it gently simmers. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips and let the mixture sit for five minutes. Whisk to combine until it is glossy and very smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled (2-3 hours). When fully chilled, use an electric mixer to whip the mixture to soft peaks.
  6. Place one cake layer upside down on a serving platter or plate. Top with the whipped mousse, spreading to within ½-inch of the edge of the cake (it will press to the edge when the top layer is put on).
  7. Gently put the other cake layer on top of the frosted layer.
  8. Make the frosting: Melt butter in large microwaveable bowl. Stir in cocoa and vanilla. Alternately blend in icing sugar and buttermilk until smooth, adding more milk if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Spread the frosting over the top of the cake.
  9. Chill the frosted cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving to let the frosting set up a bit. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
For CUPCAKES: Line 22 muffin cups with paper liners. Fill the remaining 2 spots half full with water to ensure even baking. Bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

Cake adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, who adapted it from Good Dinner Mom.

Frosting from Mrs. Dykstra’s brownies.

Linked up at Not Just a Housewife’s Party:




  1. nancy clevenger says

    Thanks for the great suggestions for cooking the quinoa. I made this cake yesterday from a different site and it was on the crunchy side although vert tasty. Next time i will know how to better prepare the quinoa.

  2. Shelley says

    I made these as cupcakes and they were AWESOME! My husband and kids wouldn’t have known they were gluten free if I hadn’t told them. I will be making these again for sure. Thanks for the recipe.

  3. Heidi says

    This was surprisingly delicious! I say surprisingly because I didn’t think gluten free cake could be so good, and because quinoa came sounds like it would be disgusting… I’m not gluten free right now, but this is going to be my go-to for when my gf friends come to visit!

  4. Danielle Oldale says

    I made this yesterday for my sons birthday cake. Turned out great and managed to satisfy my family very nicely. Easy to make too. I left out the middle layer and added jam to the center instead, used almond milk due to a dairy allergy. The bonus benefit of lots of protein for my health freak family. Thanks so much.


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