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Gluten-Free Zucchini Quinoa Breakfast Cake

Gluten-Free Goddess Zucchini Quinoa Breakfast Cake
Karina's Gluten-Free Zucchini Quinoa Breakfast Cake

Packing. Let's Eat Cake.

From the L.A. archives- a personal favorite you may have missed... Remember those maple sweetened almond zucchini mini-muffins? I do. They've become one of our favorite grab-and-go gluten-free treats. I tuck a bag of them- fresh out of the freezer- into my bulging purse knapsack beach bag tote whenever we venture far afield. Like. The Valley. Because, well. You never know. It can get crazy. In L.A. you might end up jammed on the 405. Stuck as in four lanes = a parking lot stuck. Stuck as in, Dude that's my hunger growling louder than Kurt Cobain's rasp on the rattling radio speaker pleading, What else could I be? All apologies.

I know this from experience. I learned the hard way (the way I learn most things in life). Driving in L.A. can lead to stop-n-go squatting in the baking sun. And a where is my nail file and why did I leave the apartment without food and water and ice in a cooler panic. Because the thirty-three minutes it took yesterday to get to Studio City is seventy-five minutes today.

That's when I started imagining a zucchini cake.

For breakfast.

On the 405.

Heading north (allegedly). To sign a lease. On a new apartment with an ample well planned kitchen and an open living room with a fireplace. And two balconies- one sunny for growing herbs, one shady in the afternoon, facing a quiet leafy green street lined with lavender gardens and rose bushes and honeysuckle and song birds.

We'll be moving in two weeks.

Your intrepid Gluten-Free Goddess has some packing to do.

Good thing we baked a zucchini quinoa cake.

Karina's Gluten-Free Zucchini Quinoa Breakfast Cake
Gluten-free dairy-free yum- zucchini quinoa breakfast cake.

A Slice of Karina's Gluten-Free Zucchini Quinoa Breakfast Cake
Maple sweetened gluten-free zucchini quinoa breakfast cake

Karina's Gluten-Free Zucchini Quinoa Breakfast Cake Recipe

Recipe originally posted May 2012.

Sweetened only with a half cup pure maple syrup, this cake is not overly sweet. Which makes it perfect for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. Almond meal, sorghum flour and quinoa flakes add protein and nutrition.


2/3 cups almond meal
2/3 cup sorghum flour (or brown rice flour, if you must)
1/2 cup quinoa flakes (cereal flakes, not whole quinoa)
1/4 cup tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light melted coconut oil
3 organic free-range eggs, beaten
1-2 tablespoons coconut milk, soy or rice milk, as needed 
2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 packed cup shredded zucchini, patted dry


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch Springform pan with a circle of parchment.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond meal, quinoa flakes, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, xanthan gum, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, beaten eggs, and one tablespoon coconut milk. Beat to combine. If needed, add another tablespoon of coconut milk to loosen the batter. Add the vanilla and almond extract. Beat the batter until it is smooth and slightly sticky.

Add in the shredded zucchini and stir by hand to combine.

Spoon the cake batter evenly into the lined cake pan. Smooth the top with wet fingers. I add a few strands of grated zucchini to the top for flecks of green.

Bake in the center of a preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden and springy-firm to the touch. A wooden pick inserted into the center should emerge clean.

Cool the cake pan on a wire rack for five minutes. Loosen the edges with a thin spatula or knife and release the clasp on the Springform pan. Move the cake to the wire rack and continue cooling.

This filling, satisfying cake is very moist and slices best when cooled. Wrap and freeze leftover slices for easy to-go treats. (Especially if heading out in mad traffic.)

Serves 8-10.

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Low Sugar Gluten-Free Zucchini Quinoa Breakfast Cake
Good morning! Gluten-free zucchini quinoa breakfast cake and coffee.

Recipe Notes:

I baked this moist and satisfying breakfast cake in a parchment lined 8-inch Springform pan. If you have only a 7-inch layer cake pan it will work. Line it with a circle of parchment paper. Keep an eye on the center- it may need an extra minute or two in a smaller pan (higher center).

And speaking of pans- I beg you, Darling. Do not bake gluten-free cakes and breads in those disposable aluminum foil pans. They are way too thin to bake gluten-free batter evenly. Foil pans cause over-browning on the outside, and gummy, undone centers.

If baking for a gluten-free friend- protect her from cross contamination and line your cake pan with clean foil or parchment paper. (And don't use your old wooden spoons- gluten protein is sticky, and tenacious.)

More gluten-free zucchini goodness:

For a sweeter zucchini cake from Beth Hillson check out Living Without's Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Zucchini Quinoa Cake

For substitution help, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.

xox Karina


  1. This is calling out my name, and I'm not even sitting in traffic :-) I love the spices, maple syrup as sweetener, and combo of gf grains. Delicious! Best of luck with your move. I do not envy your packing, but the apartment sounds lovely~especially the songbirds and honeysuckle!

  2. Oh, yum! Why, oh why, did I just cook the last of the zucchini for dinner? Clearly it was meant for breakfast.
    Another day. Going to check out the mini-muffins, too!

