Have Your Cake!

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff

This post is an installment in our 52 Health Hinges series. Remember, “Small hinges swing big doors.”

I’ve recently been talking about the top foods that people can have sensitivities to, and how you might do well to understand how they might be affecting you and how to ultimately get the bad guys out of your life. (You only remove them temporarily, but more on that later.)

It makes sense, right? But that doesn’t make it easy. It’s always difficult to imagine your life without some of your favorite foods because many times, there’s an emotional connection. For instance, birthday cakes!

I think it’s important to find delicious alternatives that can be brought into your life to help distract you from what you’re giving up. “Crowding out” the foods that are making you sick with more healthful and upgraded choices will ease the transition. It may be difficult at first, but once you start feeling the benefits, you’ll start to look at some of your old faves in a different light.

That brings me to cake.

We don’t eat refined sugar (we don’t even keep it in our home “just in case” anymore). But I love a good treat, so I was really excited to find this cake recipe (after a lot of hits and misses).

For me, the cake ends up being more brownie-like rather than fluffy cake-like. The taste? Mwah! Delish! My family tells me they like it, too (and although they’re all very kind and polite, I think I believe them!).

Instead of white sugar, I subbed an alternative sweetener called brown rice syrup. It’s brown rice that has been ground, cooked, and mixed with enzymes that share the starch into maltose. It tastes like moderately sweet butterscotch, and produces a relatively low glycemic response.

If you decide to try it as a replacement for refined sugar in other recipes, you may have to use up to 50% more brown rice syrup than sugar, and reduce the amount of other liquids in the recipe. But for this recipe, it’s good to go as written below.

Chocolate Quinoa Cake

(gluten-free, refined sugar-free)



  • ¾ cup dry quinoa (to yield 2 cups cooked quinoa)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup pasture butter
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup organic brown rice syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt 

Whipped Chocolate Coconut Cream Frosting:

  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can of full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
  • 1 (10 ounce) bag chocolate chips



  1. Soak ¾ cup dry quinoa overnight.
  2. Rinse the soaked quinoa, then cook it in 1 ½ cup water. (Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease the 9x13 pan with coconut oil.
  4. In a food processor or blender, combine the eggs, almond milk (or preferred milk), and vanilla extract then blend for 10 seconds to combine.
  5. Add the cooked and cooled quinoa along with the melted butter and coconut oil (could also use all regular butter) then blend until completely smooth, about 30 seconds to one minute.
  6. Sift together the dry ingredients in a large bowl (cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt).
  7. Add the wet ingredients in the blender to the bowl with the dry and mix together until well-combined.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick or knife to see if it’s done (it’s done if it comes out relatively clean). Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool.


  1. To make the frosting you will need to refrigerate the coconut milk overnight (in the coldest part of your refrigerator) so that the cream separates.
  2. When you are ready to make it, melt the chocolate in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Grab the coconut milk from the refrigerator but don’t shake the can or turn it upside down before opening. Open the can and scoop out the solid parts with a spoon, placing them into the pot with the chocolate. It’s okay if it the solid parts aren’t completely separated, just try to get as much of the thicker portions as possible. Melt the coconut cream and chocolate together then transfer to a large bowl that you can later use to whip it in. KEEP THE REMAINING COCONUT MILK – you will need it later for step 11.
  3. Allow to cool on the counter then cover and refrigerate for several hours, until thickened. Once it has thickened, remove from the refrigerator and beat on high until a fluffy icing has formed. Your frosting may be really hard and difficult to beat; use the leftover coconut milk from step 10 to soften and thin the frosting.
  4. Frost the cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. The icing will melt in really warm conditions but should be fine for a few hours in cooler settings.

I served this cake with coconut milk ice cream.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/2013/12/04/best-ever-chocolate-quinoa-cake-gluten-free/

If you’re not a chocolate fan, I also made and loved this pineapple upside down cake recipe. I baked this recipe exactly as written.

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff


really love all the insightful wisdom through your website....especially the hinge series...would love to have Jill as a health coach, but having a hard time finding the funds for the consultation. Do you work with clients financially? Also I live in Florida, would this be a problem?

Thanks for your time,


Hi Laurie, thank you so much for your comment and the interest in our work! We do most of our coaching via phone or Skype, so location is not a problem. We are willing to work with our clients to develop a payment plan for a program. Some of our clients do some legwork to gain approval for reimbursement from their Flex Saving Plan, too (for most, it just requires submitting a doctor’s note).

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