Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quinoa Raisin Muffins with Lime Curd Whipped Cream Frosting

It's Free Spirit Blogger (FSB) time again. This month it was Lataji's turn to host and pick our monthly theme for FSB. She made a list of ingredients for use in making desserts and paired it up with two flavorable add-ons (for us to use one of them). Each of us FSBs had to make a dessert based on a random assignment of the ingredients.  I was super nervous as all the ingredients' combination in her list were unique and sounded challenging to use in a dessert. The draw got me Quinoa with flavourable addons - raisins or fruit juice. Quinoa is supposed to be a healthy pseudocereal with high protein, fiber, iron,  a balanced set of amino acids, and is gluten free.

I had a big bag of quinoa sitting in my pantry staring at my face.. as you can imagine, I got it as part of my 'healthy' grocery list a while back after getting inspired by all the recipes online, but had not used it a whole lot beyond the initial experimentation. So, this was some sort of a sign for me to bring that bag of quinoa out for incorporation.  I had never used quinoa in a dessert before. I've used it as a rice substitute with a bunch of alterations to recipes in order to mask its chewy texture, but using it in a dessert seemed hard to do. And after a lot of debate (with myself!), some googling and polling a few people, I settled on a recipe from the internet with some adjustments I wanted to make. 

Now over to the recipe.
Recipe below adapted from here

1/3rd cup Unsalted Butter, in room temperature
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg
2 cups of All Purpose Flour/Maida
1 ½ tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Salt
1/3rd cup - 1/2 cup Raisins (I used golden raisins)
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla (I used 1/2 tsp of vanilla powder and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract)
1 tsp Lemon Eest
1/2 tsp of Lemon Extract
2 cups of Cooked Quinoa

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease and flour muffin tins, or line with cupcake liners
  • Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy
  • Add the egg and mix well.Add vanilla extract and mix till incorporated
  • In a medium sized bowl, sift  together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
    • Alternately, add the flour mixture and milk and mix well until incorporated
  • Fold in the raisins, lemon zest and lemon extract
  • Fold in the cooked quinoa
  • Divide the batter evenly among the 12  muffin cups
  • Bake for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean
  • Cool the muffins on a cooling rack
I was surprised with the outcome of these cupcakes. It was more edible than I imagined ;). I had not planned on frosting the cupcakes initially. Once they were done, I tasted one and realized they were still a bit chewy and somewhat dry. I had suspected this would happen based on my past experience using quinoa, and I did not have a whole lot of room to experiment with a baking recipe. Without some moisture to ease its intake, this would have been a bit hard to swallow. Hence, I added a tangy but light frosting. I have also included below a few suggestions on how to improve the recipe to make the cupcake more moist.

For the frosting:

1 cup of very cold Heavy Whipping Cream
2-3 tbsp Sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
4-5 tbsp Lime Curd ( I used lime juice and lime zest instead of lemon zest and lemon juice)
1 tbsp Lime Zest
  • In a bowl place the whipping cream and sugar and whip it on high speed until it holds peaks
  • Fold in the lime curd and zest with a rubber spatula
  • Fill it into pastry bags and decorate your cupcakes
I should say these two worked very well with each other. I felt like some feedback would help refine this more experimental bake, so had sent out the extra muffins to my husband's office. They all liked it. They too did feel that it was a bit dry. One of them suggested that I add something like grated zucchini to make a lighter muffin and also keep it a bit moist. It sounds like a good idea! Baking with zucchini has been on my list of things to do too. I shall keep you posted about it. Quinoa-rasin cupcakes are definitely a good option for someone looking for a healthy treat (minus the frosting if you don't need that)

Also, do hop over to my fellow free spirit bloggers: Anu, Deepti, DK, Lata, Mads, Nags and Siri, to check out what ingredient combination they worked with over July.


  1. that is indeed unique. especially with frosting. good one mittu :)

  2. Super innovative Mittu. Love the frosting as well. cute looking muffins, I must say :-)


  3. Nice use of quinoa. I am also experimenting with it after reading its health benefits.

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  4. I love the nutty flavour and taste of quinoa..Unfortunately we do not get it in India :(

  5. @nags & siri - thankoo girls :)
    @vardhini - thank you so much for stopping by. I shall check out the giveaway.
    @viji aunty - I've decided that quinoa wont kill me and I actually like it :P. I am sure there will be more quinoa based recipes coming to this space. Ya I have heard it is some 500-600rs a kg!

  6. Hey dear first time here.....u hv a bful blog with yummy recipes..
    Anyways would love to hear a word from u too...
    this looks delicious and healthy..any leftovers pls.?..Yummo
    Following u..

  7. I've never cooked with quinoa before. But, if you can make muffins out of it, I am going to get my first packet, and perhaps yes...we won't die eating it anyways! But on the other hand, you've done a great job with it. And, I must say the frosting looks absolutely inviting!

  8. I can imagine how quinoa can make them a little dry - you can also try and soak these in honey as soon as they are out of the oven - similar to the honey bran muffins - that will make them really juicy and moist and provide the extra sweetness too. But wonderfully baked - I would have never thought to make muffins with qunioa! Hifive!

  9. @ deepti - You should try quinoa. It seems to be pretty versatile.
    @anu - sounds like a swell idea.Thanks for the tip. I will try it out at the next oppurtunity!.
    Thank you gals for the compliments. Coming from seasoned bloggers just made my day :)

  10. Creativity at it's best! Quinoa seemed pretty challenging to me b'cos a) I've never seen/worked with it, and b)from what I'd seen, I was thinking only 'savoury' when it came to this, but you've nailed it! What a brilliant idea to make muffins using quinoa, and the lime curd frosting melts my heart just as Im sure it will melt in my mouth :)

  11. Mittu, I should have been the first to comment on this. Sadly, it was not me. i have also never tried quinoa...not in any cooking, leave alone dessert. I only read up a few ideas while choosing the ingredient. I am floored that you have made such a wonderful dessert:)
    At this point you might be posting the next theme recipe also....looking forward to that one.