More adventures with quinoa flour: an improved banana loaf and a chocolate/beetroot version

If anyone is still thinking of trying this, I've made it three times now, slightly differently each time, and in my opinion the recipe in the link can be improved upon.

dovesfarm.co.uk/recipes/ban...

The best banana loaf was made with:

150g quinoa flour

20g ground flax meal

80g brown sugar

2 good tsp aluminium-free baking powder

2 ripe bananas

5 generous tablespoons olive oil

juice and zest of one orange

a touch of vanilla

I've just made a chocolate version with beetroot instead of banana, which is lovely and would make an elegant dessert with a drizzle of chocolate glaze or a spoonful of whipped cream.

40g cocoa powder

20g ground flax meal

90g quinoa flour

80g brown sugar

2 good tsp aluminium-free baking powder

1 grated raw beetroot

5 generous tablespoons olive oil

vanilla

enough soya milk (or your preferred 'milk') to make a thick batter

However you make it, the method is basically to mix the wet ingredients in a blender, add the dry, pour into an oiled and lined 500g/1lb loaf tin and bake in a preheated oven (180°C/Fan160°C/350°F/ Gas 4) for 45/50 minutes. It couldn't be easier.

I've been very impressed with the texture of these cakes. They're tender and moist and, considering these are vegan cakes made with fruit/veg, quite light. The quinoa flour is more nutritious than other gf flours and it has a nice neutral taste. I'm not keen on too much sweetness, but if you prefer a sweeter cake, you can add 20-30g more sugar and maybe leave a little flour out.

Possibly no one will be interested in these experiments but me! In any case, I'm really excited to be baking again, and something other than my trusty genoise (which was getting a little samey), so I wanted to share my experience. This was also a nice break from my bread experiments, which were less successful.

I'd love to hear about what others are baking!

11 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Hi Hollyann, I recently made a banana loaf but I use a flour mix with tapioca starch and rice flour and mine looks very like the Doves farm one:

    withoutgluten.co.uk/recipes...

    If you're interested in gf baking most people either buy a mix with tapioca starch in it or make one them selves with tapioca starch. And the Doves farm recipe might be nicer with 30g of tapioca starch instead of quinoa flour.

    The reason that we use tapioca starch is it's gelatinization temperature, this is the temperature that the flour starts to cook. Wheat starts to cook at just at 48C whereas rice flour starts to cook at 72C and soy flour 78C. But tapioca starch starts to cook at 62C so by adding tapioca starch gives a wider cooking range, so you a better texture and flavour. Sorry if this is a bit like a science lesson it's just that with recipes all ingredients are used for a purpose and understanding this helps us adapt ''normal'' recipes.

    Good for you for experimenting and encouraging others, the chocolate cake sounds really nice and flax and quinoa are very healthy options. I find that Mary Berry's recipe's are great for adapting to a gf version.

  • Hi Jerry. I always appreciate your opinion on baking matters!

    I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent taste and texture of both the altered-recipe cakes. My husband (who is not gf but a willing participant in the quality control) tasted the beetroot one and declared it to be suitable for any occasion including a birthday cake.

    The problem with rice and tapioca flours (as I think we've discussed before) is that they have little nutritional value, so I'm trying to avoid using them for everyday things.

    I use flour mixes happily for various things. Dove's Farm makes a great straight sub for wheat flour on most occasions. Even when it isn't 100% successful (pancakes didn't work out) I usually mix it with a few other flours (for pancakes, I mixed in buckwheat and sorghum with excellent results). In this case, I used the banana cake recipe as is because 1) quinoa is so much more nutritious than many other gf flours and 2) I was curious about the taste and texture it would give on its own.

    When I mix my own flours, I use the Gluten Free Girl's guidance. (She's American, so some of the products she mentions are different than ours or are called something different.) She advises a 40/60 ratio of whole grain flours to starches.

    glutenfreegirl.com/how-to-m...

    I'll have a look at Mary Berry's recipes. So far, I've gained a lot of confidence with most baking - but not bread.

  • Hya, I think that you using nutritious flour from grains like quinoa and milled flax seed is highly commendable as at the end of the day we are what we eat.

    Now what I would really like please is to put your chocolate and beetroot recipe on WG if that's OK with you. It is very interesting by using healthy grains and most importantly is tried and tested. And obviously I'll credit it to you. There's recipes by others on there already like Liz's biscuits and her guide to making biscuits, our friend Lynxcat has made a few contributions. I can also add a photo at a later date. It's up to you.

  • Gosh, by all means please do. Sorry I haven't measured the soya milk, but I don't think it's a crucial issue (if slightly too dry or too wet it shouldn't be a big deal).

  • Thankyou, here's a link if you would like to amend it please let me know:

    withoutgluten.co.uk/recipes...

    I think that this recipe is interesting and innovative as well as being healthy, so I think that your enthusiasm will inspire others to see what they can make that really is free from and yummy.

    If you are interested in baking with Quinoa I make Hob Nobs using cooked Quinoa and honey.

    And I make short crust pastry with 1/2 mashed potatoes and 1/2 a standard pastry mix that has been converted to gluten free.

    I hope that you have many more baking successes and will happily post them on WG. So thanks again Holly.

  • I love it that you use mashed potatoes in a shortcrust! How innovative! As soon as I read that my mouth knew what it was for. It must be the starchiness and fluffiness that help the texture of the crust.

    The only thing I'd like to add to those recipes (and it's not a big change so it's your call) is that I always add a pinch of salt and for some reason I left this out of the recipe. It's a small thing, but I do find it really lets the flavour bloom and is just as important in a sweet recipe as it is in a savoury one. Sorry I left it out.

    I'm working on a quinoa bread today. I made a quinoa/flax loaf last week but it was too wet and had a sort of slimy texture (too much wet flax) so I'm going to try to tweak a savoury version of the one above, using yeast for 'bread' flavour/crust, baking powder for loft and adding some starch for texture. I'll let you know how I get on.

  • Hi Hollyann, Will definately tries these, but not sure where to get quinoa flour from, so might try with normal Dove's farm flour til I can source it. Have a glut of beetroots at mo, so can make good use of them here, and always have flax on the go to add to stuff. All great nutritious ingredients - thanks!

  • Hi callistodevi.

    I got mine at the local health food shop. The brand is Infinity Foods Organics.

  • Thanks, will check it out :-)

  • I love baking and am always keen to try out recipes that work! So far I have stuck to the Doves Farm flours; the chocolate brownies are a sweet treat but not remotely nutritious unless you count feeding the soul! You have given me the impetus to try out other flour variations now.

  • Yes, I feed my soul a LOT so I thought I'd better squeeze a little actual nutrition in there now and again. :-)

    I'm really reluctant to even try things that might end up in the bin (I made some barely edible bread and even that has gone in the freezer as breadcrumbs!) so I'm pleased that I can recommend this as very do-able and very tasty.

    Keep an eye on the temperature and timing. If the batter is slightly too wet, it will burn before it is completely cooked, so if you see the edges getting a little too brown you can turn the oven down a tiny bit or cover with foil. Other than that I'd consider this utterly foolproof. I'm looking forward to trying it with courgettes, carrots, pumpkin and whatever else I find in the fridge.

    Have fun!

You may also like...