cupcake fest!

cupcake fest
for the boys – our mudpie cupcakes! Mucky, messy & marvellously more-ish

Yes, here at free2bake we continue to enjoy a cupcake fest as we celebrate national cupcake week. We started the week with “healthier’ cupcakes which had vegetables carefully hidden in their depths. On Wednesday I shared some simple cupcake free-from recipes and today we are going for all out decedent cupcakes! YUMMY naughty but very nice free-from fare. Next week I promise we’ll return to healthy and great for your bods recipe posts, but national cupcake week comes by but once a year and we revel in celebrating it!

I find it a great joy that our free-from cupcakes are so scrummy and I know that my son doesn’t miss out one iota because of his severe food allergies and anaphylaxis.  I love it that we can decorate our cupcakes with frosting that is scrummy and free-from and looks fabulous! I love sharing our cupcakes with others and seeing their surprise when they hear all that these scrummy little treats are free-from. I love it that people who can eat normal cupcakes state they love the taste of ours, some even prefer ours to the those full of egg, dairy and gluten. I love that I get asked to bake cupcakes as payment in kind!

If you have boys with multiple severe food allergies, our mudpie cupcakes may be just the ticket! They are messy to make and mucky to eat; but REALLY yummy and fun to bake. It’s a great way to get your sons into baking and the end results are super scrummy, if exceedingly muddy ;P! They come with their very own special gloop icing and are top of our indulgent cupcake list.

chocolate-cupcakes-free-from-gluten-eggs-dairy-soy-&-nuts,
topped with a melt-in-your-mouth mini choc biscuit!

If you are after a more traditional chocolate cupcake you can give our basic chocolate cupcakes a go – we decorate ours with chocolate vegan icing and then if we’re feeling especially decedent, we add a little melt in your mouth chocolate biscuit on top (I use the recipe for the biscuit in our chocolate kisses).

Adding icing to any cupcake makes it more sumptuous, posh and indulgent. Our tropical cupcakes are full of fruit and l love them as they come fresh from the oven, plain and simple. But add our tropical vegan icing and suddenly they are transformed into  luxurious tropical feast which my partner and my family really enjoy indulging in!

Even our simple vanilla cupcakes can be transformed into something beautiful and exotic with our tropical or strawberry vegan icing! I have added our vegan icing recipes underneath our cakes so that you can chose which will work best for you and your family.

If you are after a special cupcake, which is icing-free – why not try our scrummy apple crumble cupcakes? They are really tasty and refreshing with large lumps of delicious apple in them, and a scrummy crumble base for a bit of varied texture. They look fab and are really easy to bake.

I hope that one of the cupcake recipes I have shared over national cupcake week, has tickled your fancy, and that you and yours have fun baking, decorating and sharing your creations. I would love to know how you make these recipes your own and see your decorating style!

Have a wonderfully scrumptious weekend!
Rai x

cupcake fest for national cupcake week

mud-pie cupcakes

  • Yield:

    30 cupcakes
  • Cooking Method:

    baking
  • Prep Time:

    30 mins
  • Cook Time:

    20 mins
mud-pie cupcakes

These are Aars ultimate chocolate cupcakes. If you do not mind mess and love big chocolate flavours these are very fun to make. They are not at all girly or fancy – they are rough and ready, absolutely delicious, mucky boy cupcakes! If you like a pristine kitchen these are not for you, try our more traditional chocolate cupcakes instead!

Ingredients:

The Cake Mix:
  • 1¼ C gluten-free flour
  • ½ C raw cacao powder*
  • ¾tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ¹⁄³ C sunflower oil
  • ¾ C golden granulated sugar
  • 1 C m!lk alternative (we use koko a coconut m!lk)
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 normal sized marshmallows**
The all important icing gloop:
  • ¼ C sunflower spread
  • 1 Tbs (heaped) raw cacao powder* 
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp m!lk alternative (we used koko a thin coconut m!lk)
  • ¾ C sifted icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (fan) and prep cupcake tins with paper cases. 

  2. In a bowl mix the dry ingredients: flour, cacao, baking powder, bicarb and salt.

    mudpie cupcakes
    mudpie cupcakes mix ready to go

  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the oil, sugar, m!lk, vinegar and vanilla, beat them so they are well combined. Then add the dry ingredients to the mix and beat until smooth.

