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4 from 2 votes

Gluten-Free Quinoa Cupcakes

These gluten-free cupcakes are light and fluffy and have a surprise apple cinnamon center. The quinoa gives them a nutty flavor which goes perfectly with the apples.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Calories: 531kcal
Author: Stefani


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 1/2-3 cups diced apples about 2 medium sized apples
  • 1/4 cup sugar I used vanilla sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 large eggs
  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup cooked quinoa You cook quinoa in the same way that you would cook rice. Read part one of quinoa for breakfast if you need more detailed cooking directions. I started with 1 C of uncooked quinoa and ended up with enough for this recipe plus plenty left over to have for breakfast or any other meal. I used Red Inca quinoa, hence the dark spots in the cake.
  • 1 3/4 cups rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Penuche Frosting Ingredients

  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 C brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 2 C sifted confectioners' sugar I only used about a cup


Cupcake Instructions

  • Simmer the apple cubes with the water, sugar, cinnamon, and rum until the apple is cooked and almost all the liquid is evaporated. Try very hard not to eat it all before putting it in the cupcakes. There will be some left over. I ate it with the leftover penuche frosting. You could just make the apples and frosting and forget the cupcakes entirely and be quite happy.
  • Whisk the egg and sugar and add the melted butter. Stir well.
  • Add the quinoa, mix well, and then add the flour and baking powder. Stir well.
  • Fill 12 cupcake liners about 1/3 full with batter.
  • Add a layer of apples.
  • Top with another layer of batter so that they are all about 3/4 full.*
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the tops bounce back when you touch them.

Penuche Frosting Instructions

  • In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter.
  • Add the brown sugar.
  • Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add sifted confectioners' sugar. (I would highly recommend sifting this confectioners' sugar. It's such a pain to sift, but it ensures that the frosting will be extra smooth.)
  • Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water.


*Alternative: Mix the apples in with the batter instead of doing layers. I have not tried this, but I think it might be even better than the layered method.


Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 173mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 61g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 0.8mg