Quinoa Breakfast Cake (Gluten-Free)

Why, hello there! I trust you all enjoyed your holidays and are having a wonderful start to 2012.  My holidays were quiet and simple, just how I like them.  Christmas dinner with my immediate family, and New Year's eve with the hubs watching Captain America, Thor, and Midnight in Paris. Yes, the last one was my pick but turns out I enjoyed the Marvel flicks more... what can I say, I grew up hanging out with my brother and four male cousins that were all like big brothers to me so their influences rubbed off on me a lot. No worries though, I still enjoy romantic comedies like the next girl.

I know you didn't come here to read about my movie preferences, and you're probably wondering why I'm featuring a semi-healthy and gluten-free baked good today.  Well, with the New Year, comes new challenges and discoveries. I've been wanting to try going gluten-free for a while now since reading about the various symptoms in the past and how I seemed to have some of those symptoms.  No, I haven't gotten diagnosed by a doctor and have yet to make any appointments for tests but just wanted a change in my eating habits since food plays such a prominent role in my life these days.

So I am going on week two into this gluten-free diet - it's actually not been too hard.  I realized that I need to get back to my Asian roots of eating a balanced meal of veggies, protein and (brown) rice.  That probably seems like a no-brainer to most of you but all too often these days, we need a quick fix for dinner and usually that means pasta, something bread-y, or sandwiches to fill us up.  Not to mention, cheaper - it seems whatever is healthier for us usually costs more... have you seen the price on a small loaf of gluten-free bread?

Now how will a baker go about going gluten-free? Honestly, I'm quite intrigued by gluten-free baking and find it a fun challenge to come up with new recipes to try or to even develop some of my own.  I was never a stellar student in math or chemistry but learning to bake by ratios and seeing how different gluten-free flours and starches will interact with each other kind of excites me!  Whatta geek, I know.

So, I hope you will join me on this new-to-me journey... I'm still learning so please feel free to impart any tips or advice - the best thing about all of this is that I'm discovering lots of fascinating new gluten-free blogs! I plan to continue sharing gluten-full goodies here since I'll still be baking to share with others.

Quinoa Breakfast Cake (Gluten-Free)

If you haven't tried quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) before, it takes some getting used to - it's a grain that's served in place of rice or pasta.  In this breakfast cake, the quinoa is crunchy and nutty... the perfect complement to the cinnamon, citrus, and all the other goodies found in this surprisingly tender and flavorful cake!   

Yields: 1 - 10x13-inch pan (please don't be like me and use a 9x9 square pan - it will take much longer to bake!)


1 teaspoon flaxseed meal + 2 teaspoon boiling hot water
1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
1 cup rice flour blend (recipe below)
3/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup light olive oil or canola oil
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 heaping cup seedless raisins, dried cranberries or both


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease or line a 10x13-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Mix flaxseed meal and hot water in small bowl to make slurry (this replaces xanthan gum). Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together quinoa, rice flour blend, almond meal, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, orange juice and flaxseed mixture.

Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until fully combined.  Then stir in carrots, coconut and raisins/cranberries.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Place into oven and bake until center is firm to touch and a cake tester/toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes.

Let cake cool to room temperature on a wire rack. If sliced warm, cake will be crumbly.

Source:  Adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess

*Rice Flour Blend 
(Recipe from King Arthur Flour)

6 cups (32 ounces) King Arthur stabilized brown rice flour (I used white rice flour)
2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) potato starch
1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch

Whisk together flours and store airtight at room temperature.