Best-Ever Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes with Naturally Pink Frosting

Best-Ever Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes with Pink Frosting #glutenfree

Have you guys made the best-ever chocolate quinoa cake yet? If you like chocolate cake and you haven’t tried it, you are missing out…big time.

Clearly I’m obsessed, considering this is the third time I’ve posted it on the blog and the second time in the form of cupcakes in the past two weeks.

Best-Ever Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes with Pink Frosting #glutenfree

You see, my original plan was to give you a vegan version today but unfortunately the dessert gods had other ideas in mind. When I started testing the recipe 2 months ago I accidentally wrote down the amount of cooked quinoa as dry quinoa. Yeah, I must have made at least ten batches of mushy wet disgusting cupcakes before I finally realized where I had gone wrong. After smacking my head against the wall a few times, I tried my best to suck it up and test the recipe written below using this vegan and gluten-free egg replacer but they still turned out sad, droopy, and mushy. What’s weird is that I’ve had a few readers claim that flax eggs work but there were also a few that claimed it didn’t. IDK.

Anyway, if you can have eggs then I promise you will love these cupcakes, gluten-free or not. They’re insanely moist and decadent and they taste awesome with a lightly sweetened PINK cream cheese frosting.

Beet Icing

You know I had to make something pink in honor of Valentine’s Day. Just to keep things original around here. ;)

Rather than use red food coloring, I opted to roast a beet and use a little bit of it’s juices to give the icing a soft pink color. If you don’t want to blend and strain the beet to get the juices, you can always shred it and add a little to the icing. I did that the first time and it turned it a darker pink color (and tasted amazing!) but I think it looks more physically appealing without the bits of beet in it.

Plus those people who are skeptical of vegetables and healthy foods (you know who I’m talking about) will never know the difference. It will be our little secret! hehehe

Best-Ever Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes with Pink Frosting #glutenfree


Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes with Naturally Pink Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6


1 cup cooked quinoa*

3 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 eggs

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) vegan butter, melted and cooled**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup organic cane sugar or coconut sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pink Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 roasted beet***


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line or grease a muffin tin for 6 cupcakes.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cocoa powder to salt) and then set aside.
  3. After you’ve cooked the quinoa, allow it to cool and remove any excess moisture by straining it thoroughly. Next combine the quinoa with 2 eggs, almond milk, vanilla extract and melted butter in a blender and process on high for 1-2 minutes, until smooth.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and then fold together using a spatula. Be sure to scrape down the sides so that the mixture is completely combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scooper, scoop the batter into the muffin tin until each is 3/4 of the way full, making 6 total.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and have it come out clean. Allow to cool.
  7. Meanwhile make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract for 30 seconds or until it’s fluffy.
  8. Add the peeled and roasted beet to the (rinsed out) blender and blend until smooth. Then use a colander to strain the juice into a small cup. If not much juice is coming out, add a teaspoon (or two) of water to help loosen it up. Next add a teaspoon of the juice to the frosting and continue to beat until well-blended. If you’d like it to be a deeper pink, you can add another teaspoon of the juice.
  9. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and refrigerate until ready to serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


*1/3 cup dry quinoa yields a little more than 1 cup. Although it isn’t necessary, I recommend soaking the quinoa overnight or for at least 8 hours prior to cooking it. For more information on why I soak it and also how to cook quinoa, refer to this post. Prep time includes cooking quinoa but not soaking it.

**you can also use regular butter or 3 T coconut oil

***refer to this post for how to roast beets. Total time doesn't include roasting beets.

Refer to the original recipe to make 12 cupcakes if desired and double the icing.

Quinoa cake is adapted from the cookbook Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming

Best-Ever Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes with Pink Frosting #glutenfree