Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cubicle kitchen: Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes

When it comes to recipes that are healthy or accommodate some kind of special dietary requirement, I prefer those with two qualities:
  1. They don't require ingredients whose purpose is solely for that dietary requirement.
  2. They taste good enough that people with no desire to be healthy crave them.
That means that I tend to stay away from gluten-free recipes that use fancy flours.  Yes, I would like to one day experiment with them just to see what they are like, but my baking pantry is bursting enough with just all-purpose, cake, self-rising, and whole wheat flours, I don't really have room for others.  Things like corn meal, oatmeal, and quinoa I already have on hand, so I tend to seek out recipes that utilize those.

And of course, describing a baked good as primarily 'good for you' is like describing a potential blind date as having a good personality.  It may very well be true, but it's not the first impression that's going to inspire a first bite or a first date.

These cupcakes meet both of my requirements perfectly.  First of all, it uses leftover cooked quinoa, so it's perfect for dessert after making some stuffed tomatoes.  And because you blend the quinoa, you end up with a gorgeously moist cake that reminds you of a decadent flour less chocolate cake, the ultimate example of something that is gluten-free practically as an afterthought.  

Plus, being quinoa, it's not just about the lack of gluten.  It's also about being a superfood with lots of protein and qualities that allow you to feel completely self-righteous as you lick frosting from your lips.

Quinoa Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from A Dusting of Sugar: Chocolate Quinoa Cake

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 3/4 cup sweetened cocoa (hot cocoa mix)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl.  Add quinoa and butter.  Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, cocoas, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and stir until combined.
  5. Divide evenly between cupcake liners, about half full.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For frosting, make a double batch of cdkitchen: Easy Cocoa Frosting

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