Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PFB #6 Recipe: Red Quinoa, Apple & Cranberry Cake with Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe is part of the meal I created for my Round 6 entry for Project Food Blog.  To view the entire post and vote for me, please click on the following link or use the widget on the left sidebar.  Thanks so much! - Kimberly

In all the time I've had PGEW, I don't know that I've had so many requests for a recipe to be posted in such a short time, and I must say it's very flattering!  Granted, most of my posts are recipes, so I know most of you are used to that instant gratification after reading through all my rambling prose.  But some of these Project Food Blog posts can get rather lengthy (you know I'm a tad verbose... it's part of my charm, tee hee), and except for my chocolate dinner party post, I think my Grains, Trains & Gallons of Rain post was my longest one yet.  Since we're supposed to try keeping our PFB entries to 1000 words or fewer ("try" being the operative word here), and because I felt like death after heading out into that storm for my photoshoot & picnic, I decided to post the two new recipes separately.  I recently posted my Spicy White Bean, Beef & Amaranth Soup with Tomatoes & Kale, and now I'm finally semi-conscious enough to post the long awaited cake recipe.

Like I mentioned in my original post, I got the inspiration for this cake from reading through some of Heidi Swanson's less traditional quinoa recipes on 101 Cookbooks.  I'll never forget the first time I read her Quinoa Skillet Bread post - I thought it was the most ingenious thing I'd ever seen done with the mother grain (until she posted those darned cookies...) and knew I was nowhere near discovering all the wonderful things I could do with quinoa!  Since I was working solely with the ingredients I had on hand and had already made a big batch of red quinoa for my picnic's entree, I decided to put those leftovers to good use and make a nice dessert.

Not being a baker, I'm very pleased with how this one turned out in terms of texture: moist with a dense crumb that was still delicate enough to break apart easily.  Though I'm used to having sweeter cakes, I found it rather refreshing that this one tasted extremely... wholesome.  It wasn't sugary or artificial tasting in the least!  The addition of the tart apples and sweet cranberries made up for the lack of sugar in the actual crumb of the cake, and the frosting provided all the sweetness I needed to finish things off.  Frankly, if there had been more sugar thrown into this it would have ruined the cake entirely. Take note: this is not supposed to taste like nasty grocery store cakes or even decent bakery ones!  This cake is rich with the hearty nuttiness of the quinoa and, except for the evil frosting on top, makes you feel 100% not guilty for enjoying this protein-packed dessert.

To top it all off, it's absolutely gorgeous when you slice it!  It won't look like much at first, but believe me and the pictures I've posted: this cake is bursting with autumn colors & flavors, and is a great way to celebrate the colder months without a lot of the guilt associated with traditional desserts.

Red Quinoa, Apple & Cranberry Cake with Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting (serves 8-10; total cost per serving: $0.75)

1 c whole wheat flour
1 c cooked red quinoa
3/4 c raw sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted
1 T vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 t baking powder
1 large Granny Smith apple (or other tart variety), chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 c dried cranberries

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
1 c sugar (powdered is preferable for the proper texture, but if you only have regular sugar, that will also work)
1 t vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan and set aside.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour & baking powder.  In a separate, larger bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.  Slowly add the flour mixture in small batches, whisking together in between batches to ensure everything is properly incorporated.  Add the melted butter and mix to combine.  Next, add the red quinoa, folding it into the mixture gently.  Finally, add the chopped apple and cranberries and mix together well.  The batter should be thick but smooth.  Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until the center is no longer wet when tested with a toothpick.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.  Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese & butter together until smooth.  Add the sugar & vanilla and beat until creamy.  Set aside.

When cake has finished baking, remove from oven & cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.  Frost with a generous amount of frosting, slice into 8-10 equal pieces, and enjoy!


  1. Love it!!!! Thank you so much! Not only did I print this recipe for myself, but I also printed copies for my mother & sister... I am so impressed!

  2. Man, I was hoping it would be gluten free. >sigh< Perhaps I could figure out a gluten free version someday.

    It does look delicious though!

  3. This sounds delicious! I love baking with quinoa and the flavors in this cake are perfect for this time of year! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I don't have red quinoa at the you think regular would work (although not be as pretty!) Thanks for sharing!

  5. This sounds like an amazing cake with all the flavors going on..and you can never go wrong with cream cheese frosting!

  6. I baked this last night, frosted it this morning and had 3 slices for breakfast with a cup of tea. It is sooo good and very easy to make! THANK YOU!!

  7. Have to try this recipe, maybe even tomorrow morning :)

  8. Seriously I am sooooo excited to find this on foodbuzz. I have neglected my foodbuzz account, so missed some great recipes. I am a huge fan of quinoa, so excited to try this:) It looked amazing!!!

  9. This is such a beautiful cake recipe, and with the creme cheese frosting too...Wow!
    I want you to know, I voted for you each time, loved everything you prepared and photographed!...sorry for not commenting to you before!...and sorry that you didn't make it through after all that hard work. You are very talented, and don't forget this is a good start for you in you adventuresome cooking.
    As the saying goes..."everything happens for a reason!"

  10. I just made this cake and it is wonderful! I added 1/2 cup of coconut, and next time I'll also add in some chopped walnuts. It is such a great basic recipe, and lends itself to further innovation. Thank you so much for making it and posting the recipe.

  11. Thanks for sharing! this cake looks wonderful! i will have to try this some time.

  12. It looks amazingly yummy...I am sure to have a go at this one...

  13. Has anyone made this vegan by any chance? I want to use an egg replacer (Ener-G? Flaxseeds?) but am unsure how it will turn out due to the number of eggs the recipe calls for...



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