Paleo Purely Chocolate Cupcakes, Egg and Multiple Food Allergen Free!

cc2Do you remember Hostess cupcakes, Suzy Q’s, Sno Balls, Ding Dongs, and Ho Hos? Drake’s Yodels or Devil Dogs? Or Little Debbie Swiss Rolls? So many versions of the same thing! I didn’t grow up with these stocked in my kitchen, but they were a secret indulgence when I was out with friends.  There was no quicker way to get a sugar and/or chocolate buzz, other than drinking soda, or downing candy bars.

Thankfully, all of those things were rare treats back then. After college, I had all but forgotten about them, until my severely food allergic daughter needed an alternative to the many sweet treats that were sent in to school for birthday parties. I am ashamed to admit that while I often baked homemade cookies and brownies for my own children’s school parties (which were loaded with other common allergens and sugar, which I had yet to realize was a problem),  I would send in prepackaged alternatives for the teacher to keep in hand for the many times when other parents sent in party desserts. Store bought cookies like Oreos and Chips Ahoy, and yes, I confess, Hostess cupcakes, were some of the things I would send in multiple packages of for use throughout the year.

If your child has severe food allergies, you know that parties are a huge challenge for families. Common food allergens usually take center stage. Pizza, cake, and ice cream are often the rule, and not the exception. And even when those things aren’t on the menu, you can’t be sure other items do not contain trace amounts of the allergen in question, unless you read the food label yourself. Candy and baked goods are often the worst offenders. That’s why it’s not unusual for parents of food allergic eaters to focus so much on making sure there are no traces of a certain allergen (which is the number one priority), that they do not concern themselves with other ingredients – allergens, toxins, food additives and colorings, that could be contributing to other, seemingly unrelated health issues that their child is facing as well.

I thought I was way ahead of the pack, only giving my children processed foods occasionally, and baking with whole wheat and organic milk products. I was wrong. Once your child has one food sensitivity, it’s wise not to throw all caution to the wind when it comes to consuming other common allergens (wheat and dairy often being the worst offenders) and additives as well. Once the immune system is compromised (over 70% of which is housed in the digestive system), it’s like a can of worms has been opened. Common food allergens and toxins feed them, so the only way to keep them from multiplying is to reevaluate and clean up your diet and lifestyle choices. Do pediatricians and allergists share such information with their patients these days? Have things changed at all? I suspect that it’s more common, but still the exception to the rule. Please feel free to share your experience in the comments section.

I’ve gone way off track, but before I share the Paleo cupcake recipe (which is free of most common allergens, except of course, chocolate, which is technically not in the top 8), I just want to reiterate that like most parents, I have made mistakes. Even the most well intentioned ones do, since there is a plethora of conflicting misinformation out there.  The only way to sort through it is really by avid reading and picky eating, which includes a lot of trial and error, and a willingness to experiment in the kitchen. No diet can work for everyone, since no two people have exactly the same family history, exposure/reaction to/buildup of toxins,  or health status.  Furthermore, even families living in the same household do not make the same diet and lifestyle choices. We are unique individuals, and that’s why one-size-fits-all approaches rarely work.

Back to the Paleo cupcakes. Obviously, they’re not really Paleo, as hunters and gatherers didn’t bake, but I doubt they had birthday parties either. And if they did, I’m sure they were not celebrated anything like they are today! So, for all you modern day food sensitive eaters (whether you tend to eat the Paleo way or not), here is a sweet treat that I hope you and your family are able to enjoy for special occasions for years to come.

The batter tastes like a thicker, more chocolatey version of mousse/pudding, and can be eaten right out of the food processor, if you wish. Gotta love a good cake batter, right? Also, the cupcakes can be eaten warm right out of the oven, and remind me of a warm, flourless chocolate cake we used to order at our favorite French restaurant. So moist inside! Or, ice and refrigerate or freeze them for later use. Individually wrap them and take them out of the freezer whenever your child attends a party, if you like.

