First Birthday Applesauce Cupcakes (Grain-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Oil-free)


If you’ve ever been to a first birthday party, you know that a “smash cake” is usually on the menu.

first-birthday-healthy-cake-recipe

But considering the fact that many babies haven’t been introduced to refined sugar, flour, or dairy before that big day, parents might find themselves with a sick or grouchy child if they offer a traditional birthday cake– let alone give the baby a whole cake to play with!

Of course, I don’t want to make any parents feel badly about giving their baby a traditional birthday cake, because one special day isn’t going to be a huge deal in the grand scheme of things. However, since we don’t want to introduce grains, dairy, or refined sugar to our son yet, we decided to make him a batch of these oil-free applesauce cupcakes to celebrate his big day.

These cupcakes are made with fiber-rich coconut flour, which is generally considered safe for those with nut allergies.* Coconut flour tends to require the structure of eggs, which we had already introduced to our son several weeks prior to his first birthday, but if you need a recipe that is egg-free, you might want to try turning my Buckwheat Banana Bread or Pumpkin Bread recipes into cupcakes for a vegan (and still gluten-free!) option. These cupcakes are sweetened with maple syrup, since we also haven’t introduced honey yet, but if you want a recipe that is free of all added sugar, the banana bread I just mentioned, as well as these Banana Snack Muffins, would make a great option, too.

Topped with Coconut Whipped Cream (we didn’t add any sweetener this time) and a sprinkling dried banana for “sprinkles,” these cupcakes are lower in sugar but still pretty enough to serve your loved ones!

First Birthday Applesauce Cupcakes (Dairy-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Oil-free)
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 cup coconut flour
6 eggs
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard muffin tin with 12 parchment or silicone baking cups (<– my preferred choice).

Measure the coconut flour by scooping the flour directly from the container, then using the back of a knife sweep off the excess, creating a level measurement. (This is also referred to as the “scoop & sweep” method.) It’s imperative that you measure the coconut flour correctly, as even an extra teaspoon can throw off the recipe!

Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and use a whisk to break up any lumps, mixing well until a thick and uniform batter is created. Divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden and the centers are firm. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost with Coconut Whipped Cream, or another topping of choice.

paleo-birthday-cupcakes

These cupcakes can be stored at room temperature, but they will dry out quickly after the first day, so I recommend storing them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week. Remove from the fridge 3 hours before serving to bring them back to room temperature. If you want to make them ahead of time, they can even be frozen and then thawed in the fridge overnight. Be sure to frost them just before serving, for best results.

4.6 from 10 reviews
First Birthday Applesauce Cupcakes (Grain-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free)
Author: 
Serves: 12
 
A healthy cupcake recipe for celebrating a child's first birthday, this recipe is grain-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and nut-free!
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 6 eggs
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a standard muffin tin with 12 parchment or silicone baking cups. Measure the coconut flour by scooping the flour directly from the container, then using the back of a knife sweep off the excess, creating a level measurement. (This is also referred to as the "scoop & sweep" method.) It's imperative that you measure the coconut flour correctly, as even an extra teaspoon can throw off the recipe!
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and use a whisk to break up any lumps, mixing well until a thick and uniform batter is created.
  3. Divide the batter into the 12 muffin cups, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden and the centers are firm. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Frost with coconut whipped cream, or another topping of choice.
Notes
These cupcakes can be stored at room temperature, but they will dry out quickly after the first day, so I recommend storing them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to one week. Remove from the fridge 3 hours before serving to bring them back to room temperature. If you want to make them ahead of time, they can even be frozen and then thawed in the fridge overnight. Be sure to frost them just before serving, for best results.

Notes:

  • I have not tried making this recipe with another sweetener, so you’ll have to experiment if you need an alternative. If you feel comfortable using honey, I’d use slightly less than the amount of maple syrup called for, as honey has a stronger flavor and sweetness. Coconut nectar could also be used as a low-glycemic option.
  • There is no substitute for coconut flour. If you need an alternative, please see the other recipe suggestions I mentioned above.
  • If nut allergies are not an issue, you could also try using my Creamy Cashew Icing as a tasty topping.

*The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI) states: “Coconut is not a botanical nut; it is classified as a fruit, even though the Food and Drug Administration recognizes coconut as a tree nut. While allergic reactions to coconut have been documented, most people who are allergic to tree nuts can safely eat coconut. If you are allergic to tree nuts, talk to your allergist before adding coconut to your diet.” (source)

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite type of cupcake? If you’re a parent, did you offer your child a smash cake? Our little guy got his own cupcake, but he had no idea what to do with it! Like most new foods that he’s introduced to for the first time, it quickly ended up on our floor.