  3. I have a couple of courgettes (zucchini in my part of the world hi hi) waiting patiently in my fridge to be turned into this cake....thank you very much for this recipe!

  4. This looks so delicious!

  5. bookmarking this quinoa breakfast cake! sounds perfect for a warm summer morning

  6. wow! This sounds delicious! Thanks for the recipe! Love your blog!

  7. I love all things zucchini! In fact I just made some all natural, sugar free, gluten free and vegan muffins. I can't wait to try this!

  8. This looks great- and so substantial too! I have never used quinoa flakes before and have just been browsing some of your other quinoa recipes....the way you talk about the texture they create makes me want to get all experimental and try it right away!

  9. Now I know exactly what to do with that zucchini that I must use today! YUM!

    Thanks, dear Karina! Best of luck with the move! xo,

  10. Jenny Koenig14:46

    This looks wonderful! I may try it with carrots, too.

    Congratulations on the new place! It sounds wonderful!

  11. Lynne L.16:46

    As usual, Karina, you have done it again! Can't wait to try it! Finally bought myself a KitchenAid stand mixer, which I'm just getting to's calling out for this cake (except when mixing in the zuc). Best of luck with your sound like a lovely place.

  12. What a gorgeous breakfast! I would love me some cake for breakfast. ;)

  13. Anonymous23:38

    Can I use EnerG Egg Replacer in this recipe? It looks deelish but I can't do eggs.

  14. Another fantastic sounding recipe with quinoa! I'm so glad you found a place that you liked, and it sounds fantastic. Also I am SO glad to see the social buttons on your posts. Makes it so much easier to share them.

  15. Great tips on pans and lining to use for gluten-free baking. These are the things you only know by trial and error!

    PS- Good luck with the move! You are scaring me with the traffic stories. I'm about to move to LA in a few days!

  16. Sounds quite good! Good luck on your move!!

  17. Petunia16:07

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you got from RB to Studio City in 33 minutes. i thought 75 minutes was good :)

    a fan on the Esplanade

  18. Anonymous17:00

    This looks wonderful, but I don't see a baking temperature (or I'm just dumb).

  19. Thanks, Everyone, for the zucchini quinoa cake love. It's very filling- and not sweet.

    As for carrots- I imagine shredded carrots would also work- sounds lovely.

    Egg replacer will work- I've made almost every recipe of mine with either eggs or Ener-G Egg Replacer, interchangably. In the case of muffins- sometimes the egg replacer works better for rise!

    Petunia- We were stunned. It was a magical ride. The Force was with us.

    Anon- I'm sorry that line of text was lost in translation to the post. Fixed now. Bake at 350ºF.



  20. This looks fabulous! I cannot wait to taste it!

  21. I have just made this using finely grated carrot (it is the wrong time of year for zucchini down here in NZ) and it is divine. Thank you! :)

  22. Kimberly_S16:23

    I just made this cake and it is absolutely delicious. For other readers who don't own a springform pan, I used an 8" square pan (lined with parchment) and baked for 26 minutes. It's devine and my non-veggie eating toddler has no idea he's getting a little veg with this treat! Thank you, Karina, for another lovely recipe to add to my arsenal.

  23. Mandy01:26

    This looks delish!! Is there an alternative I could use for the almond meal? Almonds are on my high sensitivity list. Thank you!

  24. I can't wait to try this recipe! It looks so good, just like all of your recipes!

    Karina, you were the first blog I found when I discovered my gluten allergy, as well as my husband's diagnosis of celiac disease. I was so overwhelmed and never thought I would bake again. You inspired to get in that kitchen and get to baking! I remember making your chocolate cupcakes for my son's first birthday and was thrilled to have them not only look like cupcakes, but taste yummy too!

    I wanted to say thank you for your beautiful blog and all of your delicious recipes. You gave me so many tools when I had none, when going gluten free. I looked at your blog for so many were a lifesaver! I have recently decided to start my own gluten free baking blog and you are on the people that have inspired me!

    I just really wanted you to know that your blog has helped many of us when we had been defeated by gluten. Thank you!

    -Sarah Hornacek

  25. Randi09:35

    This looks great! Is there something else (nut free) I can use in place of the almond meal?

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes!

  26. Hi
    I really love your website and come here often to find recipes. Alot of your recipes call for almond flour/ there another alternative that is cheaper?

  27. Hi, I've started visiting your website more and more.. Tried this recipe the other day - it was yummo! I did substitute chestnut flour for almond flour (my son has a low grade allergy to almonds) and accidently forgot the quinoa flakes (duh - considering the name), but it still turned out delicious. I did use the almond essence - gave it a really divine taste - note to myself - must use that more often! The kids loved it. I have 4 children and myself that all live on a gluten free dairy free diet. Great work Gluten-free Goddess, I'd love the time to do what you do.

  28. Thank you, Everyone for your wonderful comments! For replacing almond meal- I suggest trying a medium weight whole grain flour- such as millet, GF oat flour, etc. You might also try a blend with brown rice flour and coconut flour... experiment!


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Wishing you a delicious and beautiful day!

Karina - Gluten-Free Goddess xox