  4. Once the mix is smooth stir in your chopped marshmallows and spoon the lumpy mix into cupcake cases.

  5. Place tin foil on base of oven incase of marshmallow drips. Pop your mudpies into the oven for 20 minutes.

  6. Whilst your mudpies are in oven, prepare the icing "gloop" as it needs to be poured onto the mudpies as soon as they come out of the oven.

    mudpie cupcakes
    gloop is ready to go as soon as mudpies are on the cooling rack

  7. In a pan add the spread, raw cacao powder, salt & m!lk alternative. Place the pan over a low heat and slowly melt.

  8. Once it's melted, keep it on the heat and add in the icing sugar, I sift it as I go. When all the sugar has been added and the icing is smooth and shiny remove from the heat and add the vanilla.

  9. When your mudpies come out of the oven, leave them to stand in their trays for 3 mins. Then place on cooling rack with baking paper beneath it to catch gloopy drips!

  10. Use a spoon to pour the warm, liquid chocolate icing glooooop onto the warm mudpies – a little at a time.

  11. Leave to cool for at least fifteen minutes, but ALWAYS ALWAYS serve these mudpies warm! 

Notes:

*if you don't have raw cacao powder use normal cocoa powder
**if you don't have normal marshmallows just use mini-marshmallows and don't chop them up! 

Use your families favourite m!lk alternative and if you don't need to be gluten free this cake works brilliantly with normal flour.

These are incredibly messy but worth it! Leave your cupcake tins to soak in hot soapy water for about 20 mins – it does the trick. If the mudpies are for a party and you want them to look nice pop them into a second cupcake case before presenting them. Be warned everyone will still get mucky eating them!

chocolate cupcakes

  • Yield:

    makes 18 cupcakes
  • Cooking Method:

    baking
  • Prep Time:

    10 mins
  • Cook Time:

    15 mins
chocolate cupcakes

This is a really simple chocolate cupcake recipe free-from allergens & super scrummy. It is über chocolately and everyone loves these as part of an afternoon tea or a children's party. If you don't have ground flaxseed (we grind our own) the cupcakes will be a bit crumbly - as the ground flaxseed works as a flax-*gg binding everything together. We have made them without and they taste great (just are a little messy) so I would recommend you use another egg-alternative like half a mashed banana instead. 

These are great topped with my vegan fluffy light chocolate icing. If you prefer a little contrast go for a vanilla or coffee icing. I like to pop a little melt-in-your-mouth biscuit on top too! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 C water
  • ¹⁄3 C oil
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1Tbs cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs ground flaxseed
  • 1 C gluten-free self-raising flour
  • ½ C raw cacao powder
  • 1 C golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (fan oven). Prep your cupcake tins with cupcake cases. 

    chocolate-cupcakes-free-from-gluten-eggs-dairy-soy-&-nuts
    ready to bake

  2. In a bowl combine all your wet ingredients. Then add all your dry ingredients and stir to combine.

  3. Once your batter is well mixed spoon out into the waiting cupcake cases so they are all ¾ full of mix.

  4. Pop into the oven for 15 mins* once they are baked get them out and leave in tins for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack. 

  5. If you are going to ice these make sure that they are completely cold before icing them. The cupcakes centres have residual heat which may melt your icing if you do not let them get completely cold.

Notes:

*if you are making muffins these will take more like 22 minutes to bake - you can test to see if the cupcakes are ready to come out of the oven by skewering them - if the skewer comes out of the cake clean it's thoroughly baked.

If I ice these I make my chocolate icing as Aars is generally up for a proper chocolate-fest. I tend to ice some cupcakes with a lot less icing than others - (better for little ones) and I tend to top them with my mini melt-in-your-mouth chocolate biscuits which is a variation of my chocolate kisses recipe.

tropical cupcakes

  • Yield:

    14 cupcakes
  • Cooking Method:

    baking
  • Prep Time:

    15 mins
  • Cook Time:

    15 mins

Allergens:

gluten
tropical cupcakes

These delicious tropical cupcakes are an adaption of a North African recipe, full of scrummy fruit and flavour. The spicing and flavours are subtle so children vacuum these little delights up! I always do double the recipe to keep us in stock for a couple of days! I hope you enjoy them and that you play around with them to make them your own. I think that for adults you can up the spicing and add some chopped up pineapple into the mix too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana (mashed)
  • 5 balls of stem ginger & syrup (or 5 Tbs of diced stem ginger & syrup)
  • 1½ Tbs ground flaxseed
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ C pineapple juice*
  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ C sugar (palm or caster)
  • ¹⁄6 C oil 
  • grind of salt
  • ¾ C self-raising flour**
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (don't double this if you're doubling the recipe!)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan) and line your cupcake tray with cases.