To be the allergen free Hostess with the “mostest,” you need a few good, go-to recipes that you can rely on for special occasions.  Move over, Drake and Little Debbie! I haven’t been able to find your product ingredients online, but I know they include items that every parent wants to keep their child away from. So, I hope the following recipe proves to be the tasty alternative you’ve been looking for. Please note that it was adapted from Elana Amsterdam’s recipe for Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes, which contains eggs.

Paleo Purely Chocolate Cupcakes, Egg and Multiple Food Allergen Free!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 8 cupcakes

Paleo Purely Chocolate Cupcakes are free of the top 8 food allergens (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, and Brazil nuts), fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat), as well as gluten, grains, and refined sugar.

As always, please check individual ingredients for cross contamination of any of the above allergens. Sometimes, even trace amounts on shared equipment can cause reactions in highly sensitive individuals.

Recipe © 2013 Transformed By Food


  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 small, very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw, unsalted macadamia nuts, chopped (optional, for those without tree nut allergies)
  • Paleo Chocolate Icing (see recipe below), or plain coconut butter (softened)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place first four (dry) ingredients in food processor. Pulse until combined.
  3. Peel bananas and add them, along with all other ingredients. Process until a thick batter forms.
  4. Taste a spoonful and try it as a mousse/pudding alternative, Add nuts, if you wish.
  5. Place baking cups in muffin pan, and spoon in batter. You can pretty much fill them, as they won't rise too much. You should be able to fill about 8 cups.
  6. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. It's okay if a fork does not come completely clean when testing for doneness. They will be moist inside, but will solidify in the refrigerator.

I will be seeking out the above mentioned products in grocery stores over the next week, and will have something to say about them on my Facebook page, for sure! Since Hostess  went out of business, and then was acquired by Little Debbie and other companies, I’m curious as to how the ingredient lists have been modified to save money and generate a profit. Quality isn’t exactly on the menu of most food manufacturers these days.

Without even looking at the labels, though, I can safely say that prepackaged cakes and yes, cake mixes, are the worst choices we could make for our families. Better choices include anything that’s homemade, using real, pure ingredients. And of course, the best choices are the recipes that focus upon using real, minimally  processed ingredients that are free of common food allergens, food additives and colorings, pesticides and other chemicals, and refined sugars.

Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make really pure food taste great. All you need is the motivation to do so, and a willingness to experiment a bit. That’s what I did to come up with the following recipe for Paleo Chocolate Icing. It completes the cupcake.

Paleo Chocolate Icing


  • 1/2 cup coconut butter (softened and stirred)
  • 2 T cocoa powder
  • 2 T coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 T honey
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract


  1. Place all ingredients in small bowl or food processor. Mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. Spread on cooled cupcakes.

Some people just don’t understand the whole concept of food sensitivities, and why some refuse to eat processed food on a regular basis.  Instead of trying to learn through the example of others, many of them tend to judge.  Over the years, I’ve come to realize that the best way to avoid negative vibes surrounding your food choices is to share your favorites. It’s better to wow them with taste than defend a way of eating that many people just aren’t willing or able to understand.

Here’s an example:

For Thanksgiving, I made my Chocolate Coconut Truffles, some coated with chopped macadamia nuts instead of coconut, and plain dark chocolate macadamia cups as well. They were a big hit with my step father, who refuses to believe that coconut oil is healthy because it contains saturated fat. Since he didn’t know they contained the oil, he simply enjoyed them without questioning the ingredients, and even brought some home!

For someone who eats Snickers candy bars on a regular basis, the switch was a huge step up. Of course, I can’t make them all the time for him, but I was happy that I was able to sneak in a healthier choice without sparking controversy. Someday, I will tell him what’s in them, but for now, it’s so much more peaceful to keep it to myself and feel good about helping someone who refuses to help himself.

Meanwhile, that jar of coconut oil I gave my mother and him just sits in their cabinet. I can’t worry about it, though. It’s hard to teach those who are set in their ways to reexamine their food choices. All we can really do is lead by example, and little by little, healthier alternatives will sink in.

