Passionfruit cupcakes with coconut icing

by Emma Hatcher

Tropical-tasting cupcakes, which happen to be gluten and dairy-free

Having or catering for multiple food allergies and/or intolerances can be tough. Whether it’s a child who suffers, a friend, or yourself, at times it can often feel like everything’s off limits and you’re stuck eating the same recipes over and over again.

Free-from recipes don’t have to be bland, boring, or scary though. They should be easy and delicious enough to be enjoyed by everyone round the table, as well as those following a special diet. I find that the phrase ‘free-from’ often makes people run a mile. What I’d really like people to say is ‘free-from xxx—but packed with loads of other good stuff’.

These cupcakes are light and delicate with a charming, tropical tang. Free from both gluten and dairy, as well as being suitable for those with a sensitive gut, on a low FODMAP diet.

Don’t skip chilling the coconut milk. It’s this process that allows the coconut fat to separate out and solidify, giving you creamier, thicker icing at the end—perfect for those who can’t tolerate dairy.

Baking powder can have wheat flour added, so make sure that you check the label.


70g ground almonds
75g brown rice flour
40g potato starch
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
75g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large free-range egg
60ml almond milk
60ml passionfruit pulp (from roughly 2 passionfruits), plus extra to top
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the whipped coconut cream icing:
1 x 400ml tin full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod seeds scraped
1 tsp ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 180C and line a cupcake tin with 10 paper cases. Place the ground almonds in a medium bowl and sieve over the rice flour, potato starch, salt and baking powder. Add the sugar and lemon zest and whisk to combine.

In another bowl combine the egg, almond milk, passionfruit pulp, coconut oil and vanilla, whisking thoroughly. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir until just combined. Spoon into the paper cases and bake for 25-30 mins, or until golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.

Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop the top layer of white, creamy milk into a mixing bowl, saving any water for another recipe. Blend the thick coconut milk with a hand mixer on a high speed for 15-20 secs, just until the mixture loosens.

Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix again for 1-2 mins, until light and creamy. Finally add the cinnamon and stir to incorporate. I like to place in the fridge for a few mins to solidify again before using.

When the cakes are cool, pipe or spoon the whipped coconut cream on top of each and drizzle over a little passionfruit pulp to finish.

These cupcakes are best eaten on the day of baking, however any un-iced leftovers will store in an airtight container for 2-3 days, or can be frozen for longer.

Recipe: Emma Hatcher, from The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen
Image: Malou Burger