Recipe: Quinoa Cocoa Cupcakes

I was having a sweet tooth (do I always have a sweet tooth?) and really wanted to perfect a quinoa recipe I had tried to make twice before.

I have previously mentioned the great benefits of quinoa in a blog post but if you need a refresher click here!

Just a reminder, quinoa is gluten and wheat free and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. I had previously used it to make quinoa with roasted cauliflower and pumpkin but the versatility of quinoa set me out to search for a sweet dish. This is what I found:

Cocoa Quinoa Cupcakes 
Recipe adapted from vegan-food

Cost: $0.41 per cupcake

Preparation time: 20 minutes + 10minutes in fridge

Baking Time: 20 minutes

  • 3/4 Cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/3 Cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 2/3 Cup white sugar (Or low GI sugar)
  • 1 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 Cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 Cup white flour
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 6.5 Tablespoons low fat/skim milk
  • 1 Large egg

  1. Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees celcius
  2. Rinse 1/3 cup of dried quinoa (This will make about 3/4-1cup of cooked quinoa)
  3. Place rinsed quinoa in a covered pot with about 2 cups of water. 
  4. Bring the quinoa to a boil, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes and add water if necessary. 
  5. After 25minutes take the quinoa off the stove, drain if necessary and allow to cool (in fridge is quicker). The quinoa should be fluffy and opaque looking and the liquid should mostly be all absorbed.
  6. Line cupcake tin with paper liners.
  7. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients well with a wooden spoon. It should look like this: 

  1. Bake at 180 degrees celcius for about twenty minutes, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Per cupcake: Energy: 693kJ (165.5Cal) Fat: 5.3g Sat Fat: 1.0g Carbohydrates: 24.4g Protein: 4.1g Sodium: 127.4mg Fibre: 2g  

Here they come out of the oven....

Notice how it looks bumpy on the top? I think the quinoa hardens with the exposure to heat and it offers a grittiness and crunch on the outside but the inside is super soft.

A look on the inside....
The flecks of yellow are the quinoa casing.

These are ones I had made previously when I was still perfecting the recipe. I added some ready made frosting as they looked a bit bare. I would have tried making my own frosting but I was in a rush and the shops had closed!

I have made these cupcakes 3 times now and each time I have added more milk and water (notice how wet it looks in the mixing picture?). This made sure they were nice and moist. Timing in the oven is also very crucial as they can dry out easily if left for too long in the oven. The original recipe called for very little liquid and the flour did not have enough liquid to go with it. I added in an egg to make it more cohesive as the original batch crumbled away. I always feel wholemeal cupcakes need a bit more milk or water as they can turn out dry so experiment!

The cupcakes were absolutely delicious the 3rd time round. The first batch fell apart and were dry. The second batch were a lot more moist but still a bit hard. Three's the charm as they were soft and mosit and so deliciously chocolatey! I brought the 2nd batch into work previously and everyone said they loved it and it didn't taste any different to normal cupcakes. I think they may have lied a bit =P. I can't say you can not taste the grittiness from the wholemeal flower or quinoa at all but it's very acceptable (especially if you had my 3rd batch!).  It looked like a normal chocolate cupcake and tasted 90% like a normal cupcake!

Nutritionally Speaking....
These cupcakes fare nutritionally better than many of the commercial cupcakes being low in saturated fat and higher in protein and fibre. They are a great snack on the go and was able to satisfy my sweet tooth and will be more filling than other commercial cupcakes. However notice the nutrition information is only for 1 cupcake and it may be hard to stop at one with these.... also the nutrition information does not have frosting and the addition of frosting will add to calories. If you are having more than 1 of these cupcakes the energy/calories do add up and no amount of good protein and fibre will discount that!

So what should I make next with quinoa?


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The information presented on this blog acts as general nutrition advice and is not tailored to meet individual needs. It should not be used as a replacement for any medical advice you have recieved from medical practitioners. Please discuss any concerns for your health with your doctor or Accredited Practicing Dietitian before starting a new dietary or exercise regime as they can give more personalised recommendations.

I make every effort to ensure information on Nutrition with Wendy is correct and up to date however nutrition is an evolving field and discrepancies can arise. If the information here appears incorrect or out of date please let me know and I will do my best to update my posts.