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Cinnamon Sugar Quinoa Snacking Cake

Cinnamon Sugar Quinoa Snacking Cake

Cinnamon Sugar Quinoa Snacking Cake |

I’ve been intrigued by the chocolate quinoa cakes I’ve seen recently on Pinterest. I mean, adding a sprinkle of quinoa to dark chocolate doesn’t exactly sound delicious – even if it DOES sound healthy.

Not to mention that the cakes are gluten-free; (which is not typically a marker for deliciousness – don’t worry my #GF friends, I come around at the end of this post!)

But these quinoa-chocolate-cake-baking bloggers are adamant that their results are “my favorite cake;” and ‘yummy…even though we dislike sweets!‘ (Huh?!)

So I just had to experiment with a recipe that replaced flour with cooked quinoa – but in baby steps. Instead of going straight to chocolate, I thought the nuttiness of quinoa would deliciously complement brown sugar and cinnamon in what might turn out to be a leaden cake. (Plus I had on my mind the Cinnamon & Sugar Improv Challenge, which is run by Kristen @ Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.)

Cinnamon Sugar Quinoa Snacking Cake |

The results were shocking: A light, tender-crumbed cake that was super-duper moist and completely delicious. I will never knock a gluten-free cake again! The brown sugar and cinnamon with the blueberries I threw in at the suggestion of my 5-year-old did produce a yummy cake! While we did decipher tiny bits of quinoa (despite pureeing the quinoa for a good 5 minutes,) they were not unlike chewing on tiny soft tapioca pearls.

The kids and I enjoyed the cake as a snack with a glass of iced tea…and we plan to have it again for breakfast tomorrow with a cup of milk and fruit. The recipe contains four eggs and 2 cups of quinoa, thus I estimate it has:

  • Nearly 4 grams of protein per serving and about 10 grams of added sugar (Not a ton of sugar for a cake, but next time I’ll use less sugar because it was plenty sweet.)
  • For comparison, a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch® cereal has 1 gram of protein and 9 grams of added sugar.
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Cinnamon Sugar Quinoa Snacking Cake |

Cinnamon Sugar Quinoa Snacking Cake


Perfect for a protein-packed breakfast or snack – this cake is rich in protein from quinoa and eggs. Snack happy and healthy!


  • 2/3 cup quinoa – uncooked
  • 1/3 cup of milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter, cooled
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar, packed (I will try 1/2 cup next time)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar + 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, mixed well


  1. Rinse quinoa and cook in 1 1/3 cup water according to these instructions (skip #3 toasting step)
  2. Cool quinoa.
  3. Place half of quinoa in a food processor (or blender) and add milk. Process for 2 minutes. Add remaining quinoa and 2 eggs. Process for 5 minutes until very smooth. (Continue in food processor if you have large capacity one. I didn’t so I continued with my electric mixer.)
  4. Pour quinoa/egg mixture in large bowl and add remaining eggs. Blend thoroughly. Add vanilla, butter, oil and mix well. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, powder, soda; add to wet ingredients and blend well.
  5. Pour into greased 9X13″ cake pan. Sprinkle blueberries over cake. (It’s ok if they sink into batter slightly.) Sprinkle granulated sugar/cinnamon mixture over top of cake.
  6. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out nearly clean. Don’t overbake.

Have you ever made anything sweet with quinoa? Please share!

Kathleen Dooley

Thursday 7th of June 2018

there are plenty of chocolate cake recipes using cooked quinoa but I can't find a white/yellow one! I need cupcakes not a cake. Aren't there any using cooked quinoa like you do in the chocolate cake?

Serena Ball

Friday 8th of June 2018

This recipe would work great for a yellow cupcake recipe. It's rather dense, but delicious! You could leave out the blueberries so they don't weigh down the cake. To make it even fluffier, I would try separating the white from the yolk of 2 eggs used in step #4. Mix the yolks in as usual in step #4. Then after all ingredients are mixed, whip the whites with 1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter and fold them into the cake batter before baking. This should lighten the cake so it's more like a cupcake and less like a dense snacking cake.


Friday 31st of March 2017

Can you tell me how much cooked quinoa is needed in this recipe? I usually cook a lot of quinoa at once so it would be easier to just grab the correct cooked quinoa amount from there. Thanks so much! Been looking for another cooked quinoa cake recipe other than the ubiquitous chocolate cake.

Serena Ball

Friday 31st of March 2017

Great question Cecilia. Two-thirds cup dry quinoa yields about 2 cups cooked quinoa. So when you're making the cake, put 1 cup cooked in the blender with the milk and blend. Then add the remaining 1 cup cooked quinoa to the blender (with other ingredients) according to the instructions. Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday 10th of July 2013

Can this recipe be made with flax and almond milk and no butter, for a vegan version?


Wednesday 10th of July 2013

Yup! You could use vegan milk beverage and oil instead of butter! Good idea!

Amanda Childers

Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

I do not have a food processor, will a blender work? It looks so yummy trying to cut all of the junk out of my diet to lose weight and get healthy but still crave a little sweet now and again, would love to have something that looks this good.


Thursday 23rd of May 2013

Good call Amanda! I edited the recipe to include instructions for blender. You could certainly use a blender instead of food processor!

Tumbleweed Contessa

Saturday 18th of May 2013

I only thought of quinoa as savory. Thanks for introducing it this way to me. I am glad that you participate in the Monthly Improv Challenge!

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