 

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Meet Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned certified nutritionist consultant, trying to make healthy living as easy as possible. I believe in eating delicious whole foods on a regular basis to help naturally support the body’s detox organs— no juice fasting required. (Unless you want to!) If you make one of my healthy recipes, tag @detoxinista on Instagram or Facebook so I can see!

78 thoughts on “First Birthday Applesauce Cupcakes (Grain-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Oil-free)

  1. Angeline

    This is fantastic! After nursing exclusively nursing my 4 boys, I felt terrible buying into the messy sugar-laden cake ‘tradition’. Thanks for the reminder (I’m due in March)!

    Reply
  2. Rebekah

    This post comes at the perfect time! Our little one has her first birthday next month and I love that I won’t have to look too far for a healthy option for her. We want to celebrate without artificial dyes, white flour, sugar, etc.Turning one shouldn’t mean introducing their clean little bodies to a world of junk. I loved following your blog as I was pregnant, as well. Thanks so much for sharing healthy recipes with our family and so many others!

    Reply
  3. Cassie

    I’m so glad you’re sharing all this baby food experience with us! I will definitely be utilizing it when I start having children!

    Reply
  4. K

    Thanks for sharing! My daughter’s 1st birthday is coming up and I’ve been looking for a better alternative to traditional cake. Did your son enjoy his birthday cupcake?

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      He loves the cupcakes! He’s not a fan of the frosting, but he pretty much turns his nose up at anything that makes his hands messy lately.

      Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      Check out the other recipe suggestions I mention at the top of this post if you need an egg-free option. I wouldn’t recommend substituting the eggs in this particular recipe.

      Reply
  5. Michelle

    This recipe looks wonderful! My daughter’s first birthday was two days before her open heart surgery, so I had to be extra careful with what she ate. I made her a really bland muffin with baby food for the frosting. It was pretty gross, but she liked it. 🙂 Haha. I wish I had this recipe back then! I’m definitely going to use it for my son’s first birthday in a couple of months. Some of my friends have done the traditional smash cake. Most of the time, the babies would just play with it. My nephew ate an incredible amount though and was pretty cranky. I guess it depends on the baby. 🙂 Thank you for all of your creative, delicious recipes, and Happy Birthday to your little man!

    Reply
  6. Jess @ Crunchy Hot Mama

    This is perfect timing! My daughter turns 1 in a few weeks and I was going to make her a (paleo) hummingbird cake (like I did for my oldest, but it wasn’t Paleo). I will have to try these as well. It always breaks my heart when I go to kid’s parties and see the brightly colored cakes filled with sugar 🙁 My motto with my oldest was, if I wouldn’t feed it to her, why should I eat it? A bit extreme maybe, but like you, I want to feed my kids to the best of my ability…until they can decided for themselves to eat junk 😉

    Happy birthday to your little one!

    Here’s that hummingbird cake recipe, if you’re curious (maybe leave out the syrup):
    http://friskylemon.com/2012/10/11/coconut-flour-hummingbird-cake/

    Reply
  7. Laura

    Like so many, I offered the “smash cake” to both my girls at their first birthday — keeping in mind, up to this point they had been 100% nursing, so never had any food prior too!

    I felt guilty, as though, really Laura, you’re going to give them this loaded in refined sugar cake as their first food? But I guess I just felt pressure and the whole right of passage thing.

    How much better our these little cupcakes! Love this idea. And I can still get a traditional cake for those who want that but next time baby will have these. Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      There’s totally pressure to do the smash cake! I’m not sure these cupcakes would pass the adult taste-test (though I do like them myself), but my son LOVES these. He prefers them without the frosting though… he doesn’t like getting his hands messy. Ha!

      Reply
  8. Vanessa

    My favorite cupcake is the chia latte from Sprinkles. Soo good! While I don’t have kids, I’ve help make 3 of my nieces and nephew’s smash cake. I think my nephew was the best. He picked his whole min-cake up and smooshed it against his face!

    Reply
  9. Denielle

    I can veganize anything, but 6 eggs is a lot of substitutions! Do you think using 6 flax eggs or other egg replacement would yield good results?

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      No, I wouldn’t replace the eggs in this recipe. I’d suggest trying one of the other egg-free recipes I mentioned at the top of this post.

