Feeding Babies Occasional Treats

The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake :: Grain, Nut, Egg, & Refined Sugar Free

August 18, 2014

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The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake! Grain, Egg, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
One year ago this sweet babe came flying (literally!) into this world and has absolutely stolen our hearts. She has made our family complete in ways we never knew possible, and it has been such a joy to watch her grow this year!

The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake! Grain, Egg, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
I am, admittedly, having a bit of an emotional week thinking about the last year and her turning one – I think I have done this with all the girls now. There is just something so nostalgic about that first year that seems to sleeplessly move along, and yet every time I would do it all over again.

I am really looking forward to seeing Caitlyn grow in the next year, and this is just such a super fun age – she is literally into everything and it is all such a new discovery!

So let’s talk first birthday goodies!

The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake! Grain, Egg, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
My goal for a first birthday cupcake is always grain and nut free since it is recommended to keep babies from grains and nuts until after they turn one. This was not too difficult with my first two babies since the main nut free flour that is not a grain is coconut flour, and coconut flour works very well with eggs to create a great texture and rise for cake.

This year I threw the wrench in of wanting to make it egg free since we have severe egg allergies now in our extended family. I also decided I wanted to make them refined sugar free – such lofty goals!

The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake! Grain, Egg, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
After experiments 1 and 2 I got the right ratios, and I am really pleased with the texture and taste of these cupcakes! I am not a fan of dry, crumbly grain free baked goods – these are perfectly soft and moist. And between a bit of applesauce and a few splashes of maple syrup, the taste is wonderfully sweet without the refined sugar – I even thought the sweet could have been backed off a bit! I was prepared for them to taste like apple, but I was pleasantly surprised that the vanilla extract really shines through and makes it taste like a vanilla cupcake.

The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake! Grain, Egg, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free
I originally planned on just making a simple real whipped cream topping for the cupcakes since I wanted to stay away from refined sugar. Buttercream frostings are mostly powdered sugar, but I was able to create the taste and texture of real buttercream frosting with a just a few simple, real ingredients. Will she probably have some organic pure cane sugar at some point in the next year? Probably. But at this age it just isn’t necessary, and everyone enjoyed the cupcakes – yes she ate the whole thing!

The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake! Grain, Egg, Nut, & Refined Sugar Free

Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

The Perfect 1st Birthday Cupcake

Moist without eggs, and perfectly sweetened so that the vanilla flavor really shines through.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: egg-free vanilla cupcakes, grain-free vanilla cupcakes, maple buttercream frosting
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: Renee - www.raisinggenerationnourished.com



  • ½ cup olive oil Butter or coconut oil would work although coconut oil might change the flavor
  • 1 cup whole organic cream If you are dairy free use coconut milk
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 TB apple cider vinegar DON’T leave this out – I know it is a strange ingredient and I promise you won’t taste it! It reacts with the baking soda to create the rise!
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 2 cups tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup Great Lakes cold soluble gelatin the green container – see Tips section for where to get this – this helps with the bind since we aren’t using eggs!
  • 1 TB baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt



  • For the cupcakes, literally dump it all in and blend with hand beaters!
  • Scoop the batter into silicone muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Check them around the 25 minute mark in case our ovens run differently.
  • For the frosting you can put everything into a small mixing bowl and beat with handbeaters until smooth. If you want a thinner frosting you can use less tapioca flour.


  • This made 2 dozen cupcakes. I did end up doing 2 batches of the frosting since I piped on the frosting and that takes up more – if you plan to just spread the frosting with a knife I think this amount would be perfect.
  • Here is a safe source of coconut milk if you are dairy free and need to replace the cream.
  • This is the Great Lakes cold soluable gelatin. It helps bind without the egg.
  • Here is the coconut flour I like to use – it is less clumpy. And this is what the tapioca flour looks like.
  • I baked these off a couple days before her party and they were just fine! Make them up ahead of time and then frost them the day of!
  • I am just in love with silicone muffin cups! They not only help with clean up, but I have taken the same batter of the same batch and done part in silicone muffin cups and part in just a greased muffin tin and they come out so differently – for some reason without the silicone muffin cups they just don’t form/rise as pretty. Here are the pretty flower cups I use, and here are some that are just plain colors in case flowers aren’t your thing!
  • If you have an older little one that can handle a few simple gluten free grains ok you could try my chocolate cake or strawberry cake too! These are also egg and nut free!
  • Baby Caitlyn also enjoyed a few baby spoonfulls of this refined sugar free maple vanilla ice cream too! Super simple!

