guest post by Divya Y. – dark chocolate quinoa cake

Divya is one of those friends that you meet online through blogging and that make all the long hours of experimenting, cooking, shooting and writing worth it. She is also a huge inspiration of mine when it comes to following your dreams. Divya is one of the few people out there that had the courage to quit her well paid corporate job and pursue her dreams in the food world. And the recipes she creates… oh my! Just check this delicious, vibrant and so creative dark chocolate quinoa cake!

When I first started blogging, I never imagined that I would meet so many fabulous women in the blogosphere who are not only talented, but inspirational too. Nadia has certainly been an inspiration to me ever since I laid eyes on her blog. Fresh, beautiful and healthy recipes from a woman who truly loves what she does. What’s better than that? When Nadia approached me to write a guest post for her blog, I knew I wanted to do something creative and unique. The result of countless days of debating what to make for her? A dark chocolate quinoa cake with coconut cream and oranges! With a video too!

When it comes to healthy eating, I wouldn’t categorize myself as a vegan, raw foodist or even a vegetarian, but I certainly enjoy learning from people who follow these different ways of eating. There will be days when I’m vegan or vegetarian and then there will be days when I’m not, but the one thing I do adhere to is being gluten-free. I didn’t want to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon since I’m not a celiac, but I was intrigued to find out what the hype was about. Four months later and 12 pounds lighter, I’m happy I made the switch to gluten-free. I realized that although I’m not allergic to gluten, I am definitely “sensitive” to it. So what did I need to give up to be gluten-free? Well, at first it seemed like I had to give up EVERYTHING. No bread, no pasta and definitely no cake. But you probably know, there are always ways to work around things if you have the will to do so. That’s how this gluten-free quinoa cake was born!

I have to mention that I use the word “cake” loosely here. I don’t know what else to call this dessert, but it certainly isn’t like the usual cake in terms of the texture. The texture is hard to describe, but don’t let that make you think that it won’t taste good. It really does taste just as good as it looks. If you love dark chocolate and the pleasantly bitter taste of it, then I would suggest to use less maple syrup in the recipe. If you love things a little more on the sweet side, keep it as is.

By the way, a few tips to make this recipe fool-proof:
a) Make sure the quinoa is rinsed very well to prevent the saponins present on the surface from imparting a bitter flavour to the cake.

b) Once the quinoa is cooked, don’t forget to cover it while it’s cooling. You want to retain the moisture at all costs. No one likes a dry cake!

c) Grease the pan really well and coat it with a dusting of cocoa powder to prevent sticking. I found that quinoa batter loves to stick to the pan.

d) If your cake is cooled completely, the coconut cream will probably not melt the way it does in the video. I was being impatient and just smeared the cake with cream while it was still warm. I think I actually liked the coconut cream better this way. Slightly runny and with oodles of flavor.

e) Store the cake in an air-tight container once cooled, otherwise the cake will dry out a bit. This tip goes for any cake, not just this one.

Thank you Nadia for inspiring me to make this cake and for the honour of sharing your space with you!

Serves 8-10


1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water

5 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup maple syrup ( if you prefer the bitter flavour of dark chocolate 3/4 cup will suffice)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup water
1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Coconut cream and orange segments to decorate


1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-12 minutes. Fluff the quinoa once cooked, cover and let it cool completely.

2. Crack the eggs in a large mixing bowl and add the vanilla extract. Whisk well. Then add the maple syrup, coconut oil and water. Whisk well. Note: The coconut oil may start to solidify slightly if the eggs are too cold. No need to worry!

3. Mix the dry ingredients (cocoa powder, coconut, cinnamon powder,salt and baking powder) in another mixing bowl.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Then add the quinoa to the batter and whisk until uniformly blended.

5. Transfer the batter to a well greased spring-form cake pan. To prevent sticking I dusted the pan with a touch of cocoa powder after greasing it.

6. Bake the cake in a preheated oven at 360 degrees F (180 degree C) for 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the cake to check if it is done. If it doesn’t come out clean, bake for an additional five minutes.

7. Let the cake cool and carefully remove it from the pan. Decorate with coconut cream and orange segments. Enjoy!

About the Author

Divya Y.

Divya Y. is a freelance food photographer and culinary consultant based in the vibrant city of Toronto. She is a food enthusiast – loves everything about food and can talk/think/dream about it endlessly. So much so that she quit her corporate job last year to pursue her passion for food. The result? A blog, a quarterly online magazine, a video channel and the chance to become a freelancer! You can probably tell by now that food is her obsession.


  1. Wow! I can’t wait to try this cake! My new birthday cake! Also loved the video. One little question regarding the coconut cream. Is there a product you recommend to use? Thanks.

  2. This cake is amazing!!! I made it with honey instead of maple syrup and it is soooo delicious.
    Thank you both for the great recepie.
    Nadya, yiu are just great!

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