The truth is, none of us can make perfect choices all the time. We all have to do the best we can with the information and resources we have.  Sometimes, we have to give ourselves a little leeway, especially around the holidays, which can be especially stressful.

Have a happy, healthy day! I hope your holiday season has gotten off to a wonderful start.

Please note that this post has been shared with the Natural Living MondaySlightly Indulgent Tuesday, Gluten Free Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Fat Tuesday, and Allergy Free Wednesday blog carnivals.



About Dawn

As a Certified Health Coach, I provide motivated individuals with the resources, tools, support and encouragement they need to make the gradual changes in food and lifestyle that could completely transform their lives. Contact me.

20 Responses to Paleo Purely Chocolate Cupcakes, Egg and Multiple Food Allergen Free!

  1. GiGi Eats Celebrities
    December 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    I really love that more and more baked recipes I am seeing are not using eggs or dairy! I cannot eat either, so this is phenomenal! The other day, I mixed protein powder (Sun Warrior) with pureed pumpkin and baked it, and it worked! Phenomenal! 🙂
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…Evil Weight Gain Doesn’t Stand a Chance!My Profile

    • Dawn December 8, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

      I agree, Gigi! It’s not easy to live with food restrictions, especially when it’s a food that’s in so many things. That’s a great idea about the protein powder. I’ve been meaning to try adding grass fed gelatin (high in collagen and amino acids) to baked goods as well. It’s fun to experiment!

      I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season so far. Have a happy, healthy week!
      Dawn recently posted…Deliciously Simple Paleo ApplesauceMy Profile

  2. Jennifer Kimberley December 11, 2013 at 4:49 am #

    They look good. I’m gonna try to do the recipe tomorrow.

    • Dawn December 11, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Thanks, Jennifer! Actually, my daughter said my photo really didn’t do them justice. I think you’ll find that they taste much better than they look, or at least I hope so! I don’t worry about making my pics look professional, because homemade food rarely looks as pretty as store, restaurant, or bakery items do, and usually tastes so much better. Have a happy, healthy day, and a joyous holiday season!
      Dawn recently posted…Bad, Better, Best: Halloween Candy Without the Junk, Part 2My Profile

  3. Forex Signals August 31, 2014 at 1:07 am #

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  4. Christine September 5, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    I tried these this evening and the banana flavour completely overpowered the chocolate – is there anything I could substitute them for?

    • Dawn September 29, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

      Sorry for the delayed response, Christine. Yes, you can use pumpkin puree. The banana might have been too big and that’s why. You could use a little less with pumpkin, or just pumpkin. Let me know how it goes.
      Dawn recently posted…Gluten Free, Egg Free Lamb Meatballs, with a Kick!My Profile

  5. Mistral May 29, 2016 at 12:56 am #

    Hi Dawn,

    You reached into touch the bottom of my heart and passion to be a better Mama for my child who has most of the allergens you mention above. Seriously from soy, dairy gluten, eggs, tuna, and more. I too have to seperate bake for all occasions, be creative and experience many failed recipe attempts, to discover more ideas along the way. I constantly have to reassure my daughter that those other foods are so bad for you and truthfully contain chemicals, she understands better now apart experiencing her reactions to them. Oh and just in the last year I have educated myself on the gut and flora info and in my experience all past specialists have never guided us to that health area (i do now have a great holistic Dr).

    Anyways a huge thank you for tweaking your recipes and sharing them, i feel a huge burden lifted from chest, knowing my daughter is not alone in her healthy eating life and i am not alone in learning to be healthier.

    Love Mistral

    • Dawn May 29, 2016 at 9:46 am #

      Hi Mistral! Thank you for taking the time to leave such a kind and thoughtful comment.

      I’m so sorry your child has so many allergies. It is not easy, I know. But you are a wonderful mom not only cooking special foods from scratch, but because you’re also trying to choose the cleanest food possible. And also educating your daughter about avoiding food additives and other toxins. Believe it or not, many parents do not realize it’s not just the allergens they need to avoid if they want their child to be healthy. So you are doing a wonderful job!