  2. In a mixing bowl mash up the banana.

  3. Liquidise the stem ginger & syrup until there are no bits of stem ginger. Pour into the bowl and combine with the banana, then stir in the flax, cinnamon, pineapple juice*, vinegar, vanilla, sugar, oil and salt.

  4. Add the flour** and bicarb and then mix really well to create a smooth batter - I use my Kenwood chef and the K beater for this job.

  5. Dollop the mix into the waiting cases so they are ¾ full & pop into the oven for 15 minutes.

  6. When they come out of the oven leave them in their tray for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.

  7. I love these as they are - unadulterated. However some people - my partner included really likes them smothered with my vegan fluffy tropical icing. The recipe for the icing is here. You need to give the cupcakes a lot of time to cool down before you ice them.

Notes:

*You can use fresh juice from juicing a pineapple, or juice from a carton or from a tin of pineapple. We sometimes cut up a few slices of pineapple into little chunks to go into the cake too for extra moistness and yum!

**At the time of writing this recipe Aars is having to eat gluten, so I used normal self-raising wheat flour. Be assured that the recipe also works well with Doves gluten-free self-raising flour too! 

vanilla cupcakes

  • Yield:

    16 cupcakes
  • Cooking Method:

    baking
  • Prep Time:

    15 mins
  • Cook Time:

    15 mins
vanilla cupcakes

It can't get any simpler than these lovely little cupcakes! They are an adaption of a North African recipe, and the first cakes I ever made for Aars. The original recipe from my Egyptian friend was free-from egg and dairy before I even started to meddle with it - it was however filled with nuts! I hope you enjoy and that you play around with them to make them your own. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ C gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1 C golden caster sugar
  • 2 tsp flat bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 C water
  • ¹/3 C sunflower oil
  • 3 tsp cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract  

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (fan) and line your cupcake tray with cases.

    free-from cupcakes
    no need for egg or dairy...

  2. In a bowl mix your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, bicarb & salt.

  3. In a jug combine your wet ingredients: water, oil, vinegar & vanilla.

  4. Beat the wet ingredients into the the dry ones until you have a smooth batter. Then dollop out the mix into the waiting cases & pop into the oven for 15 minutes. Leave them in their tray for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.

Notes:

We love these for their super simplicity; they taste lovely just as they are.

Let me know how you play with this basic recipe to make it a family fave - do you add spices or fruit? Cheers, Rai x

apple crumble muffins

  • Yield:

    15 muffins
  • Cooking Method:

    baking
  • Prep Time:

    20 mins
  • Cook Time:

    20 mins
apple crumble muffins

These wonderful apple crumble muffins are a winning little treat. With huge chunks of bramley apples in each muffin they are refreshing and light. The crumble sits in the base of the muffin giving it texture and cinnamon-spice flavour. We like ours as they come fresh from the oven, but they would also work taken out of their cases and seven with dairy-free, soya-free custard.

Ingredients:

  • CRUMBLE MIX
  • ¼ C gluten-free oats
  • ½ C roasted chopped nuts* (I used hazelnuts)
  • 2 Tbs gluten-free flour
  • ¹⁄3 C muscovado sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1Tbs oil
  • MUFFIN MIX
  • 1½ C gluten-free self-raising flour
  • ½ C golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp flat bicarbonate of soda
  • grind of salt
  • 1 C water
  • ¹/3 C sunflower oil
  • 1Tbs cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large bramley apples peeled, cored & cut into chunks  

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (fan) and line your muffin tray with cases.

    apple-crumble-muffins
    crumble base

  2. In a bowl create your crumble by adding all the ingredients in the order above and then stirring in the oil so everything is coated in oil. You can then put a good layer of the crumble mix into each of the waiting muffin cases. (see photo)

  3. In a bowl mix your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, bicarb & salt, then add the wet ingredients: water, oil, vinegar & vanilla and beat until you have a smooth batter. Finally stir in the your peeled, cored chunks of apple.

    apple-crumble-muffins
    end result!

  4. Dollop the mix with huge apple chunks into the waiting cases & pop into the oven for 20 minutes. Leave them in their tray for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.

Notes:

*if you are nut-free, make the crumble mix the way you would normally make it for an apple crumble or just miss out the nuts in this recipe.

We love these for their super simplicity; they taste lovely just as they are.

Icings to play with!

vegan strawberry frosting

  • Yield:

    ices 24 cupcakes (fully as pictured above)
  • Cooking Method:

    beating!
  • Prep Time:

    20 mins
  • Cook Time:

    0 mins
vegan strawberry frosting

This vegan strawberry icing is delicious and full of strawberries rather than chemicals! You beat the air into it, so I recommend you use a machine like a kenwood chef and a K beater to do this tiring job for you. That said it is worth the time and effort as it's another lovely vegan frosting. I invented it to top my free-from strawberry shortcakes and my free-from strawberries & cream surprise cupcakes!

