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Flourless Gluten-free Dark Chocolate Cake

—  found in  Food  —

I made this wonderful flourless gluten-free dark chocolate cake recipe to celebrate 10 years of Joyous Health! Yes ...

Whenever we have a birthday, anniversary or a special event to celebrate, I make this cake. Or rather, "we" make this cake! In fact, for my last birthday, Walker and Vienna baked me this cake. My mom always makes it for birthdays too with her own Ma McCarthy spin on it.

flourless chocolate cake with strawberries and coconut cream

She made this recipe for me for the first time about 6 years ago and I was hooked ever since. I've made some updates to it over the years based on ingredients I have on hand but this recipe is tried and true. 

I decided to create a recipe video of it too just because I just love it so much!

As I mentioned in my video, holy TEMPEH (!!!), it's been a decade since I wrote my first official blog post. How did that happen?!

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Thank you so much for being a reader of the blog, whether you're brand new here, you've just stumbled over here from Youtube or Instagram, or you've been here since the early days. I am grateful for you, my community!

You guys have inspired me so much on this journey. I love your ideas, questions and comments. It inspires me to write, continue learning and share my love of natural health.

I love this cake because not only is it flourless, but it's packed with quinoa – two whole cups! That means it's got protein and fibre. Not your typical cake right? I find this cake nice and sweet as is so I don't use icing because truthfully, it doesn't need it. But if you'd like to add icing, you're welcome to! I personally like to serve it with fresh fruit and coconut yogurt.

It's best if you blend up the mixture in a food processor or blender. Both work well, but I recommend you do process it using either of those options to get a nice smooth texture. 

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This cake is super moist and almost fudgey-like. The extra-virgin olive oil and quinoa help with the moistness which is essential for a cake! It's pretty amazing that there is ZERO dairy from cream! Dairy-containing cream is usually what gives a chocolate cake that memorable richness, but you'll discover that you don't even need it in this recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

flourless chocolate cake with strawberries and coconut cream

In case you've made past versions of this cake, you'll be happy to know that this is the BEST version! I just made a few updates to it. See my notes below for more additional options. 

Desserts
Flourless Gluten-free Dark Chocolate Cake Print
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Dry Ingredients
  • 1 cup of dry quinoa
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder**
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips***
Wet Ingredients
  • 2 cups water (for cooking the quinoa)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil*
  • 3/4 cup real maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C) degrees. Line the bottom of an 9" cake pan or springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with coconut oil.
  2. Place water and quinoa in a medium pot and bring to a soft boil. Reduce to low and cook for 15-20 minutes until quinoa fluffs with a fork. Let cool before combining 2 cups with other ingredients.
  3. Once quinoa has cooled, measure out 2 cups of quinoa and add it to a high power blender or a food processor. Add the eggs, oil, syrup, vanilla, sugar, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.
  4. Blend until fully combined and smooth. You will see some of the quinoa texture in the batter. It should be thick and fully mixed together. (see my video for how it should look). Mix in the chocolate chips with a spoon.
  5. Pour cake batter into cake pan. Smooth out top with a spatula so it's even. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let sit on a cooling rack to cool completely before removing from the cake pan. You can cut the slices directly from the cake pan or remove it from the cake pan.
  7. Enjoy with fresh berries and coconut yogurt!

Notes

Serves 12.

*You can also use melted coconut oil.
**You can use cocoa powder if you like.
***I use the Enjoy Life brand because it's dairy/soy/gluten-free.

More delicious options:

  • Add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup dried unsulfured cranberries
  • Sprinkle with 2 tbsp shredded coconut or mini chocolate chips on top

If you're a parent and you're wondering if this cake is safe for little ones. I would suggest that a toddler can have a small amount but for a child under 2 years old it's best to avoid any added sugars whether natural or not.

The reason is that babies and children under two eat so little calorie wise that you don't want them getting the majority of their calories from a cake. Plus, raw cacao can be a little bit stimulating. So even though we give this to Vienna (she's 3.5 years), she only gets a small amount. 

A good way to test out raw cacao with a little one is to try these Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (there's chocolate chips) or these Sexy Maca Balls which are actually one of my ALL TIME most popular recipes on Joyous Health!!

flourless chocolate cake with strawberries and coconut cream

I hope you love this cake as much as my family does and it becomes a celebratory cake for all your special occasions!!

