Allergy Friendly Cupcakes and Frosting

Love might mean never having to say you’re sorry (really???). But in the mind of a two year old, it also means having snacks that you can share. If what you need is a vegan/dairy free/ egg free/ nut free/ soy free/ refined sugar free/ allergy friendly cupcake solution, skip to the image at the bottom, quick sticks.

Update: Will is currently caught up in a tempestuous toddler love triangle. The objects of his affection happen to be best friends (he’s asking for trouble right there). One is luminously blonde and cheeky as heck, the other olive skinned, delightfully imperious and frequently refers to herself in the third person. Sometimes (often) the girls are much more interested in each other than Will. But day in, day out, his heart is cleaved. ‘Lily!’ sometimes he keens from his car seat. ‘Smart for Lily!’ he intones with a waver in his voice as he motivates himself to suffer through the indignity of donning a smock for a haircut. Then on other days, it’s all about Avie. ‘Avalon!!!’ he jumps with glee when he sees she’s turned up to Rhyme Time at the library – and the two of them scamper outside to cavort on small plastic horses and grin at each other.

Will is, of course his mother’s son. As such, he’s a feeder. The greatest way he knows to show affection is to hand out his snacks. He’ll break off half and proffer it around and (quite chivalrously) always let Avalon and Lily have the last piece of cake.

Which is why we need to be more careful with what we bake. Avalon has some fairly severe allergies to nuts, dairy and egg. Sunday was Avalon’s birthday party, so we set about seeing if we could conjure up some cupcakes that were something she could enjoy. The cakes leaned on wholemeal flour and contained a touch more sugar than I normally would bake with, but we figured that since we were cutting out quite a bit, we would be generous with what was left. They employ a miraculous melding of coconut milk, coconut oil and the raising properties of bicarb soda and apple cider vinegar in place of eggs. The frosting was more challenging. In most realms of cupcake consumption, frosting is just a vehicle for a fascinator of powdered sugar and fat. So the gauntlet was laid; is it possible to construct a pipe able frosting which is refined sugar free and doesn’t lean on vegan margarine?

The answer is yes. It involves coconut cream, coconut oil, coconut flour (do you sense a theme here?) some mashed banana for sweetness and a little arrowroot powder cooked out for structure. It requires a second blending once it’s been set in the fridge to get a smooth pipe-able consistency, but it works.

There’s a great podcast that I plugged last week Ezra Klein with David Chang, where he talks about how nearly all of the cooking done in the Momofuku test lab is vegan. That’s where the challenges are- and that’s where the interesting things come from. And he’s right. This is tricky, but rewarding cooking. It’s like flying to a foreign country without a guide book and only knowing a smattering of words in the local language.

They say you don’t realise how good you’ve got it, until it’s gone. I am now, and forever appreciative that we can swiftly whip  frosting for cakes in this house out of cream cheese and a little sweetener (see last week’s double decker carrot cake for a prime example). I also know that the vegan chocolate mousse I posted a while ago, with avocado and cacao/cocoa would also make a noble frosting option. But when it’s blonde cupcakes you’re after, to celebrate the birthday of the fair maiden that’s captured your son’s heart, then this is one option that’s worth having in your arsenal.

Allergy Friendly Cupcakes and Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes with frosting



300 ml non dairy milk (I used coconut)
190 g wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100 g sugar
100 g coconut oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Here’s how we roll

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350 F and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2) Sift together the dry ingredients in one bowl.

3) In another bowl beat together the coconut oil and sugar until well combined.

4) Combine the coconut milk with the apple cider vinegar.

5) Gently fold the wet and the dry ingredients into the creamed sugar, alternating between the two.

5) Transfer the batter into the baking cases, filling them no more than 2/3 of the way up. (It may help to use an ice cream scoop to do it neatly).

6) Bake for 25 minutes, until brown, firm to the touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool before icing.

Egg, Dairy, Soy and Refined Sugar Free Frosting


1 ripe banana
140 ml can of coconut cream
50 g coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp arrowroot powder
Optional 1 tbsp lemon juice (this will help the banana stay white and make the frosting taste tangier)
1 tbsp sweetener – rice malt syrup/ coconut sugar/ white sugar
Coconut chips, or coloured sprinkles to serve.

Here’s how we roll

(Nb, this should be made at least 3 hours before you plan on frosting to allow the mix to set)

1 Mash a banana well and combine with lemon juice (if you want to use it).

2) Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

3) Transfer the contents to a saucepan and cook over medium heat at a simmer for 2-3 minutes. This allows the arrowroot to thicken the frosting.

4) Transfer the mix to a tupperware and place in the fridge for 2 hours to cool and set. Before piping blitz the mix in a food processor or blender to ensure a consistent texture (you don’t want any lumps of coconut oil), then transfer to a piping bag and pipe onto the top of the cupcakes. Decorate, then serve.




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