It makes me very happy that our children don't miss out just because they cannot have butter cream. I love that vegan food can be both naughty and nice. Looking at the photo below you can see that you don't have to smother cupcakes in icing to make them look cute and pretty!

Ingredients:

  • 2 C fresh strawberries (topped!)
  • 1½ Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs water
  • ¼ C trex
  • ¼ C sunflower spread
  • 3½ C icing sugar

Method:

  1. Pop your topped strawberries into a pan with the 1½ Tbs sugar and water. Slowly heat them up, and as they warm mash them into a pulp. Once the sugar has dissolved keep them simmering on a medium heat to reduce for about 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat.

    strawberry shortcake gluten free
    mmmmmm strawberry

  2. I place a muslin in a bowl with pegs holding it up, on the edges. Pour the strawberry pulp into the muslin and leave to cool and drain into the bowl. (see photo)

  3. Once it has cooled sufficiently I squeeze the juice out, through the muslin. Then pop into the fridge so it gets cold.

  4. Once the strawberry mix is cold you can make your icing. In a mixer beat the trex & spread until they are well combined and fluffy (this takes about 4 minutes in my kenwood chef with a K beater).

  5. Once its soft and well combined add the cool strawberry juice  (it's about ¹⁄3 C of juice) and beat into the fat.

  6. Now add the icing sugar and beat in. I do this in ½ C measures with the lid on my kenwood chef to avoid a icing sugar storm!

  7. Once all the icing sugar is mixed in beat the icing for another for about 7 mins until really light and fluffy. Pop the lot into the fridge for at least half an hour to cool before icing your cakes. 

Notes:

It's really important to ensure your cakes are cold when you ice them, if they have any internal warmth still they will melt your lovely frosting. 

This icing goes especially well with my strawberries & cream surprise cupcakes and my strawberry shortcakes, both of which are gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free & nut-free and VERY yummy! Both of them are great with fresh strawberries a top the icing.

orange vegan frosting

  • Yield:

    ices 14 muffins (28 cupcakes)
  • Prep Time:

    15 mins

Allergens:

no allergens
orange vegan frosting

This orange vegan frosting is really easy to make and great a-top vanilla cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes. The citrus flavour is refreshing and light. Let us know what your fave flavour combination is with this vegan orange frosting. When I ice cupcakes for an event, I tend to do tiny little dots of icing on half the cakes and then full-on smothering (as pictured here) for the other half. It gives people the option of how much sugar they want to eat with their cupcake! 

Ingredients:

  • ¼ C vegan cream cheese (we use violife as it's dairy-free & soya-free)
  • ¼ C sunflower spread
  • 2 C icing sugar 
  • 1 tsp orange extract

Method:

  1. Cream the fats together until they are throughly combined and smooth.

  2. Then add the icing sugar, I do this in half cup measures with a lid on the mixer to avoid a sugar storm!

  3. Once the icing sugar is beaten in add the orange extract and beat for a couple of minutes and get ready to pipe.

Notes:

Always make sure that your cakes are 100% cold - with no residual heat in their centres before you start decorating them with this fresh and fruity icing! 

tropical vegan frosting (light & fluffy)

  • Yield:

    ices 24 cupcakes (fully as pictured above)
  • Cooking Method:

    beating!
  • Prep Time:

    20 mins
  • Cook Time:

    0 mins
tropical vegan frosting (light & fluffy)

This vegan tropical icing is lovely and light and fluffy. You beat the air into it, so I recommend you use a machine like a kenwood chef and a K beater to do this tiring job for you. That said it is worth the time and effort as it's another lovely vegan frosting. I invented it to top my free-from tropical cupcakes.

It makes me very happy that our children don't miss out just because they cannot have butter cream. I love that vegan food can be both naughty and nice. Looking at the photo below you can see that you don't have to smother cupcakes in icing to make them look cute and pretty!

Ingredients:

  • 4 stem ginger balls & syrup (or 4 Tbs of diced stem ginger & syrup)
  • 4 pineapple rings
  • ¼ C trex
  • ¼ C sunflower spread
  • 3 C icing sugar

Method:

  1. In a liquidiser blitz the stem ginger & syrup, when it is pulverised add the pineapple rings and blitzt until the whole lot is basically liquid.

    vegan tropical icing (light & fluffy)
    you can drop a dot on the cupcakes or smother them

  2. In a mixer beat the trex & spread until they are well combined and fluffy (this takes about 4 minutes in my kenwood chef with a K beater).

