Quinoa Carrot Cakes

Your New Year Resolution – To Be Worshiped!

Anyone can bake. Elegant and talented as she is, Gizzi Erskine is no genius (oh stop choking. I love her too). She’s just an adorable rogue in an apron whose sex appeal is magnified by her ability to lust after her ingredients. What Ms Erskine playfully proves, is the surprising ease at which we can be utterly consumed by our food, and the pleasure derived through full submission. Hallowed be Gizzi. So really, it’s all within your reach even if you have the domestic instinct of a springbok with ADD.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution that doesn’t involve self-flagellation, and will make you outrageously popular at the office. Choose a recipe from this health blog every week, and own it. Get to know it like a new friend – an ally to the New You.

You’re looking for something that will ignite passion between you and your wooden spoon.

Quite apart from the self-administered dose of serotonin, you are sure to boost your culinary credentials and your libido. Get going now, and you’ll have mastered 54 dishes by this time next year. Expect to be nothing short of a worshiped deity to those around you. Sound good? Or would you rather set your alarm clock for a 6am jog in the pitch dark followed by a raw kale smoothie?!

I’m here to show you that healthy eating should never tax your taste buds. Superstar actress Anna Friel nailed it when she assured a room full of journalists that health is beauty. “If someone takes care of themselves you can see it shine within them.”

So nosedive into that apron and baptise these quinoa cupcakes darling! And say hello to the New You.


Tony Gavin credit


Quinoa Carrot Cakes

Did you know that soaking one tablespoon of chia or flaxseed in liquid for 15 minutes makes an awesome egg replacer? Not that eggs are unhealthy, but I realise they might be off radar for vegans and readers with heart disease or allergies.

This recipe’s nutritional kudos is ramped up by the whackload of milled flax we wrestled into it. Flax is one of nature’s best sources of lignans, naturally occurring phytoestrogens found in some plants. These chaps are associated with happy hormones and boisterous antioxidant behaviour. Studies have shown a reduction in prostrate and breast cancers with a corresponding increase in dietary plant lignans. Wahoo! A cancer-fighting cupcake!

For 10 cupcakes:

8 dried apricots, chopped

1 medium banana, mashed

2 handfuls whole walnuts

½ cup / 125ml apple juice

4 tablespoons brown rice syrup or honey

3 tablespoons / 45g milled flaxseed

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup grated carrots

Pinch of sea salt

½ cup / 65g quinoa flour

¾ cup / 100g brown rice flour (plain gluten-free flour will work)

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon rapadura or coconut sugar (optional topping)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon (topping)


Preheat the oven to 180°Celsius, 160°C fan assisted or 350°Fahrenheit. Line a generous muffin tray with 10 paper cases.

In a large bowl, mix the apricots, banana, walnuts, apple juice, honey, flaxseed and oil. Stir through the grated carrots and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, sieve the flour with the baking powder and cinnamon. Make sure the baking powder doesn’t stick in one place. Make a well in the centre of the flour and scoop the wet mixture into it. Let this party. I find singing loudly helps. Spoon the dough into your cupcake liners. You’re aiming for exactly 10 cupcakes.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let your nostrils dance. Now stir the coconut sugar and cinnamon together, sprinkling over each cupcake. A great way to start your New Year resolutions, eh?!



This article has 20 comments

  1. margaret

    I’ve taken this recipe from last Sunday’s Irish Independent Life magazine & it says 1/2 cup each of quinoa & brown rice flour.  But on this website, it says 1/2 cup quinoa & 3/4 cup brown rice flour.  Can you please tell me which is correct?

    Also, how much is 1/2 cup in ounces/grams and how is 1/2 cup apple juice in Fluid ounces/litres?

    1. Susan Jane

      Hello Margaret. Apologies – it’s best with 3/4 brown rice flour. 1/2 cup will work, but will be a more moist and dense. I prefer using 3/4 brown rice flour. Hope you love them as much as we do here! All the best for your kitchen adventures.

    1. Susan Jane

      Good point! I have to use 150 fan (I have a hot oven) so it might be worth getting an oven thermometer to see when your oven is misbehaving 😉

      I love this recipe. Wish I was there to sample them now!

      1. Susan Jane

        Oh dear. They come out beautifully soft. 1 cup = 240ml in volume. You could use a measuring jug to measure ? 1/4 cup = 60 ml. Hope this helps. Your local supermarket should also carry plastic measuring cups for around a fiver. My local Tesco even does them . Best wishes, SJ

  2. Carone

    I made these recently and really enjoyed them. I then ordered your book and just made the Badass Breakfast Bars. While good, I want to make sure they are “right” before I make anything else. They are about 7 cm thick so are more piles than bars; I’m wondering if I had too much mix. In an earlier comment you said you use the American system of cups. Does that mean the same size cups as one would find in the US (where I live)?  I don’t care so much about accuracy in things like soups since I’ll modify to suit my personal tastes anyway but baked goods can be more particular. Thanks so much for your help (and your fun blog)!

    1. Susan Jane

      Hi Carone, yes they sound deadly! We try to squash in lots of filling, but this can be tricky depending on how greedy we feel! Hope you liked them. ALso great with just dates. ALl the best to your kitchen, SJ

  3. Nancy Cantwell

    Hi Susan Jane, love your book & recipes, sometime find it difficult to,source ingredients, eg quinoa flour, have used cooked quinoa before to make lavash tink I could do for carrot muffins? Thanks Nancy 

    1. Susan Jane

      Hi Nancy. Yes, quinoa is a tricky one and its price has more than doubled in 2014. You could replace it with brown rice flour and it works perfectly, or use whole rye flour. I haven’t tried teff flour in this recipe, but my guess is it would be magic. Whole quinoa won’t exactly work, but adding 2 tablespoons of cooked quinoa to fortify certainly would work! Let me know how you get on okay? Good luck! SJ

  4. siobhan

    Hi Susan. Have been having great fun trying out your Extra Virgin recipes for my toddlers. Most of the recipes I’ve tried have been a hit but unfortunately this one wasn’t. So my question is; have you any suggestions for using up my now redundant bag of quinoa flour? You don’t seem to use it in many recipes in the book and as it cost me a tenner I’d feel much better if I managed to use it!!!!! Onwards and upwards!

    1. Susan Jane

      Hi Siobhan. Shame that! I have loads of recipes with quinoa flour – some are online with my paper The Sunday Independent. You can use them in flapjack recipes in place of regular flour. And making bread. And almost anything (just replace 25% of your regular flour with the quinoa flour). A tenner is STEEP! Yikes.

      1. siobhan

        Thanks for that Susan, I’m sure I’ll manage to use it up so! I might even give the Carrot Cakes another whirl, like one of the previous posts mine too were little rocks so I might have another go! 

        1. Susan Jane

          Oh wow! That’s never happened to me, so do give it another go. Maybe in the oven too long? My little ones love them. Recipe gets great feedback, along with the flapjacks as family faves xxx

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