Although I feel everybody has started cooking and praising it relatively recently, quinoa has been around for ages. It became popular about 3000 BC in the Andes area in South America, probably also due to its adaptability. Quinoa can grow in extreme weather conditions: from exposure to the hot sun to surviving sub-freezing temperatures. And, most importantly, its nutrient richness makes it a superfood.
Even though quinoa that we know and use has a form of grains, it is not cereal. It belongs to the same family as spinach and beets. And just like in the case of these vegetables, we could eat its leaves and stems too. They, I have read, taste similar to the mentioned greens.
However, it is its seeds that quinoa is mainly known for. They are extremely healthy as well as delicious, and I have used them previously in some savoury dishes. So when I came across a quinoa cake, I couldn’t believe it. I understood using millet: sometimes we do have millet with fruit and honey for breakfast, I even bake a tart with millet. But a cake with quinoa?! I had no choice, I simply had to give it a try.
The result was surprising and delicious: the Quinoa Chocolate Cake was very moist and rich, and you couldn’t taste the quinoa. It only gave a slight “bite” to the cake, but this was in truth an extra value added to its texture.
If a thought of the excellent taste of this cake hasn’t convinced you yet to bake it, maybe its healthiness will. It not only contains a super healthy grain, but it includes neither flour nor butter (I replaced it with rapeseed oil). So what can be better than a piece of an (almost) guilt-free Chocolate Quinoa Cake?
0.5tspbeetroot juice(or a few drops of pink food colorant), optionally
Prepare the quinoa: put it in a fine mesh strainer, rinse it under running cold water rubbing the seeds with each other with your fingers (for at least 1 minute) and drain well. Heat 0.5 tsp of olive oil in a pot over a medium heat and fry the drained quinoa for about 1 minute till the rest of water evaporates. Add water, 0.25 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook covered for approx. 15 minutes. Take it out from the heat and let it rest covered for 5 minutes more. Fluff the quinoa with a fork. The quinoa has to be dry, in case there is still some water left, transfer it to a strainer and let it drain completely.
Preheat an oven to 170 Celsius degrees (fan oven).
Grease a 23 cm loose-bottom cake tin with oil and line it with baking paper.
In a food processor combine milk, eggs and vanilla extract; add oil and cooked quinoa, whizz again until smooth.
Sieve the cocoa, baking powder and baking soda to a bowl; mix it with the sugar and salt, add the quinoa mixture and stir it well.
Pour the mixture into the tin and put in the hot oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
Make the icing: melt each type of chocolate separately with 3 tbsp of milk in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water (if you would like to get pink icing add the beetroot juice or the colourant to the white chocolate).
When the cake is baked, take it out from the oven, leave it in the tin for 10 min. Afterwards, put it on a plate and cool. Spread the dark icing and then pour the pink (white) icing in a decorative way.
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Hi, I am Agnieszka, and I am passionate about delicious but healthy food. Many healthy dishes are bland and uninteresting. I reject this. So I created my blog Tastes of Health to share my yummy recipes for healthier (often plant-based and gluten-free) versions of family favourites.
I look forward to receiving your feedback after you try them.