Please keep me posted if you try the cupcakes for your little one! I would love to see pictures!

This post was shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays!


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  • Reply Jessica August 18, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    She is a doll! And I can’t wait to try this recipe out. 🙂

    • Reply Renee Kohley August 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Thank you Jessica 🙂 And they made a really great breakfast the next morning so definitely give it a try! Ha!

  • Reply Raia August 19, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    These sound delicious! I love all the applesauce in them! Definitely pinning them to try…

    • Reply Renee Kohley August 19, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Thank you Raia! Let me know how the family likes them!

  • Reply Susanne Runion August 19, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, these look incredible. I really want to try them, and you have such a cute baby!

  • Reply Chloe August 20, 2014 at 9:59 am

    1-year-olds, whatever. I’m going to make these for myself! They look amazing!

  • Reply Andrea Fabry August 21, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Fantastic photos and recipe. I love silicone molds too.

  • Reply Jennifer Margulis August 21, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    5 stars
    A first birthday is so bitter sweet. Huge congratulations.

  • Reply linda spiker August 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Adorable baby, adorable cupcakes:)

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  • Reply Michelle October 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to create a great allergen friendly cupcake. We treat our son’s Crohn’s disease now with diet and since he just had a flare up, we are back to cutting out dairy, grains, eggs and sugar for a while – but it’s his birthday! He can’t wait to try this cupcake next week.

    • Reply Renee Kohley October 30, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Hi Michelle! Man that totally makes my day to hear that 😉 I hope he enjoys his birthday! That is so great 🙂

  • Reply Laura November 19, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    HI there,
    I’m so thankful to have found your website as I have been searching for a recipe for my sons first birthday cake. I was just wondering, have you ever made a whole cake instead of cupcakes? Do you think it would taste the same with the same consistency?

    Thank you for your efforts in making this recipe. =)

    • Reply Renee Kohley November 20, 2014 at 6:14 am

      Hi Laura! Thank you for your kind words 🙂 I think part of the reason I did cupcakes is that I am pretty sure with the moisture in the cake that this thing might sink as a whole cake 😉 Grain free is so hard in that way. You might take out a little of the applesauce and see what it does. I think maybe if you were wanting to do a small “smash cake” it might work though 🙂 I hope that helps! Happy birthday to your son!

      • Reply Laur November 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm

        Great! That makes sense. I just wanted a smash cake so maybe I’ll do a giant cupcake.;) thank you for your help.:)

  • Reply Jennifer Culler February 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Renee!!!
    I was so depressed because next weekend is my birthday and my little nephew (4 yrs) is already begging to make cupcakes. One tiny problem– I’m on my Autoimmune Paleo reset….so of course I was going to make cupcakes with him but then have to watch the whole family eat them. SO EXCITED because now I won’t have to be sad watching them eat cupcakes for my birthday!!! THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!

    I only had one question about the cake/frosting. You say in the cake to use coconut milk but coconut cream in the frosting. (I’m very new to this so please forgive my ignorance!) Could you use coconut cream in both? And where do you buy coconut cream? Thank you again! 🙂

    • Reply Renee Kohley February 16, 2015 at 7:55 pm

      Hey Jennifer 🙂 Ah! That makes my day! I hope you enjoy the birthday – I totally get that and have absolutely been there before!

      Ok so coconut milk is just like regular milk in consistency and coconut cream is just the cream from the top of the coconut milk. So you have a couple options on the frosting. You can buy coconut milk, let the cream settle to the top of the can in the fridge and scoop it off to make the frosting, or you can buy coconut butter and that should work too when you whip it up. Any health food store will have both coconut milk and coconut cream (sometimes the coconut cream is call coconut manna). Let me know if that is clear as mud?!

