Party Treats! Spiced Apple Cupcakes (gluten, grain, nut, and dairy free) & Gooey Black Bean Brownies (vegan & gluten fee)

Whenever I'm baking for a party, I like to prepare food to cater for all tastes and dietary restrictions, so its fantastic when you stumble across recipes that taste this delicious. I have made each of these recipes on numerous occasions, and they always get comments! People often can't get over what's in them, or rather, what's not.....

Spiced apple cupcakes. (Adapted from Gutsy by Nature)


This recipe is gluten, grain, diary and nut free, and perfect for those who love the taste of apples and cinnamon. For those who have not baked with coconut flour before, don't be fooled by the liquid to dry ingredient ratio. Coconut flour absorbs an enormous amount of fluid and can be very dry if the balance is out, so if your cake mixture is super runny, you're on the right track. These little cakes can be made with coconut cream icing as shown in the picture, or when nuts are not an issue, they can also be topped with orange cashew cream which tastes amazing. Both alternatives are outlined below.  



1/2 cup apple sauce

1/3 cup honey 

4 large eggs

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 pinch sea salt

1-2 tsp cinnamon 

1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2-1 tsp cardamom 

(Spices can be added to taste really. I love mine with lots of flavor so tend to add quite a bit of each).

Coconut icing


1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup honey

1 pinch sea salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder

2 tbsp arrowroot powder

1 tbsp water

1 cup melted coconut oil


Orange Cashew Cream


3/4 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight then drained and rinsed)

1 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice

1 tbsp water or nut milk of choice

 The zest of 1/2 - 1 orange grated finely

1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder

Spices may also be added for extra flavor



Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and line or prepare a muffin/cupcake tin. I make mine in a mini cupcake tin.

Using a whisk or an electric mixture, blend well the applesauce, eggs, and honey until smooth.

In a separate bowl sift together all dry ingredients ensuring there are no lumps. Once ready, mix the dry and wet ingredients together until well combined.

Fill cupcake liners or tins until they are 3/4 filled. Place in the oven for approximately 35 mins or until the top has browned. Use a skewer to check if they are cooked through.

Leave to cool.

Meanwhile you can start preparing your topping.

For the coconut icing......

In a medium saucepan heat gently the coconut milk, honey, salt and vanilla, simmer for 10 mins.

In a bowl, combine arrowroot and water. Keep working it together until it forms a thick paste, then add it to the saucepan and wisk vigorously as you bring it to the boil.

Remove from heat and slowly add the melted coconut oil while mixing with either an electric hand blender or by hand. 

Allow the entire mixture to cool a little then place the pan in the fridge to chill. It should turn white. The mixture will appear gelatinous and semi-solid. Take out of the fridge and using a hand blender or bar mix, blend until smooth or fluffy. 

It is now ready to ice your cakes. You don't need much as it is quite sweet. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place the cakes back into the fridge until serving them.

For the cashew cream.....

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides and/or add a little more liquid along the way. A lumpy mixture is a sign that the cashew were not soaked for long enough so I can't stress how important this step is. Be persistent with blending the mixture before adding too much extra liquid as it can take a little while.

You might like to sprinkle a little spice or orange zest on top to serve.


Gooey black bean brownies (Adapted from the Minimalist Baker)


These little guys are so tasty, people can't believe it when you tell them that the main ingredient is black beans! They are gluten free and vegan friendly, and the perfect treat for chocolate lovers.



2 flax eggs (to make these you combine 1 tbsp flax seed meal to 2 1/2 tbsp water per "egg")

1 3/4 can of black beans rinsed thoroughly and drained

3 tbsp melted coconut oil 

3/4 cup cacao powder (or good quality cocoa powder)

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

You can use any topping of your choice. I have used crushed nuts in the picture, but dried fruit, cacao nibs or flaked coconut also work well.



Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and prepare or line a muffin or cupcake tin. If using a mini cupcake tin you will need to shorten your baking time and just keep an eye on them while cooking.

Place flax eggs into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine really well. Leave this to rest for a couple of minutes.

Add all ingredients (besides toppings), and blend until a smooth batter is formed. The consistency should not be too thick nor should it be runny. A little water can be added along the way if it appears to thick.

Divide mixture into the cupcake tin making sure you are relatively generous with each one as they can flatten in the center once baked. Smooth the top with a wet finger and sprinkle toppings of your choice on top. 

Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 mins keeping an eye on them. The top should be crispy but the inside should remain slightly gooey. 

Take out of the oven and allow to cool before removing from the tin as they will be delicate. Use a knife or fork to help ease them out of their casing without breaking.

Store in the fridge. They will firm up once cooled so don't worry if they seem really soft.  


It is important to note that while these recipes offer you a healthier option when it comes to baking, they still contain sweeteners and ingredients which should, like all things, be eaten in moderation. This is another benefit to baking MINI sized cakes, helping reduce portion size whilst still providing a satisfying treat!