How To Be A Great Girlfriend


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!


For 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)

For Frosting:
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.

Jax x

19 Responses to “How To Be A Great Girlfriend”

  1. Chanel11 Says:

    Kudos to you for hand-whipping, I tried once but my 'guns' failed me – they just weren't up to the task.

    I have quite a bit of quinoa that needs usin' and not enough sweet recipes to use it in, shall be keeping this one in mind fo sho.

  2. Tunde Says:

    Save me up a slice. I'm sure its as good as it looks or even better :D !!
    I'll have to try some quinoa now. Heard so many good things about it, so this is my excuse to try some. First with desert :P !!

  3. A Thought For Food Says:

    What a fantastic idea! I knew that you could bake with quinoa, but I've yet to do it. This cake looks incredibly decadent… send thanks to Robin for sharing with all of us.

  4. Monet Says:

    You are such a sweet heart. Not only beautiful on the outside, but beautiful on the inside too. I have so many friends who have a gluten intolerance and I know they would be so touched if I made them a special cake. I can't wait to give this a try. Much love!

  5. Mochachocolata Rita Says:

    omg! LOVe the quinoa idea…and look at how dark it is! so sad i can't eat sweets at this moment T_T boohoo

  6. Ashley Says:

    this looks so devilishly good! MUST TRY!!!

    You hand whipping your cream reminds me of a chef I had in my sorority house. Yeah, we had a chef :) He used to make hot chocolate from scratch and then hand whip the cream. It's SO MUCH BETTER than from the can!!

  7. Reeni Says:

    What a gorgeous cake! And quinoa is so unique here – who woulda thought you could bake a cake with it? And have it look as rich and delicious as this?

    Funny you should mention that about the bucatini – I had a whole paragraph about slurping them but I edited it out. I was trying to be funny – and that doesn't always work for me – sometimes people don't get me. Slurping them just sucks in air like a hose and leaves the noodles where they were – hanging out of your mouth.

  8. Jake Says:

    Found you via your comment over at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice.

    Love your blog!

  9. Clara Says:

    Can't wait to try this Jackie! I'm thinking of starting a gluten-free experiment to see how it affects my diet and this will be an amazing addition.

    Will let you know…clara

  10. Chef Dennis Says:

    I can't believe how great that cake looks…I think this would be the perfect cake to make for my girls, to teach them that gluten free desserts can be delicious! I will let you know when I make it for them!
    thanks so much for all your hard work and great recipes!

  11. Ashley Says:

    The dress in my picture is from Notting Hill, btw :) It's one of my favorites!!!!!

  12. catty Says:

    I'm finding it hard to picture quinoa (kin-wah, you say? I didn't know either!) in CAKE because I've ever only had it as a salad item, but the cake looks great regardless :)

  13. Jackie Says:

    Chanel11 – one of the reasons I decided to post this recipe so early was because a lot of people had been saying they had a lot of quinoa hanging around and nothing to do with it! Somebody else made this the other day and Tweeted me the results and apparently it was just as much a success for them as for me! WIN. Try it out, let me know if you love it as much as I did! Also, my guns almost weren't up to the task, but I persevered because I didn't wanna be weak, yo. Train those guns up, girl ;)

    Tunde – YES! Try it :D New things = new knowledge = new skills!

    Brian – I've passed the message on, along with my heaps of praise for the cake!

    Monet – I bet you'll find some amazing twist on this, too ;) Share the results when you do get round to trying it!

    Reets – you'll be able to make this soon enough, especially now that Lil' SC has entered the world! Yay!

    Ash – how wonderfully decadent :D You should try some hand-whipping sometime – it's very satisfying seeing it come together (even if you are nearly half-dead at the end of it…)! Also, I knew I recognised that dress from somewhere… ;)

    Reeni – I was extremely dubious at first but the results had me totally SOLD. Also, you should've included your comment about the bucatini – I think it's funny! But then maybe I just fall into the same category or weird as you do…

    Jake – thank you! And thanks for swinging by!

    Clara – so glad you came by my blog, lovely girl! Yes, please do try this out, let me know how it turns out and if Mama Lena & Lil' Kaia like it too!

    Dennis – that would be awesome if you made it for your girls! Let me know (and take photos)!

    Catty – honestly, it's really good. I wasn't sure how it was going to work out either, but it has this total kind of nutty thing going on that works with the cocoa and does amazing things to the moisture levels of this cake. And the frosting. Ho-em-geez. The frosting. You should try this!

    Jax x

  14. All That I'm Eating Says:

    This looks so good. Especially that icing! I found a recipe where you use beetroot as a substitute and I was rather sceptical. After seeing this, I'll be making it soon.

  15. islandeat Says:

    Jax, this looks like a tasty-tasty cake! It's a good trick up-the-sleeve for gluten-sensitive friends (I have a few), and I am always looking for options. Quinoa is a super-food, which has been sitting in my pantry for too long….



  16. Jackie Says:

    ATIE – you must try it, the frosting is wonderful but it's quite gloopy so I'd definitely recommend either keeping it in the fridge until you're ready to slather the cake with it, or not getting it ready until the very last minute. Let me know how it turns out!

    Dan – oh definitely. It was a big hit with Paolo (and David, apparently), and it seems that everybody has a box of quinoa tucked away! Make good use of it =)

    Jax x

  17. Milla Says:

    Love quinoa, love chocolate, love this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. zenchef Says:

    I must say. It does look pretty damn awesome! :)

  19. Jackie Says:

    I don’t lie! I WOULD SERVE IT TO GOD.

    Jax x

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