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Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Prep time: 35 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Calories: 458

Jules Shepard

This cake contains surprise ingredients, making it almost good for you. Cooked quinoa adds nutrients, as well as structure and a fun, nutty texture. It’s sweetened with unrefined coconut palm sugar, a natural sugar alternative with a lower glycemic index. Coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor without adding extra sweetness. This all-around delicious cake can be made egg-free; see instructions.



3/4 cup coconut oil or butter, softened 1 cup unrefined coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt of choice
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup pure maple syrup, agave syrup or coconut nectar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
13/4 cups cooked quinoa,* cold (prepare according to package directions)
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons Jules’ Home- made All-Purpose Flour Blend
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch processed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup prepared coffee or milk of choice


1. Preheat oven to 350°F static or 325°F convection (preferred). Grease an 8×8-inch pan or an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Using a stand mixer or large food processor, whip coconut oil and sugar until light. Add sour cream, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix well. Stir in cooked quinoa, flour blend, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in coffee, mixing well until batter is smooth. (There will be some texture due to the cooked quinoa.) Batter will be spoonable but somewhat thick. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Place in preheated oven and bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

4. Remove cake from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before frosting.

*TIP: Quinoa makes this cake’s texture a little more substantial. For a smoother-textured cake, process 1¾ cups cooked quinoa in a food processor until smooth; add this mixture to the batter as instructed in step 2.

For Egg-Free Surprise Chocolate Cake, omit 2 eggs. Reduce coconut oil or butter to 1/2 cup. Combine 4 tablespoons Follow Your Heart VeganEgg with 12 tablespoons ice-cold water, mixing until smooth. (Add a little more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed for a smooth mixture.) Use this mixture to replace eggs in step 2. (If using prepared coffee instead of milk, replace some of the water in your VeganEgg mixture with an equal amount of ice-cold coffee for more coffee flavor.)

Each piece without frosting contains 302 calories, 18g total fat, 14g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 231mg sodium, 37g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 21g sugars, 4g protein, 23Est GL.
Each piece with Creamy Chocolate Frosting contains 458 calories, 24g total fat, 18g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 57mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 62g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 43g sugars, 5g protein, 34Est GL.

Creamy Chocolate Gluten-Free Frosting


For dairy-free evaporated milk, see Shopping List on the main article page.

2¾ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, more if needed
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons butter or dairy-free alternative, room temperature
5 tablespoons evaporated milk or half-and-half, more if needed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Sift confectioners’ sugar into a large bowl. Whisk in cocoa powder.

2. In a separate bowl, cream butter until smooth. Slowly beat in sugar/cocoa mixture, alternating with evaporated milk and vanilla. Whip until fluffy.

3. Add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, if frosting is too thick. Add more confectioners’ sugar, ¼ cup at a time, if frosting is too thin.

Each tablespoon contains 39 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 4mg cholesterol, 2mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 6g sugars, 0g protein, 4Est GL.

Associate editor Jules Shepard is author of Free For All Cooking (DaCapo Perseus), The First Year: Celiac Disease and Living Gluten-Free (DaCapo Perseus) and Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten-Free Eating (CreateSpace).

Yields 12 servings
1 serving contains 458 calories, 24g total fat, 18g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 57mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 62g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 43g sugars, 5g protein.