Decadent, Bone-Healthy Flourless Chocolate Cake 

Updated: March 6, 2023

Velvety, dark, and indulgent, this dessert is a chocolate lover’s dream. It may only rise to a humble two inches, but what it lacks in size this gluten-free, flourless chocolate cake makes up for with an intense, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. 

Plus, quinoa, olive oil, and walnuts make this cake an omega-rich delight. Moreover, quinoa is high in phytonutrients.1 Plus, olive oil is rich in bone-protective polyphenols. The beneficial effects of these polyphenols can be attributed to their ability to inhibit bone resorption by suppressing oxidative stress and inflammation.

In fact, studies revealed that daily consumption of olive oil could prevent the decline in bone mineral density and improve bone turnover markers.2 

And the best part? This beauty is SO easy to make. It’s a one-layer cake that’s rich enough to not require any frosting. That’s right. No fussy layers. No time-consuming decorating. And no special cake tools.

This moist, fudgy wonder is the way chocolate cake was meant to taste: not too dry, not too crumbly, and not too sticky. It’s so scrumptious your family and friends won’t believe it’s gluten-free. So prepare to receive many accolades from all the dessert fans in your life.

flourless chocolate cake
Flourless Choco Cake

Decadent, Bone-Healthy Flourless Chocolate Cake

Note: The rich, chocolatey, but not too sweet flavor pairs perfectly with fresh fruit.
Dietary: Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian
4.85 from 13 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 354 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup white quinoa uncooked
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • powdered sugar optional
  • fresh fruit optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 10" round cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter.
  • In a small pot, combine quinoa with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with a lid for 15 minutes.
  • Blend quinoa, olive oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together in a high-speed blender until the mixture is completely smooth.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Ensure any clumps of cocoa powder are broken down.
  • Stir quinoa mixture into sugar mixture until batter is fully incorporated.
  • Fold chocolate chunks and walnuts into batter and pour into the prepared pan. Even out the batter with a spatula.
  • Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the center feels stable. Check the center with a toothpick if you are unsure. The toothpick won't be entirely clean, but won't be covered in batter either.
  • Allow the cake to cool entirely. It's normal and expected that the cake will sink a touch, due to its moist, fudgy nature.
  • Serve the cake with a light dust of powdered sugar and top with fresh fruit!
  • Chef's Tip: Always slice chocolate desserts with a heated knife for a clean cut. Do this by running the knife under hot water and wiping the water away before each cut.

Nutrition

Calories: 354kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 6gFat: 26gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 246mgPotassium: 263mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 86IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Baking With Quinoa

quinoa in jar

As mentioned earlier, quinoa is a source of omega-3s and phytonutrients.3 It’s also packed with other nutrients including magnesium, zinc, iron, and folate. Plus, it’s protein-rich — which makes it a perfect substitute for flour in gluten-free baking. 

That’s because the high protein content of quinoa replaces the gluten (gluten is a protein which gives baked goods structure and rise). In fact, the protein in cooked quinoa adds a lovely texture to baked goods. 

And it’s no secret that protein is great for your bones too. In fact, it affects your bones in the following ways:

  • It’s vital for muscle growth.
  • It makes up a large portion of our bone matrix. 
  • It makes up about 50% of your bone volume and about one-third of its mass!4 
  • It provides the structural framework for bone.
  • It raises insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels — a hormone that is important to boost bone density, muscle growth, and healing.5
  • It increases the amount of calcium absorbed in the intestines, and therefore, the amount used by the body.

Flourless Chocolate Cake Recipe Takeaways

If you like the idea of doing right by your bones while satisfying your sweet tooth, give this gluten-free, flourless chocolate cake recipe a try.

It’s packed with bone-protective protein, minerals, and omega-3s. Plus, it stays moist and delicious for up to a week. Just be sure to let it cool completely before putting your leftovers in an airtight container.

I’d love to hear what you think about the recipe. So don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know how you enjoyed it!

To learn more about healthy aging and bone health, sign up for our newsletter and receive weekly updates.

