Happy Birthday Chocolate, Quinoa and Zesty Orange Cake

, from Issue #110. July, 2023
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Happy Birthday Chocolate, Quinoa and Zesty Orange Cake

A NOTE BEFORE YOU START: This recipe makes 1 cake so you will need to make 2 cakes if you want the layered version as shown here.

Serves: 8-10


¼ cup raw white quinoa
⅓ cup ground almonds
150 grams butter, very soft but not melted
3 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 4 large eggs
1 ⅓ cups muscovado sugar
1 cup good-quality cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt

Whipped Chocolate Ganache, see recipe below
edible flowers, for garnish

Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.


Preheat the oven to 180°C regular bake and put the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

Cook the quinoa in plenty of boiling water for 25 minutes then drain well. I spread it out on a clean tea towel to absorb excess moisture.

Put the quinoa, almonds, butter, milk, orange zest and the vanilla in a food processor and blitz together for 1 minute until smooth. Add all the remaining ingredients and process until it’s thick and smooth, scraping down the sides a couple of times.

Transfer the batter to the tin and smooth the top. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before removing and topping with the Whipped Chocolate Ganache.


Makes enough ganache for the layered cake. (Halve the amount if you are only making one cake).

400 grams dark chocolate (72% cocoa), chopped and melted
2 cups cream

Heat the cream in a small saucepan until just simmering. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and leave to sit for 3 minutes then whisk until smooth.

Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until slightly thickened.

Whisk until smooth and silky. Spread half on top of one of the cakes, add the second cake and swirl over the remaining ganache. Decorate with edible fresh flowers.