      Reply
  10. Coree

    was wondering if you could substitute the applesauce for pureed pumpkin instead….having a strong pumpkin craving today 🙂

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      Yes, I think that sounds delicious, too! I don’t see why that wouldn’t work… I might have to try that myself. 😉

      Reply
  11. Kendra

    These sound so delicious! I was curious about how you could use coconut flour without using eggs. I can’t have eggs but would love to try baking with this flour. What have you found to be a good egg substitute for use with coconut flour?

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      I do have one really good egg-free coconut flour recipe in my cookbook– but I have to wait to share that one until it’s released! If I come up with another recipe, I’ll be sure to share. 🙂

      Reply
  12. Saniel

    This reminded me of the Cosby show s6 ep16 when Denise (Lisa Bonet) threw a birthday party for Oliva(Raven Simone) and made all healthy foods including a carob cake. I made my son something similar for his first bday with frosting made from avocado and raw cocoa. Thanks for the memories.
    Happy Birthday to your son.

    Reply
  13. asia

    Made this cupcake yesterday (without the frosting) just because the recipe was so simple, easy to make, and perfect gluten free snack. i love it and so did my teenager and 10 yr old.

    Reply
  14. Abbi*tarian

    I will share this with a friend who I believe will be super interested in making these for her daughter! Also, I’m looking forward to making them for family & friends, as well. Btw, I’m curious, what is grated or sprinkled on top of some of the cupcakes in your photos? Thank you!

    Reply
  15. Jade

    I never did the smash cake, seems point less, cakes cost to much money to just make a mess out it andd I am not a fan of messy babies or kids and sugar. I felt no pressure to do so either. I actually feel better when I do things others don’t agree with, makes feel feel good about myself for some reason. These look heavenly. I am not a fan of eggs, and 6 eggs!?! Yikes!!!! ButI am giving it a shot any way, sticking them in the oven now and hoping for the best. here goes…..

    Reply
  16. Jennifer

    Could you bake these in a 8 or 9″ round cake pan instead to make a cake instead of cupcakes? Would that alter cooking time at all?

    Reply
      1. Jennifer

        great thank you so much for your quick response! I will try this, we’re celebrating my boy’s 1st birthday this weekend 🙂

        Reply
      2. Stacy

        Hi – I’m thinking of using this recipe for my son’s first birthday, but I have one of those giant cupcake, 10 cup capacity pans. Do you know how I would alter the recipe to accommodate that size? Thanks.

        Reply
  17. Bri

    Megan!
    I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for this recipe! I tested it out on my nephew’s first birthday today using the recipe as a smash cake and then making cup cakes for everyone too! It was a HUGE success! I was able to get a small, two layered cake and 4 cup cakes out of one batch of batter. This was such a great alternative to any other smash cake recipes or ideas for a first birthday! I’m going to be using it with my daughter in a couple of months too!

    Thanks again! We’ve loved all of your recipes!

    Reply
  18. Monika Lukacena

    I have made the pumpkin version with less eggs (but then again i get farm fresh eggs from friends and they are quite large) I have used only 4 eggs and they come out fantastic. Are your recipes using 6 medium eggs?

    Reply
    1. Megan Post author

      In baking, most recipes assume that you will use “large” eggs. However, your eggs from a farm may be larger than the store-bought eggs that are labeled “large.”

      Reply
  19. Tana

    Okay, so I’ll admit that I didn’t have high hopes for these cupcakes to be good. I figured they’d be dry or a weird texture (I’m brand new to baking with coconut flour since I just switched my family over from gluten free to grain free), but I wanted to insure my daughter’s celebration of a first birthday would not be an unhealthy start into sweets, along with not triggering anyone else’s allergies. These cupcakes were amazing. Moist, super tasty, texture like regular white flour cupcakes from my childhood. My 1 year old didn’t really get into them (I think the texture of a cupcake, being so different from the steamed fruits and veggies she’s used to was just not to her liking), but the lithe 7 kids, plus my husband and I, scarfed them up! Thanks for sharing this great recipe. Will be used and shared over and over again.

    Reply
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  22. Maria

    Just made this for a smash cake I’m making. It was enough for 2 layers of 4in cake pan and 3 cupcakes. Delicious and super moist.
    Im making the frosting tomorrow.

    Reply
  23. Carole

    For those who used this recipe for a cake rather than cupcakes: What did you put the batter in to bake it? Did you use all the batter? Did you change baking time or temp? Thanks!

