Pomegranate and Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes

These chocolate cupcakes, made from quinoa, are filled with a juicy pomegranate filling: a real indulgence that you can enjoy without a lot of guilt!

These chocolate cupcakes, made from quinoa, are filled with a juicy pomegranate filling - a real indulgence that you can enjoy without a lot of guilt!

One of the most delicious, gluten-free and superfood-rich recipes that you could possibly make is a batch of Pomegranate & Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes. With this recipe, three all stars - quinoa, pomegranates and chocolate - team up to produce a delicious chocolate cake filled with a juicy pomegranate core. It’s so rich, fluffy and moist, you won’t believe your taste buds when you realize there isn’t a trace of gluten to be found anywhere!

Inspired by the cookbook “Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood” by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming, this is a recipe that I created for my friends who have a gluten allergy. I’m especially intrigued by the powers of quinoa: an ancient seed from South America, it is gluten-free, high in protein, and a good source of fiber, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It is so nutritious that even NASA has been considering it as a potential crop aboard their future spaceships. So whether you’re planning ahead for a special occasion or space voyage, be sure to bring along these out-of-this-world cupcakes (pun intended :)). It really is one of those indulgences that you can treat everyone to without a lot of guilt!

Hard to believe, but this delicious, moist and fluffy cake made out of quinoa is completely gluten-free!

Hard to believe, but this delicious, moist and fluffy cake made out of quinoa is completely gluten-free!

Pomegranate & Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes

Yield: 12 regular-sized cupcakes

Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

12 cupcake liners
2/3 c. quinoa, raw
1 1/3 c. water
1/3 cups milk
4 large eggs, at room temperature*
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. unsalted butter, at room temperature*
1 1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. pomegranate juice
2 tbsp. sugar
1.5 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water
1/2 c. pomegranate seeds (check out my Chef’s Tip in this recipe for a quick way to seed a pomegranate)
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

1) Preheat the oven to 350 F / 177 C, and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2) In a small pot, bring the quinoa and water to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until cooked. Fluff with a fork and let cool (alternatively, if you have 2 cups of pre-cooked quinoa, skip this step).
3) In a food processor or high-powered blender, combine the milk, eggs and vanilla, and blend until mixed.
4) Add the cooked quinoa and butter. Blend until smooth.
5) Add the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt to batter and blend until smooth.
6) Pour the batter into each cupcake liner in the pan. Tap to remove any air bubbles.
7) Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean (crumbly bits sticking to the toothpick is OK). Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing cupcakes to a cooling rack.
8) Meanwhile, make the pomegranate filling by bringing 1 cup of pomegranate juice and 2 tbsp. sugar to a boil.
9) Make a “slurry” by adding 1 tbsp. of water to the cornstarch to dissolve it, then whisk into the pomegranate juice. Bring to a simmer while whisking, until the sauce has thickened and becomes translucent. Remove from heat and stir in the pomegranate seeds.
10) Using a knife, cut out a small hole (about 1″ / 2.5 cm in in diameter and depth) in the top of each cupcake.
11) Dust with confectioner’s sugar and spoon the pomegranate filling into each hole, and optionally, top with additional pomegranate seeds. If not consuming within 8 hours, keep refrigerated for up to 3 days until ready to enjoy.

Dusting the top with confectioner's sugar is an easy way to decorate a cupcake.

Dusting the top with confectioner’s sugar is an easy way to decorate a cupcake.

*Chef’s Tip: With baking, ingredients like eggs and butter will mix better at room temperature and produce a lighter texture and even cooking. The best way to bring them to room temperature is to leave the ingredients out for about 2 hours, but if you don’t have time, try the following for:
- an egg, place it in a bowl of warm (but not hot) water for 10 minutes.
- butter, microwave it in the wrapper on high for 5 second intervals until soft, but not melted (this may take anywhere from a total of 15-20 seconds).

Gifting Idea

These cupcakes are best when fresh from the oven for up to 8 hours, but you can also make them ahead and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. For gift-giving, bake these cupcakes in a pretty liner, such as these ones by Robert Gordon.

Beautiful like little jewels, the pomegranate seeds add a tangy flavor to the rich taste of chocolate.

Beautiful like little jewels, the pomegranate seeds add a juicy pop of flavor to the rich taste of chocolate.

11 thoughts on “Pomegranate and Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes

  1. I really can’t wait to try this recipe, Melissa. I love quinoa - and chocolate - and pomegranate. Your filling looks so glacé and gorgeous, and the chocolate cake appears incredibly moist. If I can find a pomegranate today, I’m on it!🙂 I am glad that your cookbook gave you even more culinary inspiration! Actually, I made a delicious winter-inspired quinoa pilaf last night…🙂

      • Hi, Melissa! I couldn’t find a pomegranate our our local Coop today:-(… Any recommended substitutions? The pilaf was just a simple side to pair with pesto grilled wild salmon. It contained cooked, red quinoa; chopped garlic and rosemary (both fresh!) - and diced, EVOO roasted red bell pepper, buttercup winter squash, vidalia onion and (halved) Brussel sprouts. A little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon… wah lah. Your cupcakes are seriously haunting my (day) dreams!

      • Oh yum! That quinoa pilaf sounds delicious! I will have to try your recipe - thanks!
        For the cupcakes, an easy substitution would be raspberries! I love the combination of chocolate with them. Alternatively, you could also make my chocolate ganache and use that as filling, or skip it all together and just eat the cake🙂 Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s