Recipes Treats

Apple Cardamom Cupcakes (Grain Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free)

apple cardamom cupcakes 2

These beauties were originally intended to be apple spice muffins and just a way to use up a partial jar of homemade applesauce that had been in the refrigerator longer than it should have, but they turned out so delicious and moist that I decided they really had to be called cupcakes! The cardamom was a last minute addition and I’m so glad I decided to throw it in because the distinct flavor really makes them them sing.

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The cupcakes themselves have actually been baked and hanging out in the freezer for several weeks now while I worked on a dairy free frosting recipe that tasted good enough to be the icing on such tasty cupcakes. My earlier attempts at a coconut cream frosting (described here in my recipe post for naturally red velvet cupcakes) tasted pretty good but had a weird texture, so I was very focused on getting that right this time. I’m still keeping nuts out of my diet, so I decided to stick with coconut milk as the base, so I was intrigued by this recipe from Elana’s Pantry for vegan coconut cream frosting. I made a few changes however, including swapping out the agave nectar for honey (read this post from Real Food Forager on why agave nectar is not a great idea), reducing the amount of coconut oil, and adding some vanilla for flavor.

It was a pretty involved process and took the better part of an afternoon to complete, but completely worth it. As a bonus, the recipe makes about twice what you need for the cupcakes, so I have a large jar leftover in the refrigerator waiting to be slathered on top of whatever goodie I make next!

Notes on ingredients

Make sure you buy coconut milk that does not have added stabilizers and comes in a BPA free can.

Coconut flour can be found in most health food stores, but my new favorite source for all things paleo is the beautiful website Barefoot Provisions. They carry an organic coconut flour that is the best I’ve ever tasted! Click here or on the image below to learn more.

Notes for healing diets

Unfortunately this recipe is neither AIP compliant (because of the eggs) nor low-FODMAP (due to the apples). Arrowroot powder is a starch that is not SCD/GAPS legal, so the frosting is not acceptable on those diets, but the cupcake itself is perfectly legal.

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Apple Cardamom Cupcakes (Grain Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free)

  • Author: Jaime Hartman
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 10-12 1x


Moist and delicious apple spice cupcakes that you’d never guess are grain and dairy free.


  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • For frosting:
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin/cupcake pan with liners.
  2. Using an electric mixer or by hand, combine applesauce, honey, and eggs until smooth.
  3. Sift together all dry ingredients, making sure to get out any lumps in the coconut flour.
  4. Combine dry and wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly.
  5. Divide batter amongst 10-12 cupcake liners, filling each one about 2/3 of the way up.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Meanwhile, begin making frosting. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, honey, salt, and vanilla and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl or ramekin, combine arrowroot powder and water to form a thick paste.
  9. Add arrowroot mixture to pan, whisk vigorously, and bring to a boil.
  10. Remove pan from heat and very slowly add melted coconut oil while mixing with an electric hand blender.
  11. Allow pan to cool slightly, then place whole thing in refrigerator for at least an hour or until it is cool and has turned white.
  12. Remove from refrigerator and use electric hand blender to whip until fluffy.
  13. Spread a dollop on each cupcakes (this frosting is quite sweet, so you don’t need a lot but let your tastes be the guide!).
  14. Sprinkle with cinnamon for garnish.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Category: dessert


apple cardamom cupcakes

This post shared on Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday, Easy Green Mama’s Gluten Free Tuesday, Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday, Holistic Squid’s Party Wave Wednesday, Cultured Palate’s Tasty Traditions, My Humble Kitchen’s Simple Lives Thursday, Peeling Back the Onion Layer’s Healing with Food Friday, Gluten Free Fridays.

For more great paleo-friendly cupcake recipes, check out this collection from Life Made Full.

Ready Set AIP - Your on ramp to the Autoimmune Protocol lifestyle

5 replies on “Apple Cardamom Cupcakes (Grain Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free)”

The flavors are great! My icing came out like gooey slime though! I’m not new to paleo baking, I can’t figure out what could I have done wrong?!

[…] Apple Cardamon Cupcakes from Gutsy by Nature […]

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