    Reply
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  25. Monica

    I LOVE these! I Made them for my sons birthday, for friends kids birthdays, and even for adults cause they are so simple and good. I’ve made them as a full sized cake too! But…. I always have trouble with the coconut milk whipped cream. No matter how long I leave it in the fridge it never separates, and so I use my hand mixer and mix and mix and mix, but it never really gets solid enough, so ends up running down the sides of the cake. Any tips for me on getting this to work? Thanks!,

    Reply
  26. Pingback: First Birthday Applesauce Cupcakes (Grain-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Oil-free) « Detoxinista - Gluten Free Recipes and Food

  27. Jenny

    I just tried this recipe and it turned out too moist…almost too eggy. It tastes delicious but I’m hoping you can help me figure out where I went wrong and how to perfect the texture, it’s almost like French toast that’s a little soggy… Should I add a little more coconut flour?

    Reply
  28. Sarah

    Great recipe! Thanks for sharing. Can I add cacao to make them chocolate? Any ideas how much? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  29. Delphine

    Hi Megan,

    I was wondering if you came up with a biscuit recipe for your son?
    Like a teething biscuits for example.

    Thank you

    Reply
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  32. Sorena

    Hi Megan!
    I just did this, and they smell amazing, but they don’t look so good, not fluffy at all, I only use 1/2 of agave syrup because that is the only I have at this moment, do you have any suggestions?

    Reply
  33. Julia

    Hi. My child has eczema and I’ve noticed he has it worse after eggs, so would you happen to help me out as in what to use instead of it?

    Reply
  34. Delphine

    Hi Megan!

    I would love to try this recipe but my baby who will turn one soon, has eczema and it seems to be worse whenever I have eggs (I am breastfeeding) or when I give her some (She first had egg when I made these ‘toddler pancake’ of yours).

    You said in one of the comments above that one recipe in your cookbook will be without the use of eggs.
    I have bought your book (of course! 😉 ) but there is no such recipe.

    Can you help me out ?

    Thanks a lot

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      Yes, it’s the banana coconut muffin! My son LOVES those, so I hope they’re a hit with your baby, too!

      Reply
      1. Delphine

        Thank you very much. I made these but I have to say that they taste just like banana and it is not a big hit so far…. I am going to keep trying though and will be ready for the big day 🙂

        Reply
  35. LeAnn

    Thanks so much for this reciepe! My daughter is very sensitive. She’s allergic to lots of things including milk. I was stressing so bad thinking she wasn’t going to be able to have a cake for her first birthday in a couple of weeks. So glad to find this!

    Reply
  36. Rachael

    I made this recipe as written for my daughter’s 1st birthday. They were delicious! The cupcakes reminded me of apple spice muffins and were a hit with adults and kiddos. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Since they were such a hit with my daughter, I was thinking of making them as snacks in a mini muffin pan and adding some shredded veggies. This recipe was my first experience using coconut flour. Do you think adding some veggies would work?

    Reply
  37. Joanna

    Hi! This recipe looks amazing. I would love to use it for my best friend’s baby’s first birthday party. I just had one question, and I know you might not see this since you posted this recipe a year ago, but.. Did you sift the coconut flour before you scooped it? I’ve heard that it should be sifted first, but I didn’t want to assume that it was what you did. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Megan Gilmore Post author

      I am what you call a “lazy cook” so I never do things like sifting! I just scooped it right out of the bag, and then leveled it off with the back of a knife.

      Reply
        1. Megan Gilmore Post author

          Yes, I made the banana snack cake this year. However, my son doesn’t really like baked goods these days so Austin and I ended up eating it and our son enjoyed his favorite date balls instead. 😉

          Reply
  38. jessica

    My daughter started daycare after she turned 1 and having a milk allergy has forced me to bring her food to school. A small inconvenience but also a blessing in disguise. I’ve seen what they feed the kids and being European born, I’m not ok with it. With that said, she (now 20 months) gets these little treats every now and again in her lunch box and she LOVES them. Practically inhaled them. Thanks for the great recipe! Look forward to trying many more. Btw, theyre not just for kids….I enjoy the healthy treat too!

    Reply
  39. Stacy

    Hello! I was wondering if this can be made into an actual cake and what size pan would it fit in?
    Thank you!!

    Reply
  40. Erika

    I just made these with Coconut Nectar instead of Maple Syrup.
    Delicious and moist! My 11 month old likes them, too.
    Thtank you!

    Reply
  41. Bernadette

    This looks great! Wondering if I can sweeten this recipe with a ripe banana (or 2), instead of using maple syrup? any thoughts? I’m no baker, so unsure if that would ruin this recipe. Thanks!

    Reply
  42. Melanie

    I made these for my sons first birthday and they were delicious. I added a teaspoon of vanilla paste as well. For the icing I did a cream cheese and maple syrup icing. So yummy! And moist! I think this could easily transform into a carrot cake cake recipe.

    Reply

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