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

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

applesauce cupcakes

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.

applesauce cupcakes frosted with coconut whipped cream

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.

Frosted applesauce cupcakes
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4.8 from 24 votes

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

A healthy cupcake recipe for celebrating a child's first birthday, this recipe is grain-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and nut-free!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Applesauce Cupcakes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 123kcal

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

Instructions

  • 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!
  • 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.

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.

Nutrition

Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 150IU | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.6mg
Per serving: Calories 123, Carbohydrates: 19, Protein: 5, Fat: 3

Recipe 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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Comments

Stacy

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

    Bhrie

    I would also like to know if this can be made into a cake. Size and bake times please!

Erika

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

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!

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.

Mindy

I’m that “aunt”…the one that makes the elaborate sugar-laden birthday cakes for all my friends’ children. So when my friend asked me to make something gluten-free, low sugar for her son’s first birthday, I almost lost it. Like I was literally at a loss as to what this mean. My brain simply could not compute. Then I found this recipe and while I was skeptical, I made it and everyone, including the birthday boy. This has now become a popular breakfast muffin recipe for when I am invited places. I’m still and will always be “that aunt”, but thanks for the great alternative!

Rochelle

I have been researching how to make an apple pupcake recipe healthy for my guide dog’s birthday, and I haven’t been able to convert the ingredients to accommodate coconut flour. This apple sauce cupcake recipe is just what I’ve been looking for. All the same ingredients with the adapted measurements for coconut flour instead of wheat. Apples are my dog’s favourite, and I know she will just love these. I plan to core the cupcakes and add a bit of apple sauce filling as a bonus flavor burst. I am also planning to fold in some apple chunks before baking, and I hope it still comes out fine. Fingers and paws crossed they will come out delicious. Thank you so much for posting this recipe!

Terri

How long would you bake it for if doing the 4 inch cake pan? Would love to do this for a smash cake! Thank you!!

SuzyK

Could I just make this a small cake?

Amanda

Hi! I was wondering at what temperature and for how longhorn you would cook this recipe for a 6 in cake? Thank you!
Amanda

    Megan Gilmore

    I’d probably start with 30 minutes and expect it maybe to take up to 45 minutes. Just touch the center to see if it’s firm!

Cassie

These are pretty good. The consistency is more of a bread pudding. Very dense and eggy but good as a snack. If you are looking for a healthy option for a baby, these are a good choice though not really a “cupcake”.

Sarah

Do you have a favorite healthy birthday cake recipe? Like the kind that people who don’t like healthy cakes will like. 😉

    Sarah

    Maybe even one from one of your cookbooks (I own them all!)? I was just wondering which one is your favorite, i.e., what would be most memorable to serve at a birthday party? Thanks so much! I love your site and I’ve bought your book for several friends as gifts.

    Megan Gilmore

    Everyone’s favorite cake seems to be the one from my second cookbook, No Excuses Detox. That one tastes like a REAL chocolate cake!

Yolanda

These were amazing!! THank you for sharing this!

Lauren

Could you use less maple syrup? I wanted to reduce the sugar. If it is needed for moisture could I add coconut milk if I reduced the maple syrup some??

    Megan Gilmore

    I think you could use slightly less without affecting the texture too much, but if you want to reduce it by half or more you’ll need to do a lot of experimenting. I think I tried it with applesauce to replace some of it, and I didn’t like the texture nearly as much. Coconut milk might be a good idea!

Christine.

Hello!
My baby has an egg allergy. could you sub with flax egg?

Nichole

My son just had his first birthday and I made these for everyone. They were great! My son ate all of his which shocked me because he never had food like that before. He was a cute mess. And because this recipe was healthy, we didn’t have to deal with crabby children afterward! I will be making these again. Thanks so much for all your awesome recipes!

Chris

Made these for my sons first birthday. They turned out great! I did add some vanilla to my second batch and we liked them even more. Thanks so much for your help Megan!

Lisa jackson

Can’t wait to make these for our son’s first birthday this weekend!

Indy

Thank you- this is amazing- but I was wondering- could I make this into a sliceable cake? And is there any way that I could add a different fruit purée for different flavours? Thanks!

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I’m sure you can! Cakes usually take 30 to 40 minutes in the oven, so I would just check on the center to make sure it doesn’t jiggle at all before taking it out. Feel free to experiment with other purees, too! (And come back here and let me know what you try, please!)

michelle

Has anyone ever used purée silken tofu or any tofu in place of the eggs for a vegan version? I’m wondering if it could work?

Sarah

I made these a year ago for my son’s first birthday party (they were a hit), and I’ll be making them again for his “birthday breakfast treat” this year for his second birthday. For his party last year I just made regular organic dairy whipped cream as an optional topping.

dana

Has anyone made this into a little cake? Looking to make a smash cake for my LO and wondering if the recipe would work in a cake form. Thanks so much!

Jp

I made these today and they were better than I thought. A tad bland though and I think that when a tiny pinch of salt could help enhance the flavor. Either way, better than expected, easy and quite tasty.

Michele

Recipe looks good, but this is not nut free because coconuts ARE tree nuts. Anyone with a tree nut allergy would not be able to eat these yummy looking cupcakes.

    Megan Gilmore

    I have friends who are allergic to almonds but can have coconut, so a “tree nut allergy” is a pretty broad term. The FDA lumps coconut into the tree nut category to be on the safe side, especially with potential cross-contamination that can happen during processing, but the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 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.” But clearly someone who is allergic to coconut should avoid this recipe and look for an alternative!

Jane H

Love this recipe and would like to modify it for an 8″ cake. Is it adjustable?

    Megan Gilmore

    I would think so! I usually start checking on cakes around the 45 minute mark, but it could take up to 60 minutes to become firm in the middle.

Tanya

Can I make this in a 4” cake pan? How long would I need to bake it?

    Tanya

    I made it in two 4” pans, it took about 40 minutes in the oven. I substituted coconut nectar this time as this will be her first time eating cake/sugar of any kind. Turned out great!! I’ll post a pic when I’ve frosted it with your mason jar whipped cream.
    Thank you for a great recipe!

JP

Hi there! Is it okay to half the recipe to just make 6?

Toni Neville

AAAAAMMMMAAAAAZZZZZIIINNNGGGG! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I made these for my son’s 1st birthday. He absolutely loved them, as did the rest of us! I now bake them in addition with others for the holidays.

Jessie

I found and made these last year for my daughter’s 1st birthday 🥳 party and they were a hit!!! I topped them with a traditional cream cheese frosting🧁 Yumm-o!!! I’m anticipating making them again this year for her 2nd birthday🎂 Thank you for this healthier alternative cupcake recipe—I hadn’t planned on doing the whole smash cake thing, her little cupcake was perfect👌🏼

Jessie

Hi! Can I double this recipe?

Made these last year for my daughter’s first birthday🥳 and they were a hit! They’re soooooo delicious and on the healthy side❤️Making again this year for her 2nd birthday🎂

sue

These were so delicious. They were moist with just enough sweetness. I loved that they could be made in one bowl too. I would definitely make them again.

Nechama

seriously love ALL of your recipes! just when I think it can’t get any better, I try another one and it’s unbelievable! haven’t tried this one yet but am doing my research for my baby’s first birthday and came across this recipe. I was wondering – could this be made as a cake instead of cupcakes?

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