  3. Add the ginger & pineapple mix and beat until it's combined - this takes less than a minute.

  4. Now add the icing sugar half a cup at a time this takes about 4 minutes.

  5. Once all the icing sugar is mixed in beat the icing for another for about 7 mins until really light and fluffy. Pop the lot into the fridge for at least half an hour to cool before icing your cakes. 

Notes:

It's really important to ensure your cakes are cold when you ice them, if they have any internal warmth still they will melt your lovely fluffy icing. 

This icing goes especially well with my tropical cupcakes which are egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free & nut-free and VERY yummy! 

chocolate vegan frosting (light & fluffy)

  • Yield:

    ices 24 cupcakes
  • Prep Time:

    15 mins
  • Cook Time:

    0 mins
chocolate vegan frosting (light & fluffy)

This chocolate vegan frosting is really light and fluffy - you beat the air into it, so I recommend you use a machine to do this tiring job for you. I use my kenwood chef and it's K-beater attachment. That said it is worth the time and effort as it is  another lovely vegan frosting.

It makes me very happy that our children don't miss out just because they cannot have unhealthy butter cream. I also love that vegan food can still be naughty and nice. You don't have to smother cupcakes in icing to make them look cute and pretty!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ C trex
  • ¼ C sunflower spread
  • 1 ½ C icing sugar
  • ¼ C raw cacao powder
  • ¹⁄8 C m!lk alternative (we use Koko)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. In a mixer beat the trex & spread until they are well combined and fluffy (about 4 minutess in my kenwood chef with a K beater).

  2. Add the icing sugar & raw cacao powder and beat for another 4 minutes.

  3. Then add the m!lk alternative & vanilla; beat for about 7 mins until really light and fluffy. Pop the lot into the fridge for at least half an hour to cool before icing your cakes. 

Notes:

Always ensure your cakes are cold when you ice them, if they have any internal warmth still they will melt your icing. 

vegan vanilla frosting (light & fluffy)

  • Yield:

    ices 24 cupcakes
  • Prep Time:

    15 mins
  • Cook Time:

    0 mins
vegan vanilla frosting (light & fluffy)

This icing is really light and fluffy - you beat the air into it, so I recommend you use a machine to do this tiring job for you. That said it is worth the time and effort as it is  another lovely vegan frosting.

It makes me very happy that our children don't miss out just because they cannot have unhealthy butter cream. I also love that vegan food can still be naughty and nice. Looking at the photo below you can see that you don't have to smother cupcakes in icing to make them look cute and pretty!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ C trex
  • ¼ C sunflower spread
  • 1 ¾ C icing sugar
  • ¹⁄8 C m!lk alternative (we use Koko)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract  

Method:

  1. In a mixer beat the trex & spread until they are well combined and fluffy (about 4 minutess in my kenwood chef with a K beater).

    little dots of icing work well too!
    little dots of icing work well too!

  2. Add the icing sugar and beat for another 4 minutes.

  3. Then add the m!lk alternative & vanilla; beat for about 7 mins until really light and fluffy. Pop the lot into the fridge for at least half an hour to cool before icing your cakes. 

Notes:

Always ensure your cakes are cold when you ice them, if they have any internal warmth still they will melt your icing. 

coffee icing (with vegan cream cheese)

  • Yield:

    ices 1 large cake (see photo)
  • Cooking Method:

    mixing
  • Prep Time:

    12 mins
  • Cook Time:

    0 mins
coffee icing (with vegan cream cheese)

This icing goes perfectly with my coffee & walnut cake. The vegan cream cheese helps mellow the sweetness a little - but I think actual walnuts with this icing work really well at contrasting the sweetness. I don't like too much icing on my cake (see photo!) - if you like to put a mass of icing on top as well as within the cake double this recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • ¹⁄8 C sunflower spread
  • ¹⁄8 C vegan cream cheese - we use violife
  • 1½ C icing sugar
  • ¹⁄8 espresso shot (COLD)

Method:

  1. In a bowl beat the spread & vegan cream cheese until they are light and fluffy. 

  2. Add in the icing sugar & beat for about 3 minutes until it's all well combined.

  3. Add the espresso and beat the icing for about 5-7 minutes until it is really lovely & fluffy. 

  4. Load up your icing gun with the your nozzle of choice and if it's too wet pop the icing into the fridge to cool and solidify a little. Once it's cooled get decorating. 

Notes:

Always make sure the cake has totally cooled down before icing it. 

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