      • Reply Jennifer February 19, 2015 at 11:36 pm

        Totally clear! I had to check a couple stores but I found the cream! So excited to make it this weekend. I’m pairing a cupcake with paleo salted caramel ice cream recipe from Pinterest. (yeah I’m being very bad but I’ve been so very good and birthdays only happen once a year right?) Thanks so much!

        • Reply Renee Kohley February 20, 2015 at 11:48 am

          That’s awesome – and sounds great 🙂

  • Reply April February 25, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Hi Renée! I’m so excited to have found this recipe. My son’s birthday is next week. I just had a question about eggs. I’m not concerned about an egg allergy and wondered if I could use eggs instead of the gelatin.and if so, how much, or what would that change? Thanks so much!

    • Reply Renee Kohley February 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Hi April! Gelatin is usually about 1TB per egg – so I would do 4 eggs – you will get a lighter/better rise too using eggs 😉 Hope that helps!

  • Reply Tara March 30, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Have you by any chance tried making these in unbleached muffin cups instead of silicone muffin cups? I have the unbleached muffin liners and would prefer to use what I already have, if they’ll work. I believe they are actually coated with silicone, as is unbleached parchment paper.

    • Reply Renee Kohley March 30, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Tara! I think the unbleached muffin cups will work fine 🙂

  • Reply Lisa April 6, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Is it possible to use the red can gelatin made by Great Lakes? The green can is so expensive!

    • Reply Renee Kohley April 7, 2015 at 6:28 am

      Hi Lisa! I have not tried it with the red can – you would want to “activate” the gelatin before putting it into the cupcakes I think. So take some of the liquid in the recipe and warm it up then stir in the gelatin – the red can gelatin only works with warm liquid. You can let it sit and “gel” a bit before putting it into the recipe. Hope that helps!

  • Reply Brittanie April 18, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Renee! After THREE cake recipes on the eve of my little babe’s first birthday, I stumbled on this recipe for the frosting and want to try it out! BUT, I have every flour on the planet….. but tapioca flour. LOL. Will coconut, almond or oat flour work you think?

    • Reply Renee Kohley April 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      HI Brittanie! The tapioca flour gives a softer texture which is why it is nice in gluten free baking – it gives it a “gluten-y” texture you are missing with gluten free flours. I think almond or oat flour would work but you will just not have as soft of a texture. I would not use more coconut flour – it will be too dry 🙂 Hope that helps – happy birthday to your little one!

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    Do you think you could use Vital Proteins instead of Great Lakes?

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    Do you know which container is use – the blue or the green? (Kinda new to all this. /:)

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      Hi Cierra! The green one!

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        Thanks so much! I’ll be making them tomorrow for my boyfriend’s birthday. 🙂

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    have you tried this recipe in a layer cake ? Wondering if it can stack well – we are doing a cake smash shoot next week !

    • Reply Renee Kohley June 12, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      Hi Brianna! I haven’t tried it but I’m sure it would be fine. It won’t have a super tall rise – so if you want it to be bigger you might want to use a smaller cake pan 🙂

  • Reply Marie August 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    I really want to try this recipe! I can’t eat maple syrup. Do you think that I could sub honey instead? My little one turns one year old in 3 weeks! That picture you shared of your baby eating her cupcake is adorable!

    • Reply Renee Kohley August 28, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Marie! Yes for sure! It is recommended that babies under one not consume honey because of possible Botulism containment but I give my babies that are 1 and over raw honey for sure. Enjoy it!

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    Hi Renee,

    This recipe is perfect for my little one, who happens to be allergic to everything, including beef. This rules out the gelatin for us but I found that Agar is a good replacement. I read that Agar is much stronger than gelatin – would I use the same about of Agar as gelatin in this recipe? Thank you for your help!!

