Lucky Comestible II (5): Apple-Quinoa Cake
[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I'll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I've recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days. For this second entry, I'm focusing on Quinoa. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. This is the last entry on quinoa.]
The moment I decided to present a Lucky Comestible series about quinoa, I simultaneously decided I’d have to include at least one baked goodie. I know what you’re thinking: “Now, Ricki, haven’t you already included a recipe for said baked goodie? After all, you did post about Almond-Quinoa Muffins before the involuntary GBR, didn’t you?”
Why, yes! Yes, I did. However, technically speaking, muffins are a “baked good,” not a “baked goodie“–the latter term reserved for dessert-type treats, such as cakes, pies, cookies, tarts, or bars. I wanted to see if I couldn’t turn quinoa into something at least quasi cake-like, despite its elevated whole grain status–something worthy of the term, “dessert”–something that even skeptics like Johanna or Wendy (who mentioned on Johanna’s blog that quinoa reminds her of worms!) could enjoy.
So, even though personally, my favorite use of quinoa is as a base for salad (where its true essence can shine through), I let my mind wander back toward baking. And while so doing, I remembered that, in actuality, quinoa is not really a grain–it’s a seed related to beets and leafy greens such as spinach or chard. Well, okay, I’ve already used spinach in a previous baked goodie, so that didn’t deter me at all. And even if my quinoa creation didn’t turn out as decadent as a molten chocolate cake, I figured I could still whip up something with both a great nutritional profile AND a sweetness rating high enough to please the kids as an after-school snack, or to serve unexpected guests, with a steaming cup of green tea. (“And don’t forget, it’s also good enough as a special treat for your sweet and devoted Girls, Mum! We LOVE apple-quinoa cake. . .”)
Since we already had a bag of Macintosh apples withering away on the counter, I started there. I imagined that a lightly spiced batter would work well with the sturdy taste of quinoa, which can sometimes be a bit domineering in a crowd. For some reason (perhaps because quinoa itself is gluten-free), I decided the bars should also be celiac-friendly.
What I ended up with was a light and moist cake, studded with raisins and sunflower seeds alongside thin shreds of apple and grains of quinoa. The cake is slightly chewy, slightly crunchy, with a tender crumb and pleasing spice. And because it’s fashioned from leftovers of both quinoa and apple, I thought it would be a perfect submission to the Leftover Tuesdays event, hosted by Project Foodie.
“Mum, you disappoint us. Raisins? You know we can’t eat raisins. But maybe you could pick them out for us. . . ”
Next time you cook up some quinoa and find yourself with leftovers, try this great snack cake. Without being excessively sweet and boasting sunflower seeds, two fruits and two whole grains, the cake is nutritious enough to eat for breakfast, though still light enough for dessert. The subtle apple and trio of spices is a tantalizing combination–you may have to stop yourself from having more than one piece!
2 whole medium apples, cored and coarsely grated (about 1 cup lightly packed or 200 g.)–I used Macintosh and left the skins on
1/2 cup (125 ml.) agave nectar
1/2 cup (125 ml.) sunflower or other light-tasting oil
2 cups (160 g.) cooked quinoa
2 tsp. (10 ml.) finely ground chia seeds*
2 tsp. (10 ml.) pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. (5 ml.) apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (40 g.) sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (40 g. ) raisins
1-1/3 cups (160 g.) whole oat flour
1 tsp. (5 ml.) baking powder
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) baking soda
1 tsp. (5 ml.) ground ginger
2 tsp. (10 ml.) ground cinnamon
1 tsp. (10 ml.) or less, to taste, cardamom
1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) sea salt
1/4 cup whole oats
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease a 9″ square pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix the grated apple, agave nectar, oil, quinoa, Salba, vanilla, vinegar, sunflower seeds and raisins. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, and sea salt. Add the oats. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix well.
Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before cutting into slices.
Makes 9 breakfast servings or 12 dessert servings. Best eaten the day it’s made.
* If you don’t have or can’t find chia, you could try substituting 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds; but the cake will probably be denser and heavier this way.
Other Posts in this Series:
Lucky Comestible II (1): Quinoa Salad with Buckwheat and Cranberries
Lucky Comestible II (2): Almond-Quinoa Muffins
Other Quinoa Recipes:
(Got a quinoa recipe? Send me the link during this Lucky Comestible week, and I’ll add it to the list!)