Friday, December 21, 2012

Completely delicious (and GLUTEN-FREE!) chocolate quinoa cupcakes. No, really. No, YOU shut up.

I made these cupcakes and they are so, so good.

Look how pretty and chocolate-y they are! Don't you want one? Besides being pretty and delicious, they're gluten-free. Neither Adam nor I have any sort of wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, but we have lots of friends that do, and it's nice to be able to bake for them, too.

Besides, even though I wouldn't by any means call these rich, incredibly moist treats healthy, using quinoa instead of white flour adds protein, fiber and magnesium to the recipe--so I think I can safely say that they are somewhat healthiER than your average chocolate cupcake. (If you're allergic to wheat or gluten, though, these are definitely way better for you,obviously.)

I took the picture above to show you, in case you had any doubts, that the recipe produces cupcakes with a very cake-y, totally legitimate crumb. In fact, I think I like these better than a typical wheat-based cupcake. The very picky Adam and a couple of friends taste-tested these, and everyone liked them. Major props to Cake on the Brain for my new go-to cupcake recipe!

Bonus: The whole recipe got made in our new old Vitamix! I did have to turn it off and poke around in it a bit to get the dry ingredients to sink enough into the wet ones and mix properly, but I'm thinking that might not be an issue in a newer Vitamix. Either way, not a big deal, and still super-easy cleanup.

Also: I found that this recipe made me 16 cupcakes, instead of the quoted 12. It is possible that my batter pour is just miserly, though. 

Lastly: I made this recipe a second time, subbing coconut oil for the butter. They weren't as good. Follow the recipe. Butter is your friend.

Okay, really lastly: These look so dark and gorgeous in these pictures because I used Black Onyx cocoa powder for a third of the cocoa powder the recipe calls for. For the other two thirds, I used Dutch cocoa. What makes Dutch cocoa different from other cocoa powder is that it's alkalized, which results in a milder, smoother chocolate flavor. Black Onyx cocoa powder is much more heavily alkalized, which makes it very, very dark and chocolatey. I got mine at our local Savory Spice Shop; if you don't have one near you, they sell it online, right here.

Here's the recipe, as published at Cake on the Brain on February 13, 2012. 

adapted from Quinoa 365:  The Everyday Superfood
Makes 12 large scrumptious cupcakes
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cold (see note below for instructions to cook quinoa)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

*1 muffin tin (large cups, large cupcake liners) with 12 wells.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line the muffin tin with the 12 large-sized cupcake liners.  
  2. In a Vitamix, Blender or Food Processor, combine:  milk, eggs, vanilla.  Blend until combined.  Add 2 cups of cold cooked quinoa and the melted butter and continue to blend until smooth.
  3. Dump in the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the Vitamix.  Blend well to combine.  
  4. Pour from the blender directly into the cupcake liners, evenly distributing the cupcake batter between the 12 liners.  Gently tap the tin on the counter to ensure there are no air bubbles.  Smooth the tops with a small spatula (or your finger!)
  5. Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 30 minutes.
  6. Test the cupcakes for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester.
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan and allow the cupcakes to cool completely on a rack.
  8. Frost if desired with Swiss Meringue Buttercream using a 1M Wilton tip.  Decorate with the chocolate lace hearts (see post above for the easy method I used).  Bling it up with dragees if desired.
  9. Cupcakes can be stored sealed in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.  But I don't think they'll last that long.

Note:  Bring 2/3 cup raw, rinsed white or golden quinoa to boil in a heavy saucepan with 1 1/3 cups water.  Cover, reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave covered saucepan on burner for another 10 minutes.  Fluff with fork and allow the Quinoa to cool.
Rice Cooker Method:  Cook rinsed quinoa as you would rice, following manufacturer's instructions and the indicator lines for appropriate water levels.    I made 1 cup quinoa and found it had enough leftovers to make another dish.

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