      I am pondering starting a FB group because it is an isolating experience when others don’t understand what it’s like to live with so many food restrictions. Would that interest you? I would love to have you be one of the first participants in the group, if you’re interested. We would be sharing our collective wisdom, as parents of food allergic children have so much to share. Connecting ideas would be wonderful.

      I enjoy tweaking recipes, but some personal matters have kept me from sharing them and updating my blog lately. I’m hoping to catch up over the summer. Glad you are getting something out of the ones I have posted already. Please let me know if there’s one you especially enjoy.

      Have a wonderful day and week! Keep up the great work.

      Peace, joy, and sunshine,

      Dawn recently posted…The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie That Doesn’t Taste Gluten Free (Healthy Too!)My Profile

      • Mistral May 29, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

        Good morning Dawn,
        Enjoyed your reply, thank you. I am still over joyed with finding your web blog. Oh how i share your mission too and I’m so intrigued about all the areas your research is in.

        About the Facebook site, it’s a great idea for those social media personnel who uses it, your website i think is nice, keeps it personal to you and everything in one place. That’s just me, because Facebook has become so full on, maybe it’s a bigger search engine for topics than Google. . No matter what i fully support you and I’m sure many others will too.

        I wish i knew you, would love to pursue you for guidance on becoming a health coach in the caring of guiding others that you do.

        Enjoy your day

        Love Mistral

        • Dawn May 29, 2016 at 10:35 pm #

          Thank you for the kind words about my site, Mistral. And I must say you have a beautiful name!

          I haven’t decided for sure about the FB group anyway. I know it’s not for everyone, and I like to take my tech breaks once in a while as well. As a matter of fact, I’ve been on one for a few weeks now.

          Over the summer, I’d be happy to chat with you a bit about being a health coach. Contact me again in July or August and I will hopefully have time at that point to give you the attention you deserve.

          Have a wonderful transition from spring to summer! It already feels like summer here in NY.

          Dawn recently posted…The My Profile

  6. Krystal Wight Armstrong
    September 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

    These sound really good! I just found your recipe while looking for ways to make cupcakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday.
    They just need to be dairy, grain, egg, and refined sugar free, ha! This fits the bill! …but I was hoping for a cake that was more on the white side so I could mix in strawberry, to make strawberryish cupcakes.
    Do you know of any cupcake recipe that isn’t chocolate, that is without those ingredients?^

    Thank you so much for your help!

    (PS- I loved your philosophy on not tryign to fake magazine-worthy photos! Though I’m also really curious to see what the inside texture of these kind of look like if you had an image to share of what the cake part looks like, since we mostly see that yummy chocolatey frosting in this photo.)

    • Dawn September 20, 2016 at 4:08 pm #

      Thanks, Krystal! Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the inside of the cupcake. Sorry. I will keep that in mind for next time!

      So, I did modify this recipe to make it vanilla a while ago, and jotted down the recipe. But I never posted it. I’m not even sure if I was done tweaking it yet, so forgive me if the consistency isn’t perfect. I will try to make them again soon and post an update here for you, with the final recipe on my site.

      All you have to do is take out the 1/2 cup cacao powder, and use just one medium banana ripe banana instead of two small ones. If you like it with an extra vanilla taste, you can up the vanilla extract to 1 tablespoon. Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon adds a nice flavor too. And if you add in strawberry puree, I would use a smaller banana and a little less applesauce. Or you could just use sliced strawberries on top and make it a strawberry shortcake! Good luck. I hope it comes out how you like.

      If you do make either of them, I’d love to hear how they come out! Thanks again for taking time out to leave a comment. Have a wonderful day! And enjoy your 2 year old. My youngest just went off to college and believe me, the time goes by all too fast!
      Dawn recently posted…The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie That Doesn’t Taste Gluten Free (Healthy Too!)My Profile

    • Krystal Wight Armstrong
      September 29, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

      Yay, thanks so much for your quick help on making these into a strawberry cupcake!
      Can I work through my experiment with you and try to perfect it a little? I’m very new to allergen-free baking, and I think you may know more about the baking principles to make it work.