References

  1. Yao Tang and Rong Tsao, “Phytochemicals in quinoa and amaranth grains and their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potential health beneficial effects: a review,” First published: 26 February 2017 https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201600767
  2. Kok-Yong Chin and Soelaiman Ima-Nirwana, “Olives and Bone: A Green Osteoporosis Prevention Option,” Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Aug; 13(8): 755, Published online 2016 Jul 26. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13080755
  3. Wei Liu, Yu Zhang, Bin Qiu, Shoujin Fan, Hanfeng Ding, and Zhenhua Liu, “Quinoa whole grain diet compromises the changes of gut microbiota and colonic colitis induced by dextran Sulfate sodium in C57BL/6 mice,”  Sci Rep. 2018; 8: 14916, Published online 2018 Oct 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6175902/
  4. Robert P Heaney, Donald K Layman, Amount and type of protein influences bone health, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 87, Issue 5, May 2008, Pages 1567S–1570S. doi:10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1567S 
  5. Kerstetter, J.E.; Kenny, A.M.; Insogna, K.L. Dietary protein and skeletal health: A review of recent human research. Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 2011, 22, 16–20. doi:10.1097/MOL.0b013e3283419441

Article Comments

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Recipe Rating




  1. Carol

    February 11, 2023 , 6:04 am

    Sounds delightful!
    Questions:
    -the cal rating: is this per piece?
    -what does coconut sugar add – what is its special ingredient, advantage over, say brown sugar or erythrol?
    Thanks, in advance for your answers

  2. Chelsea Dugas

    February 15, 2023 , 8:49 am

    Great questions, Carol!

    Indeed, the calorie rating is per piece. Coconut sugar is becoming a popular substitute for many reasons, including it’s inulin content, which is a dietary fiber that helps to keep the gut healthy and balance blood sugar. It also has a much lower sucrose content than regular sugar and has fewer carbs than honey! On top of that, it has a nice, brown-sugar taste. Hope this helps and let us know if you try the recipe! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  3. Renee

    February 11, 2023 , 6:53 am

    I’d love to try making this, but I have a question…
    The recipe calls for “ chocolate chunks.”
    What type of chocolate? Unsweetened, milk, dark?

  4. Tammy

    February 14, 2023 , 9:57 am

    Hi Renee,

    Great question! When it comes to chocolate, you follow your heart! For the nutritional value provided, we use a high quality semi-sweet dark chocolate. The most important part is to pay attention to the ingredients and its origin. I hope this helps!

    – Tammy @ AlgaeCal

  5. Joan

    February 14, 2023 , 11:22 am

    4 stars
    The cake was a hit. My only question is do you remove the cake from the pan to cool on a rack after 10 or 20 minutes after removing it from the oven. My cake was good, but it was a little more crumbly than I thought it would be and I suspect that I let it cool most of the time in the pan and it just overcooked. Please help me here.

  6. Chelsea Dugas

    February 16, 2023 , 9:28 am

    Thanks for reaching out, Joan! This can sometimes happen as not all ovens are the same, and cooking time can differ depending on stove calibration and even elevation! We definitely don’t recommend removing the cake from the pan before its completely cooled. Rather, perhaps try cooking it for slightly less time, checking regularly. Hope this helps! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  7. Nancy Slinn

    February 11, 2023 , 1:22 pm

    I have a question, I don’t do well with quinoa. My body is just weird. However, I have found a really good gluten-free flour. Can I somehow substitute the gluten-free free flour for the quinoa?

  8. Brianne AlgaeCal

    February 12, 2023 , 2:42 pm

    Hello Nancy,

    We’re sorry to hear that you don’t do well with quinoa! You are absolutely welcome to experiment and substitute with gluten free flour! Let us know how it goes 🙂

    – Brianne @ AlgaeCal

  9. Claire Zaehringer

    February 12, 2023 , 8:16 pm

    I would like to try the receipe.

  10. Tammy

    February 14, 2023 , 8:47 am

    Hi Claire,

    I’m happy to hear that! Please do and let us know how you like the cake! 🙂

    – Tammy @ AlgaeCal

  11. Nancy

    February 11, 2023 , 9:25 pm

    It would be helpful if you listed the ingredients by weight in addition to volume, preferably in grams. It makes it so much easier, faster, and more accurate to measure that way instead of by volume.

