Tag Archive for cupcakes

Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Gluten-free baking is the most challenging part of being gluten-free. It’s the gluten in flour that makes baked goods delicious–and it holds things together, helps them to rise, and creates that chewy texture in bread.

You can’t just take a regular recipe and swap out the flour cup-for-cup with say, rice flour. Your final result will be dry and chaulky. So, to create a gluten-free flour, you need a complex mix of gluten-free flours, including rice flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat, corn flour, sourgum, quinoa flour, arrowroot, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca and many, many more.

gluten-free chocolate cupcakes.jpg

Except for this recipe.

I got it from Chef Craig Sherer, who is the Sous Chef at Italian Kitchen. He made this at The Wellness Show in February as part of a cooking demo, but I’m just getting around to sharing it with you now.

This is a dead simple recipe, and it involves quinoa. Not quinoa flour, but actual quinoa.

There are two ways to make quinoa. The first is similar to how you make rice: you put a certain proportion of quinoa to a certain proportion of water in your pan, and cook it down until all the water is absorbed. The second way of cooking quinoa is like pasta. You put too much water in the pan, and cook the quinoa in it, and then drain the quinoa in a sieve. You’ll want to use the latter method for this recipe, making sure the quinoa is well cooked and soft. Oh–this recipe also requires a good blender.

You can make this as a cake in a regular cake pan, or as cupcakes, as I’ve done here. Easter is coming, and I thought it might be fun to make some Easter-themed birdsnest cupcakes.

Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake


  • 2 c cooked quinoa
  • 1 c agave syrup
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 c oil (you could use canola, coconut, or flax)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp  baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1c good quality cocoa powder


  1. Cook the quinoa well in boiling water, then drain well. Add the quinoa to the bowl of your blender and blitz well.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blitz thoroughly until all combined and smooth.
  3. Spoon into lined cupcake pans, or into a parchment-lined cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out holding just a few crumbs.
  4. Ice or decorate as you wish. Here, I’ve made a buttercream icing and decorated the cupcakes with little candy Easter eggs.

If you don’t want to make your own, find a list of the gluten-free bakeries in Vancouver here.

Death by Oreo Cupcakes

Last weekend, Michael and I got invited to two dinners out. Friday night with friends, Saturday night with family.

I always feel obligated to bring something when I go to someone’s house for dinner, and it’s seldom that pride will allow me to bring something store-bought (unless its wine!).

I offered to bring dessert, but was stumped about what to make. So, of course, I turned to my right-hand man. “Oreo Cake” he said.

Now, I must explain that I made “Oreo Cake” for his birthday a couple years back, and it clearly made an impression. The cake was, essentially, a giant Oreo cookie: two layers of chocolate cake with a cream-cheese filling that included smashed-up Oreos, and then was topped with a chocolate ganache and more Oreos. Wicked.


I thought the Oreo cake would be too complicated to shlepp to someone’s house for dinner. But cupcakes! Aha!

I remembered seeing a recipe on Pinterest for a cupcake that had an Oreo baked right in, and I had just watched an episode on Food TV with Anna Olsen making cupcakes. So it all came together…

Death by Oreo Cupcakes


  • 12 Oreos (regular size)
  • 12 Oreos (minis)–for garnish
  • 1 chocolate cake mix, prepared according to package directions,
    or use your favorite chocolate cake recipe from scratch
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered cocoa


  • Prepare cake mix according to directions.
  • Line your muffiin tin with paper liners, and drop one Oreo in each one. It should fit nicely in the bottom of each cup.
  • Fill the muffin cups up to about 2/3 full, covering over and burying the Oreos.
  • Bake according to package directions, until a skewer poked in the middle of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  • Remove from tin and allow to cool (you could bake the cupcakes the day before).
  • To make the frosting, place the softened butter in a bowl, and beat it for a couple of minutes until it’s nice and soft. Slowly add the icing sugar, a bit at a time, until it’s all incorporated. Finally, add the vanilla.
  • Divide the icing in half. Keep half in the original bowl, and add the cocoa to the other half, and mix well to incorporate.
  • Using a piping bag (you can use a star tip if you like, I just kept mine plain), scoop a couple of spoonfuls of the plain icing into one side of the bag (horizontally). Turn it over and place a couple of spoonfuls of the chocolate icing on the other half. Seal up the top and squish down the icing until it starts to come out the tip. You may want to squeeze a bit out before you start icing the cupcakes, just to make sure it’s swirling properly together.
  • Ice the cupcakes with a swirl, starting on the outside and working your way in to the centre. Garnish with a mini Oreo.