      I did a test run of a half recipe to make just 4.
      My batter ended up only filling 3 cups, about a 1/4″ below the top of the paper. They taste delicious, and are very sweet. Totally doable as is, but maybe a bit more banana flavor than I hoped. And they are very heavy or dense & wet. A lot like the consistency of slightly grainy cookie dough, as opposed to airy or cakey at all (not that I expected to exactly replicate a real cake texture). Haven’t tried with any frosting yet at all.
      Overall I was very excited about them. Very pretty and tasty, just not quite as cupcakey as I hoped yet.

      Here’s the recipe I just tried:
      1/4 c coconut flour
      1/8 t sea salt
      1/4 t baking soda
      1/2 a medium banana
      1/8 c apple sauce
      1/8 c strawberries (chunky mushed from a mini food processor)
      1/4 c coconut oil
      1/8 c sweetener (I filled it half honey, half maple syrup)

      I’m not sure what kind of applesauce you used. I intend to use my own homemade crockpot applesauce when I make them for her party. But today I used store-bought organic, unsweetened apple sauce, which was heavily pureed and drinkable, very thin/runny, no lumps. Maybe that made it too wet? And maybe my less runny applesauce will help? I’m also considering just adding some more flour next time.

      What do you suggest, to help with the dense moistness, and excess banana flavor? Since it’s already so sweet should I sub banana for more apple or strawberry maybe?

      • Krystal Wight Armstrong
        September 29, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

        Oh, I forgot I also threw in a splash of vanilla which I think really made them extra yummy!

      • Dawn September 30, 2016 at 10:45 am #

        You’re welcome, Krystal! I would have to play around with this. Small changes in ingredients and amounts can make a big difference. Unfortunately, I won’t be making these anytime soon, but I have some suggestions for you.

        Coconut flour baked goods usually are denser, and they usually require the use of eggs to make a better consistency. Having applesauce, banana, AND strawberry puree in there makes up for that, but might make them too sweet. So since you don’t like the banana taste, I would take it out, and use less sweetener as well. You can also add a bit more coconut flour (that will dry it up most quickly), but it will likely take some trial and error before you get it just right. Add less fruit and sweetener first and see how the consistency is, before you add more flour. You can also reduce the oil content.

        Sorry I can’t play around with this recipe with you right now. I hope you find something that works for you! Please let us know if you do.

        Thanks for reaching out. Have a great weekend! xoxo Dawn
        Dawn recently posted…Food Swap Friday: Will the Real Power Bar Stand Up?My Profile

        • Krystal Wight Armstrong
          September 30, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

          That’s all I needed, thank you! Just what your ideas might be; ha, didn’t mean to ask you to jump in to the kitchen for me. That all sounds good and I’m sure will make for perfectly enjoyable cupcakes : )
          I just had to ask incase there was some baking chemistry stuff I didn’t know about, like if more baking soda would fluff things up or something 😉

          Thanks again and Happy Weekend!.

          • Dawn September 30, 2016 at 3:47 pm #


            You can try to add a bit more baking soda, but not too much because it might cause the cupcakes to leave an aftertaste. Happy experimenting! Someday you might want to experiment with tapioca and arrowroot flours too (unless you are restricting starch). They are lighter and starchier, so would definitely offset the density. I’ve never tried using them with coconut flour, but you might add just a bit and see if that helps. Good luck! Let us know how it all goes.
            Dawn recently posted…Super Simple Rosemary Garlic Chicken ThighsMy Profile


  1. Mission: Birthday Cake - November 5, 2014

    […] took me ages, as a lot of paleo desserts use nut flours and eggs, but eventually I found this recipe online, that ticked all the boxes and I could get hold of the ingredients […]

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