Quinoa, pronounced "keen-wah" is one of those weird and wacky grains that a Celiac often discovers first when they start branching out. Technically it isn't a grain, it's a seed, but it's similar in texture to cous cous (which we can't have) and cooks up like a grain, that it ends up getting that title. It's a very versatile little seed and I see it most often served as a side dish for an entree (like rice) or as a light flavorful salad. I've even seen it and used it in some desserts because when you add it uncooked to a cookie or granola bar type recipe, it puffs up when baked and becomes this lovely little crunchy goodness. I have never seen it used as the main flour ingredient for a cake. That is, of course, until a co-worker sent me an article from a former local paper the Times Colonist. It was entitled "Crazy About Quinoa" and had a recipe in it for a moist chocolate cake. I definitely had to try it!
Below is an adaption of the recipe printed from the Times Colonist. There wasn't a whole lot to adapt as it was already gluten free, but I substituted chocolate for carob, milk for coconut milk and added some blueberries to the mix. To get a stronger blueberry flavor next time I think I would add some blueberry tea to the water that the quinoa was cooked in, or just go for a stronger flavored berry like blackberry. The cake was delicious and I had a few people at work ask for the recipe. It's quite easy to make and it makes two cakes so you can do what I did and save one for home and share the other, or you can freeze the second one or just stack it and make a layered cake. Enjoy!
Carob Quinoa Cake (with a hint of blueberry)
2/3 cup white or golden Quinoa
1 1/3 cups Water (try adding blueberry tea)
1/3 cup Coconut Milk
4 large Eggs
1 tsp pure Vanilla Extract
1 cup of fresh or frozen Blueberries
3/4 cup Butter, melted and cooled
1-1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Carob Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool. Lightly grease two 8-inch round or square cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Combine the coconut milk, eggs, blueberries and vanilla in a food processor then all of the cooked quinoa and the butter and continue to blend until smooth. Next dump in sugar, carob powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and blend well. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake on the centre rack for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan before serving.