Joy xo

P.S: Stay up to date with all things joyous celebratory-related by getting on my newsletter where I send out weekly newsletters and recipes. 

92 Comments
Sue   •   February 11, 2019

Looks gorgeous! Is the recipe calling for 1 or 2 cups of quinoa? Recipe indicates 1 and description indicates 2.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 12, 2019

Kristin   •   February 11, 2019

Hey Joy and gang - would an electric hand mixer work instead of a food processor? Also do you think that olive oil works better than coconut oil? I have both, just curious. Really looking forward to making this!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 12, 2019

Nadine   •   February 12, 2019

Happy 10 Year Anniversary! We love this cake at our house. 💜. No one could tell it was healthy at all...😂😏😍.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 12, 2019

Jess Moore   •   February 12, 2019

Is there a substitute for quinoa?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 12, 2019

Sonia   •   February 12, 2019

Is there anyway of making this vegan? What would be the best egg substitute?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 12, 2019

darlene   •   February 12, 2019

A cup and a half of sweetener is just too much for me!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 12, 2019

Sue   •   February 12, 2019

Thank you, Joy for clarification on quinoa quantity! Will definitely make this....btw .. I especially appreciated your video hack about lining the spring form pan with parchment paper....can't believe how easy you made it .. duh..wish I had thought of that years ago....:-)

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Joy McCarthy   •   February 12, 2019

Amanda   •   February 12, 2019

Looking forward to trying this! Does the cake freeze well?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 12, 2019

Adrian   •   February 13, 2019

Is there anything I can substitute for the coconut sugar? I don't want to use any refined sugar (pro-inflammatory), but I am worried if I take out that much of the dried ingredients the consistency won't stay the same and will mess with the entire recipe. Thanks! :)

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 13, 2019

Nerissa L.   •   February 13, 2019

Why did mine turn watery?

Reply
Nerissa L.   •   February 13, 2019
Joy McCarthy   •   February 14, 2019
Joy McCarthy   •   February 14, 2019

Ann   •   February 14, 2019

Can you tell me which brands of real maple syrup you recommend?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 14, 2019
Ann   •   February 14, 2019
Joy McCarthy   •   February 14, 2019

Pam   •   February 14, 2019

Omg, this is the most amazing cake I've ever made. Thank you Joy for all your wonderful recipes.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 14, 2019
Pam   •   February 14, 2019
Joy McCarthy   •   February 14, 2019

Rhonda   •   February 14, 2019

Hi Joy, What brand is your food processor and what size. The cake began leaking out of mine. Thank you

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 15, 2019

Patti   •   February 16, 2019

Joy, this was yummy and even my sceptical husband and son really enjoyed it...keep the recipes coming.

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Joy McCarthy   •   February 17, 2019

Joanne   •   February 18, 2019

Delicious Joy! I had been wanting to make this for ages and finally did for my husband's birthday last week. Soooo good! And tastes even better after a day or two. Once I stopped eating the raw batter out of the bowl I managed to get it in the oven 😋 A total winner with my quinoa-sceptical hubby too. ❤️

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 18, 2019

Chrissy   •   February 20, 2019

Will this work with canned coconut milk?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 20, 2019

Jill Forester   •   February 25, 2019

Mine turned out super liquidy...not sure why, any ideas. I read in above suggestions that I was supposed to put 2 cups cooked and 1 cup dry quinoa? I did not put in 1 cup dry as it is not written in directions. Would this be why it didn’t turn out?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 26, 2019

Lynn   •   March 1, 2019

I have every ingredient to make this cake except the quinoa. Can I sub in almond flour? If yes, how much? Please write back soon. We have a birthday party and I want to bake a chocolate cake 😁

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   March 2, 2019

Amanda   •   March 5, 2019

Have you ever made this recipe into cupcakes?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   March 6, 2019

Pat   •   March 22, 2019

Can I substitute sucanat for the coconut sugar?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   March 22, 2019

Astrid Zaldivar Lopez   •   March 23, 2019

Hi Joy! Hello from Mexico! I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for a long time, and finally the day arrived! I just pulled it out of the oven an hour ago and had to taste it, couldn’t handle myself! I just have to say wow! The texture is so smooth, soft and fluffy! I used 1/2 cup of maple syrup instead of 3/4 because it’s gold to me and difficult to find here, so I added 1/4 extra of amond milk and a couple more tablespoons of coconut sugar! I can’t wait for it to cool properly! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe Question, Do you refrigerate it or leave it outside?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   March 24, 2019

