I wasn’t going to post this recipe for a couple of days, but I just had to. You’ll soon see why. The other day whilst I was talking to David he told me that he had a recipe for me that I absolutely had to try out because it was just so incredibly phenomenal. He was just raving about it like crazy.
David’s best buddy is called Paolo, and he’s allergic to gluten. His girlfriend Robin, who is also David’s housemate, decided to find a gluten-free cake recipe to make just for him, because she is awesome like that. I should also note that I have never met Paolo or Robin, but heard so much about them (plus David’s other Canadian friends) that I almost feel like I have. Almost. Anyway, Robin found, with the help of her Momma, a gluten-free quinoa chocolate cake recipe, and, true to David’s word, it is awesome. Now is that a great girlfriend, or what?
I’ve done my fair share of good girlfriend deeds, mostly in the form of cooking, because Lord knows I love to feed, but I’ve never specifically had to make something for someone because of a dietary issue.
There is something very satisfying about being able to present somebody with something unexpected. The memory is something that sticks with you, because you can still remember just how surprised and happy the other person looked. It’s a great feeling, a real meal for the soul. Maybe that’s why when I’ve cooked for others I often don’t feel as hungry myself. That and the fact that I’ve been around cooking smells all day…
Now this recipe calls for a very interesting ingredient: quinoa. I’ve never used quinoa before, barely really eaten it (I don’t eat a lot of tabbouleh), so I was intrigued to discover how it would turn out. The end result had a beautifully nutty texture and was so ridiculously moist. It was just perfect. Confession time: before discovering that quinoa was pronounced ‘kin-wah’ I always thought it was ‘kin-oh-ah’. Yep. That’s just how unversed in Middle-Eastern cooking I am.
A couple of substitutions – Robin uses a little maca in her version, but I couldn’t find any so I went without. I also substituted real milk for soy milk, because that’s my intolerance. Also, and this is really just a personal preference: I am a real one for manual labour. When I say that I mean that when things must be whipped I do them by hand, crushed and minced, I do them by hand. It gives me a personal satisfaction. But I actually used my little hand immersion blender to blend up the ingredients, because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the quinoa, then, to even things out, did everything else by hand. So it’s your choice, but you probably do need a food processor of some kind for this one.
Anyway, you should definitely try this cake out. I was so pleased with the results I’m definitely going to be making this again, probably also for one evening during the ten-week catering job I’m doing at the end of the month (details to come next post). Get your quinoa out and bake it up, baby cakes!
ROBIN’S GLUTEN-FREE QUINOA CHOCOLATE CAKE
2/3 cup white/golden quinoa
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup milk (soy or regular, up to you)
4 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups white/cane sugar
Just over 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsps bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp maca (optional)
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
2 1/4 cup icing sugar
6 oz cream cheese
2 1/2 tsp cocoa
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease two 8″ cake tins and line the bottoms with a circle of baking paper.
2. Rinse the quinoa, then place in a medium saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan undisturbed for another 10 mins. Fluff with a fork and allow quinoa to cool.
3. Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a food processor, add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and the butter, and continue to blend until smooth.
4. Sift together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and maca (if using) in a medium bowl, then add the contents of the food processor and mix well.
5. Divide batter into pans and bake for 40-45 mins. Allow to cool, then remove from tins to cooling racks. I use springform pans, which makes this entire process a whole lot easier.
6. When the cake is completely cooled, make your frosting. Beat together the whipping cream and 3/4 cup of the icing sugar until it forms stiff peaks.
7. In a separate bowl beat the cream cheese until fluffy, then add the remaining icing sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla and beat together until well combined.
8. Fold together the two mixtures, then, using a spatula, spread 1 cup between the layers and put the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. It can get quite gloopy so keep your frosting ingredients refrigerated until you’re ready to frost the cake.
9. Grab a slice and get stuck in! Try not to eat the whole thing at once – she may be gluten-free but she’s still a big ol’ chocolate cake! I imagine would be rather lovely with a hot mug o’ joe.
There you have it then. Hope you enjoy it as much as David, Paolo, Robin and I did. It’s a keeper. Until next time, peace and love.