  12. Yoori AlgaeCal

    February 15, 2023 , 5:41 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    Thank you so much for taking your time to provide this feedback! This is great feedback, and I have passed this on to our team :).
    Please let us know if you have any further feedback as it’s what helps us to grow!

    – Yoori @ AlgaeCal

  13. enid Hickingbotham

    February 12, 2023 , 8:00 am

    Have not tried yet but puzzled/curious about using coconut milk, but also coconut sugar–never heard/seen the latter. i would appreciate being enlightened before I buy something i haver never used before.

  14. Chelsea Dugas

    February 15, 2023 , 11:37 am

    Hi, Enid! Coconut sugar is becoming increasingly popular due to its various qualities, including low levels of sucrose, fewer carbs, and the presence of inulin, which is a dietary fiber that helps with gut health, blood sugar levels, and even lowers the risk of colon cancer! Coconut sugar also has a nice, brown sugary taste! I hope this helps and let us know if you try the recipe, Enid! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  15. Maureen

    February 12, 2023 , 11:27 am

    I’d love to try this, but what are “chocolate chunks”? Can you please be a little more specific so I know what to buy? Thanks!

  16. Tammy

    February 14, 2023 , 11:55 am

    Hi Maureen,

    Great question! Chocolate chunks are made from chocolate that has been chopped into small pieces, making them ideal for adding to recipes, as they melt smoothly. When it comes to which chocolate to buy, you follow your heart! We recommend high quality semi-sweet dark chocolate but you may use any chocolate you like! I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any further questions!

    – Tammy @ AlgaeCal

  17. Michele Maycock

    February 12, 2023 , 4:04 pm

    What substitute do you suggest for the walnuts as we have a nut allergy in my family? Thank you, Michele

  18. Tammy

    February 14, 2023 , 9:59 am

    Hi Michele,

    There are plenty of options for replacing the walnuts! Pine nuts (not actually a nut at all), pumpkin seeds or dried fruit (make sure the dried fruit are free of added preservatives) are all great replacements. You can also simply omit the walnuts. Sadly, with any of these options, you are not getting as much a benefit of the omega 3s. However, the quinoa and olive oil on its own still provide this great benefit!

    – Tammy @ AlgaeCal

  19. Cindy

    February 15, 2023 , 9:04 am

    5 stars
    Both my husband & I liked it! So much chocolate flavor. So very moist! I would definitely make again.

  20. Yoori AlgaeCal

    February 15, 2023 , 5:43 pm

    Hi Cindy,

    We are so glad to hear that both you and your husband loved it! Stay tuned for more yummy bone-health recipes! 🙂

    – Yoori @ AlgaeCal

  21. Lyddie

    February 16, 2023 , 3:40 pm

    This recipe was absolutely delicious. My husband gave it 12/10!
    I made cake as per the recipe with 85% dark chocolate chopped up. The Quinoa I soaked and sprouted and cooked with half the water in the recipe.
    It needed cooking for an hour, brown paper on top after 45 mins to stop it burning. Cooled completely in the tin. Came out beautifully. I went for organic ingredients so it was quite an expensive cake to make. Recommended.

  22. Yoori AlgaeCal

    February 16, 2023 , 4:49 pm

    Hi Lyddie,

    12/10!! It’s so lovely to hear that your husband loved the recipe. Thank you so much for sharing, and please stay-tuned for more bone-health recipes!

    To your health,

    – Yoori @ AlgaeCal

  23. Bette Dickenson

    February 17, 2023 , 10:40 am

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday and it was fantastic! I will be making this again since it has gone into my favorite recipes file.

  24. Chelsea Dugas

    February 21, 2023 , 11:40 am

    So happy to hear you enjoyed the cake, Bette! Please be sure to peruse our full variety of delicious recipes on our BLOG, and let us know if you have any questions! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  25. Christine Penner

    February 19, 2023 , 1:32 pm

    5 stars
    I baked my cake in a tube pan. This way the heat bakes not only from the external circumference towards the middle but also from the middle towards the outside. The cake rose nicely and did not fall upon removal from the oven and during cooling.
    I greased the bottom of the pan and dusted it with flour. The cake was easily removed from the pan.

