Friday, February 15, 2013

Real Food: Quinoa Cakes and Sweet Berries

When I first came across this Martha Stewart recipe for Quinoa Cakes I passed it by, assuming it was just a recipe for pankcakes using quinoa flour.  After a second look, I realized it was a very simple pancake recipe that used cooked quinoa in place of most of the flour.  You could also use rice.

These small cakes are delicious, but have a unique quinoa flavor and are much more savory than traditional pancakes.  I liked this; it balances much better with sweet toppings- but they are not a direct swap for a traditional buttermilk pancake; much more chewy than fluffy, though I wouldn't call them dense by any means.  

They are a type of pancake, though, and with all that protein, they are much more satisfying than a traditional pancake could ever hope to be.  They were also extremely fast to put together, especially if you keep cooked quinoa on hand.  If you don't, it just means whipping some up before you begin.

My kids (who loved them at first sight due to their size and love of all pancakes) ate them in a flash.

A few notes: I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for the all purpose flour, and used coconut oil rather than butter for the cakes and the griddle.

As the recipe states, flip the cakes when bubbles appear on the surface.  However, I found that though they be small, they be mighty.  When left alone after flipping they are still quite thick and the middles were not fully cooked by the time the bottom was browned.  After flipping your cakes, lightly press down on each with your spatula to thin them out a bit.  That solved the problem for me.

As for a sweet berry topping, I combined 2 C frozen strawberries and 1 C frozen mixed berries and microwaved them until they were almost completely thawed.  I tossed them with 1 t raw sugar and let them sit while I made the cakes.

Quinoa Cakes


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more for serving
  • Fresh fruit or fruit preserves (optional), for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, egg white, butter, milk, and syrup until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine.
  2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter and heat over medium-high. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls into skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter (reduce heat to medium if overbrowning). Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit or preserves if desired.

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