    • Reply Renee Kohley November 9, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      Hi Angel! Gosh I’m really not sure as I have not worked with agar as an ingredient at all. I think you have the right idea though – I think it behaves a lot like xanthan gum so yes it is a bit stronger – I would start with about a quarter of the amount and see what the dough feels like to you.

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  • Reply Stacie July 25, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    5 stars
    Made these tonight for my husband’s 38th b-day. He has no restrictions but my son and I do and I wanted a treat we could all enjoy together. I made these and topped them with Elena’s Pantry paleo chocolate frosting and they were delicious! Thank you for the great recipe. 🙂

  • Reply Katie October 1, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Would arrowroot work imstead of the tapioca for the frosting?

  • Reply Carrie November 12, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Hi I made these but they turned out pretty “gummy”. Could I reduce something to make it less so? I used coconut oil and coconut milk as subs. Maybe it was too wet?

    • Reply Renee Kohley November 14, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      Hi Carrie! It could be from those subs put together – I haven’t made them with both and I think butter tends to yield lighter baked goods than coconut oil. I would definitely try to use less next time – also they might have needed a little extra cooktime maybe?

  • Reply Erin January 7, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Has anyone tried freezing the 1st birthday cupcakes?

  • Reply Alyssa March 28, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    5 stars
    THESE WERE LITERALLY THE BEST MUFFINS I HAVE EVER HAD BEING AUTOIMMUNE PALEO!!!!! I do not have the green gelatin, so instead I just used the red can by making two gelatin eggs (2 TBS gelatin, 2 TBS room temperature water, 4 TBS boiling water) and they came out SO amazing! The texture is exactly life a moist, fluffy, thick, springy muffin and I absolutely LOVED IT. The use of flour was a lot more than usual, but since it makes 24 cupcakes, it was TOTALLY worth it. I used normal paper liners, so if you try to eat them fresh out of the oven, they stick to the liner, but if you let them sit in the fridge overnight, it comes off PERFECTLY. I thought this recipe was so brilliant, and I am going to make a variation of it as carrot cake instead. I used olive oil and coconut cream to make it AIP friendly. I WILL be making this again! All my family loved it and I eat them topped with Sunflower Seed Butter and Blueberry Jam. Thank you so much! My whole cake life has been changed by this revelation!

    • Reply Renee Kohley March 29, 2017 at 9:18 am

      Hi Alyssa! Gosh that absolutely makes my day! I have been full AIP before and it is SO tough to find reliable recipes! I’m so glad this is going to be a staple for your to fall back on so you can relax and just eat some food <3 I have definitely been there!

  • Reply Christina Lindholm April 13, 2017 at 11:28 pm

    I’d really love to make this as a birthday cake! Any advice on how to adjust the baking time?

    • Reply Renee Kohley April 15, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      Hi Christina! I think I would still check it around the 30 minute mark and decide from there if it will need an extra 10 minutes or so!

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  • Reply Christy Hales October 3, 2017 at 1:02 am

    5 stars
    Hi! We are not egg free here, and I am not familiar with baking with gelatin. Do you know what the egg sub would be?? Or if it would work? I can’t wait to make these! Also, I saw where they are so moist, that you thought they may cave in cake form. What do you think about mini pound cakes??

    • Reply Renee Kohley October 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Hi Christy! I think mini pound cakes would work great! So 1 tbsp of gelatin makes 1 “egg” – so I would use 3-4 eggs in this recipe 🙂

  • Reply Michelle February 17, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    I made the frosting but I can taste the powdery tapioca flour, did I add too much?

  • Reply Jennifer August 27, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    5 stars
    I made these for a kids party yesterday and they were a hit! I ran out of applesauce so I did one cup of applesauce and one banana and they were DELICIOUS banana cupcakes!

    Great recipe!

    • Reply Renee Kohley September 4, 2019 at 11:53 am

      That’s awesome Jennifer! Thank you for sharing!

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  • Reply Michelle February 14, 2020 at 4:35 pm

    How many cupcakes does this recipe make? 12 or 24?

  • Reply Elyse July 3, 2020 at 9:54 am

    can these be frozen and thawed later to eat? Or would it mess up the texture.

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