Joyous Blog

Gluten-free Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes

Sep 3, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy

Baby Vienna is turning one year old next week and I'm probably even more excited than she is! Actually, I'm quite sure I'm more excited than she is. I've been creating birthday party Pinterest boards and collecting cute party items for months!

But party items aside, the menu for her first birthday party is also something I've been planning for quite some time. These cupcakes are one such yummy item I've had on the menu because I know they will be a crowd-pleaser. I've taken my Chocolate Quinoa Cake recipe and modified it so it could be made into cupcakes. I wanted little, bite-sized cupcakes because kids (and those who are still kids at heart) know that everything tastes better when you can eat it with your hands! 

Since I've been set on keeping Vienna clear of junk food and refined sugars since I started introducing her to different foods , I also created an orange vanilla version of this cake as well so that she can also enjoy it. No chocolate for her yet! I don't want her to be bouncing off the walls. And if an orange cake and chocolate cupcakes weren't enough, I'm getting her an official birthday cake made with love by my friends at Tori's Bakeshop -- which is my official go-to whenever I need a birthday cake.

Let's get back to these cupcakes though... The quinoa in these cupcakes not only keeps things gluten-free and grain-free (although it's often treated as a grain, quinoa is actually classified as a pseudo-grain because it's technically a seed), but also keeps this cake deliciously moist. Instead of refined (and often GMO) white sugar, I've used a combo of maple syrup and coconut sugar to sweeten things up for a cake that will satisfy any sweet tooth, but keeps things more natural and health-conscious.

Sweets + Treats
Ingredients
  • 2 cups* cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup nut milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp liquid vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (or extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips, Enjoy Life brand
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a mini muffin pan or use mini muffin cups.
  2. Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a food processor. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa, maple syrup and the cooled melted coconut oil and continue to blend until smooth.
  3. Combine together in a medium bowl the coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix well. Add this mixture to the food processor and mix just until blended.
  4. Pour the batter into muffin cups. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Place on the middle rack in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a cake tester or a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely before removing from muffin cups.

Notes

*If cooking quinoa, 2/3 cup dry with 1 1/3 cup water yields approximately 2 cups. Don't worry if it is off a smidgen.
Makes 50-60 mini cupcakes!

I hope Vienna enjoys her birthday as much as I've enjoyed planning it for her!

What's your favourite birthday cake recipe or memory? Share it with me in the comments below!

Sep 3, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy
25 Comments
Sheri   •   September 3, 2016

If we don't have a mini muffin tin, can we use regular muffin tins? Would any of the ingredients or bake time need to be adjusted? Thanks! ??

Reply
Heather Allen   •   September 5, 2016

That would work just fine! You may need to increase the cooking time and bake until a toothpick comes clean out of the centre. Enjoy! Heather- Joyous Health Team


Nicole   •   September 4, 2016

Will you be posting the recipe ( orange vanilla cupcakes) that you made for Vienna to try? I would love to try making them! I have a 16 month old and I don't want her to have chocolate either! Thank you

Reply
Shawna   •   September 8, 2017

Yes please! I'd love the orange vanilla one too please!

Joy McCarthy   •   September 12, 2017

I haven't posted it yet because i made it on a whim! I will have to do it again soon so I can properly recipe test again!


Michelle   •   September 4, 2016

I have made two batches of these as regular cupcakes and both batches sunk considerably in the middle to the point that I had to throw them out. What am I doing wrong? I followed the recipe and used all the same ingredients.

Reply
Heather Allen   •   September 5, 2016

Oh no! There could be a few reasons. Overbeating is one of the main reasons cakes sink in the middle. The added air from over stirring causes them to sink. Try stirring just enough to combine the ingredients. It could also be that your baking powder needs to be replaced if it's a bit older. I hope that helps! Heather- Joyous Health Team


Sara   •   September 5, 2016

This cupcakes may be the most delicious yummy thing I´ve ever tried!! So amazing :)

Reply
Heather Allen   •   September 5, 2016

So glad you liked it! Heather- Joyous Health Team


Nicole   •   September 6, 2016

Made them on Saturday and they are sooo good!!!

Reply
Heather Allen   •   September 6, 2016

Yay! So glad you enjoyed, Nicole :) Heather- Joyous Health Team


melissa goulet   •   September 7, 2016

Hi Joy great recipe can I substitute chia eggs rather than regular eggs? Thanks so much Melissa

Reply
Heather Allen   •   September 7, 2016

Hey Melissa! I think that would work just fine. Let us know how it turns out :) Heather- Joyous Health Team


Judy Kroetsch   •   September 8, 2016

Hi Joy, I am not a choc-aholic so I would be very interested in the orange vanilla version. Love that it's gluten free. Thanks so much for all your wonderful tips and recipes. I met you at Goodness Me in Waterloo when you did a presentation which I enjoyed very much. Smiles, Judy

Reply

Hope   •   September 9, 2016

Do you think it would be okay to store the batter in the fridge for a couple of days as I don't want to make all 50-60 cupcakes at one time. Thanks! The recipe sounds delish!!

Reply
Heather Allen   •   September 9, 2016

Hmmm that's a tricky one!I don't think the batter would hold very well. I think the best way to do it (if possible) is to make the cupcakes in batches and freeze them and pop them out to defrost the day of your event! Sounds like you've got quite the party going down :) All the best, Heather- Joyous Health Team


Anna   •   September 11, 2016

This actually turned out as 30 muffins :D I don't know is it me or do I have bigger muffin cups :D Anyway, these muffins were excellent! Oh and I used a full cup of coconut milk because I love it. I usually overdo when it comes to coconut milk :D Thanks for sharing this recipe

Reply

Kyla   •   September 14, 2016

Is there any other sugar I can substitute for coconut sugar ?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   September 16, 2016

You could simply add a bit more maple syrup or brown rice syrup. Or you could also use Stevia. Hope that helps!


Fran   •   January 31, 2017

I can't seem to see the measurements on the recipe now that the website has been updated....which is beautiful by the way :)

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   February 1, 2017

Hey Fran, Oh, no! You must've caught in the midst of our soft launch. We're still ironing out some kinks, but should have everything back to normal soon. The recipe is now updated so you should be able to see the measurements :) Thanks so much for your patience and understanding! Rachel - Joyous Health Team


Cha   •   July 10, 2017

Hello! I'm looking for a birthday cake recipe for my soon-to-be 1 year old. I'd like to bake his cake from scartch with whole foods and for it to be as delicious and healthy-conscious as possible. The orange cake you mentioned sounds great! Any advice?

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   July 11, 2017

Hey Cha, How exciting! How about these Raw Carrot Cake Squares in cake form? That would be a great alternative! :) https://www.joyoushealth.com/25-recipe-raw-carrot-cake-squares-with-lemony-icing Rachel - Joyous Health Team


Melissa   •   October 21, 2017

These are decadent and sooo delicious! I might leave out the coconut sugar the next time, just to cut down on the sweet stuff!

Reply
Rachel Molenda   •   October 23, 2017

Hey Melissa, So happy you enjoyed them! They're one of my new favourite sweet treats too! Rachel - Joyous Health Team


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