  26. Chelsea Dugas

    February 21, 2023 , 12:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Christine! Cooking is all about experimenting and we’re thrilled to know this cake does well in a bundt pan too! Be sure to let us know if you try more of our recipes on our BLOG. Happy baking! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  27. Charlotte

    February 21, 2023 , 3:29 am

    Hi
    I have a question, my body dont do well with coconut, can I replace the dry coconut with almond and the coconut sugar with agave sirup?

  28. Manja

    February 22, 2023 , 11:29 am

    That should work just fine, Charlotte! Finely chopped almonds, cashews, macadamias, or other nuts are a good substitution if you need to add texture but cannot have coconut. In addition, Agave nectar can be used as a replacement for coconut sugar in many recipes. To replace coconut sugar with agave nectar, simply use an equal amount of agave nectar in the recipe. Emjoy!

    – Manja @ AlgaeCal

  29. Toffee Real

    February 22, 2023 , 3:19 pm

    5 stars
    really love how this turned out! I LOVE chocolate mainly dark chocolate bars (85%) but seeing this is flourless I gave it a try and it did not disappoint. Of course I spced it up with some cacao nibs!

  30. Chelsea Dugas

    February 23, 2023 , 11:54 am

    Cacao nibs are a great idea, Toffee! So happy to hear you enjoyed it, be sure to try some more of the healthy desert options we have on our BLOG. Happy baking! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  31. Kris Cobb

    February 22, 2023 , 4:33 pm

    Absolutely delicious and no guilt! Loved it!

  32. Chelsea Dugas

    February 23, 2023 , 11:51 am

    Happy to hear it, Kris! Be sure to try more of the healthy recipes on our BLOG and let us know what you think! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  33. Karen

    March 1, 2023 , 1:39 pm

    I’d like to try this recipe but unsure what kind of coconut milk you used-canned or carton (milk substitute)

  34. Yoori AlgaeCal

    March 6, 2023 , 4:05 pm

    Hi Karen,

    Thank you for reaching out to us, and great question!

    Karen, you are more than welcome to use either carton or canned coconut milk, but not to confuse it with coconut cream! Coconut milk is thin and watery, while coconut cream is a thick, solid and high fat. Please be mindful that some cans will contain varying percentages of both.

    I hope this helps, Karen :).

    – Yoori @ AlgaeCal

  35. Suzanna

    March 3, 2023 , 3:49 pm

    5 stars
    The quinoa cake was surprisingly delicious!!! It was bursting with chocolate flavor ! I did have to bake longer than 40 minutes and it was a little flaky. However I will definitely bake the cake again!!

  36. Chelsea Dugas

    March 6, 2023 , 2:04 pm

    So happy to hear it, Suzanna! Thanks for commenting! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

  37. carol Steger

    March 26, 2023 , 7:22 am

    Hello,

    I would love to make this cake. However, my husband has heart disease and is not to indulge in coconut products. Any subsittutes you can recommend for the coconut milk and coconut sugar? Thanks so much.

  38. Yoori AlgaeCal

    March 27, 2023 , 7:08 pm

    Great question, Carol! The coconut milk can be replaced by any dairy or non-dairy milk. The coconut sugar would be best replaced by date sugar or brown sugar, or stevia brown sugar, as each will hold moisture. Enjoy! 🙂

    – Yoori @ AlgaeCal

  39. Joann Biniasz

    April 4, 2023 , 9:54 am

    Great ideas

  40. Brianne AlgaeCal

    April 4, 2023 , 12:06 pm

    So happy you liked this recipe, Joann! 🙂

    – Brianne @ AlgaeCal

  41. Paula

    April 9, 2023 , 4:54 pm

    This recipe intrigues me and looks delicious . I don’t normally bake and wonder what brand of cocoa powder and baking powder to buy ? I am looking forward to trying it. Thank you so much

  42. Chelsea Dugas

    April 10, 2023 , 12:47 pm

    There are many great brands to choose from, Paula, but HERE is a quality cocoa brand and HERE is one for baking powder. Hope this helps! 🙂

    – Chelsea @ AlgaeCal

This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,