Mandy   •   March 27, 2019

Hi Joy, You wouldn't have the Nutrional Facts for this recipe would you? Just wanting to know for diabetic health. Thank you :)

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   March 27, 2019

Angelika Hogan   •   April 2, 2019

So excited to try this! Do you think I can use a 9x12 pan?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   April 2, 2019

Melissa   •   April 10, 2019

Hi Joy, this recipe looks amazing. We have a cocoa allergy in the family, and since the recipe calls for a cup of raw cacao I’m a bit concerned about leaving it out. Would the quantities still work out ok? Thanks

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   April 10, 2019

Christine   •   April 12, 2019

Hi Joy I love this cake. It is definitely a favourite! I was wondering, is there a vanilla version for this recipe?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   April 12, 2019

Deborah A.   •   April 16, 2019

Look sooo good. I am having guest for dinner soon and I will make this for dessert. Thank you.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   April 18, 2019

Leanne N.   •   April 17, 2019

Hi We love this cake so much and I just made it for Easter dinner. Will it keep 4 days in fridge or should I freeze it until Sunday do you think? Smells so yummy in here! Happy Easter to you all!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   April 18, 2019

Maria   •   May 8, 2019

Can I use tre-color quinoa? Ita the one I have on my pantry righ now?

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Joy McCarthy   •   May 9, 2019

Maria H.   •   May 8, 2019

Wanna try making this for mother’s day! Can I use three-color quinoa? Its the one I have on my pantry right now

Reply

Maria H.   •   May 9, 2019

In that case I’ll run to the market :) thank you soo much.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   May 13, 2019

Lucero Wedel   •   May 11, 2019

I love the cake. One I y family favourite!! I am making today muffins for a mother’s day brunch. But I cannot find your recipe for them in your blog. I recall I had seen an email with the recipe. Can you tell me if the Bali g time is different please? Thank you

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   May 13, 2019

Lucero Wedel   •   May 12, 2019

What it will be the time in the oven if I want to make cupcakes instead of the cake? Thanks By the way we love this cake!!!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   May 13, 2019

Zeina M.   •   May 13, 2019

This cake is delightful! :) My only concern is that there were some crunchy bits of quinoa throughout the cake. Do you know why?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   May 14, 2019

Angela   •   May 20, 2019

I can’t wait to make this for my bestie’s birthday! You mentioned subbing putted soaked majool dates for the coconut sugar... how many would you suggest? Thank you!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   May 21, 2019

Maria H.   •   May 29, 2019

Can I subtitute the maple syrup for raw honey?!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   May 30, 2019

Maria   •   May 30, 2019

Thank you so much! You’re awesome

Reply

Melanie R.   •   June 21, 2019

JOY! Can I make this ahead and keep in the fridge?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   June 21, 2019
Melanie R   •   June 21, 2019
Joy McCarthy   •   June 23, 2019
Melanie   •   June 24, 2019
Joy McCarthy   •   June 24, 2019

Sophie   •   August 8, 2019

Dear Joy, Thanks so much for this amazing recipe! I made this cake for my daughter's birthday and it was a huge success! It was decadent and satisfying, especially with the rich aroma from the cacao powder. Much appreciated!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   August 8, 2019

GENEVIEVE   •   August 19, 2019

This.is.awesome!! It was easy and delicious. Have you ever made this a day ahead? I’m wondering if it keeps well on the counter?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   August 19, 2019

GENEVIEVE   •   August 20, 2019

I wasn’t able to read your reply and now it seems to be missing! Anyway, I just read all the comments so sorry for asking you for the 20th time!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   August 20, 2019

Laurel Koumarelas   •   October 24, 2019

Joy, I'm confused. In the video you mention a few different nut milks. And one of the comments asks if you can use coconut milk, which you reply yes. But there's no nut milk in the ingredient list! But I just checked the muffin/cupcake recipe which is basically the same but it DOES have nut milk in the ingredients! Is it supposed to be in the ingredient list? My cake is in the oven and I'm worried that I missed it!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 24, 2019

Laurel Koumarelas   •   October 24, 2019

Thanks for the reply, it turned out beautiful and delicious without the the nut milk and everyone loved it! I’m hiding the leftovers so my 21 and 23 year old sons don’t eat the rest at midnight!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 28, 2019

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