{Dairy-free, Egg-free} Spiced Applesauce Muffins {OR} First Birthday Applesauce Cake

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Applesauce Muffins -- spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg -- make a great breakfast or snack. And the same batter can also be made into an Allergen-Free First Birthday Cake!

Dairy-Free Egg-Free Spiced Applesauce Muffins OR First Birthday Applesauce Cake, collage of photos with textToday I have a perfect muffin recipe to share with you if (1.) you're sensitive to dairy or eggs, (2.) you're out of fresh ingredients and limited to pantry staples, or (3.) you know an 11-month-old in need of a smash cake for an upcoming birthday party.

Dairy-Free Egg-Free First Birthday Cake

Five years ago, when my oldest son was coming up on his first birthday, I fretted about him having a cute first birthday smash cake to dig his little hands into without risking a possible reaction to allergenic ingredients that were new to him (namely, eggs and dairy). After all, it would really stink to try something for the first time on your first birthday and then break out in hives because of it!

{Dairy-free, Egg-free} Spiced Applesauce Muffins with frosting and a candle

After a bit of research, I came across a recipe for a First Birthday Applesauce Cake. So I baked it, frosted it, and had it ready for smashing at my first baby's first birthday party. My sweet boy ended up being one of those babies who enjoyed playing with his cake more than actually eating it, but when I later sampled some of the decimated cake crumbs, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was pretty darn tasty!

From that day on, you could say that this applesauce cake became a family tradition. I ended up baking it as a first birthday cake for my nephew, my second son and, just recently, my daughter, and I passed the recipe on to countless other moms in the years in between.

Or...Dairy-Free Egg-Free Applesauce Muffins!

But who wants to have to wait for the next first birthday party before getting to enjoy such yummy spiced applesauce goodness? It didn't take me long to figure out that I could use this same batter to bake cinnamon-laced applesauce muffins. They're good year-round, but I've always thought their flavor is particularly appropriate during the fall. And I can assure you that they make a great snack or breakfast on-the-go!

{Dairy-free, Egg-free} Spiced Applesauce Muffins on a cooling rack


So we know this recipe doesn't rely on dairy or eggs! So what does it require?

  • Flour. You can use regular all-purpose flour or, for a more wholesome option, 100% whole wheat pastry flour, which will lend you cake or muffins a lighter taste and texture than regular whole wheat flour.
  • Baking soda + salt.
  • Cinnamon + nutmeg. For a nice bit of spice to complement the applesauce.
  • Oil. Your preferred type of oil -- such as sunflower oil, coconut oil, or even a mild-tasting olive oil -- should work just fine.
  • Granulated sugar. You can opt to use an unrefined sugar if you wish, or feel free to experiment with alternative sweeteners...but it is a birthday cake, after all. 😉
  • Unsweetened applesauce.

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven and grease your mini cake pans or line your muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar until dissolved. Alternatively add the flour mixture and applesauce and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Pour batter into pans or scoop into muffin cups and bake until done.

{Dairy-free, Egg-free} First Birthday Applesauce Cake with frosting and a pink candle

The Best of Both Worlds

When my daughter turned one a couple of weeks ago, I wanted her to be able to try cake for the first time on her actual birthday, but I also wanted her to have a traditional smash cake for her party a few days later. So I made a double recipe of this spiced applesauce batter. Half of the batter I divided into a 12-cup muffin pan. The other half of the batter I split between two 6-inch round cake pans for her smash cake.

On baby girl's actual birthday, I frosted a few muffins for our little family birthday celebration (frosting muffins turns them into cupcakes, right?), and she got to (let her brothers) blow out a candle before she destroyed her small, cupcake-sized smash cake.

Then on her birthday? She got to dig into the real deal.

Baby smashing into her first birthday cake with frosting all over the placeSo whether you're craving some quick and easy muffins that taste like fall, or you're looking for a first birthday cake recipe that's free of potential food allergens, this recipe has just what you need. It has served my family well through three 1st birthdays and plenty of muffin munching in between. The only problem is that every time I use this recipe to whip up a batch of applesauce muffins in the future, I'm afraid I may look at my growing-too-fast babies and shed a small tear of nostalgia.

But sadness doesn't last long when you're stuffing your face with something so tasty, so I think I'll be okay. 😉

{Dairy-free, Egg-free} Spiced Applesauce Muffins OR First Birthday Applesauce Cake ~ this cinnamon-laced batter can be baked up to make a dozen dairy-free, egg-free muffins, or it makes a perfect first birthday cake without having to worry about potential food allergens | {Five Heart Home}

Dairy-free Egg-free Spiced Applesauce Muffins {OR} First Birthday Applesauce Cake

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Applesauce Muffins -- spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg -- make a great breakfast or snack. And the same batter can also be made into an Allergen-Free First Birthday Cake!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins OR 2 (6-inch) round cake layers
Calories: 232kcal
Print Pin Rate


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup vegetable oil, such as sunflower or safflower
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, heated until warm


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners (or generously grease two 6-inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Alternately add flour mixture and applesauce and blend in, starting and ending with flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
  • Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan and bake for 14 to 16 minutes (or divide batter between 6-inch cake pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes), or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for five minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Whole wheat pastry flour may be substituted for some or all of the all-purpose flour.
  • Melted coconut oil may be substituted for the vegetable oil.
  • Unrefined cane sugar (Sucanat or Rapadura) may be substituted for the granulated sugar.
If you bake a first birthday cake and would like to frost it with dairy-free frosting, whip ½ cup softened soy-free natural buttery spread (such as Earth's Balance) until smooth. Mix in ½ cup of powdered sugar at a time until desired sweetness and consistency is reached (around 3 cups total). Add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Beat at high speed until frosting is light and fluffy. If frosting is too thick, you may add a tablespoon or two of rice milk or coconut milk to reach desired consistency, but the additional liquid probably will not be necessary.
NOTE: After going to the trouble of making an allergen-free birthday cake, I would have felt guilty about tinting my daughter's birthday cake frosting pink with regular food coloring. So this was my first time using an all natural, dye-free, vegetable-based food coloring. I tried India Tree and was happy with the results for attaining shades of pink, but I haven't experimented with achieving different colors with natural food coloring.


Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 189mg | Potassium: 37mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!


♥Five Heart Home flashback... 🙂

Baby #1's First Birthday Applesauce Cake Smash
1st birthday smash cake

Baby #2's First Birthday Applesauce Cake Smash
Digging into first birthday smash cake

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I know this is a couple years later but I use this recipe almost every week! I have a huge dairy allergy and it’s hard to find a good recipe! I add about a cup of brown sugar and a splash of oat milk to make the muffins! And I sprinkle a little brown sugar on top 💖

  2. 5 stars
    I make these as muffins every weekend with my granddaughter. She LOVES them. We usually make 1/2 batter, makes 7 muffins.

  3. 5 stars
    These are delicious! How do you recommend storing them? I made the muffins and the frosting separate for my son’s birthday in two days and realized that I didn’t see how to store the muffins lol

    1. Hi Kala! The muffins will be fine at room temperature for a few days, but I'd probably recommend refrigerating everything and then letting it come to room temperature before spreading on the frosting. Hope that helps and hapy birthday to your son! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I just wanted to say that you’re recipe for Babies 1st Smash Cake is awesome 😎 I can’t wait to try more of your recipes. I’ve been trying so many dairy free recipes that I can add to lunch bags & snacks & this muffin/cake recipe is perfect 👌

  5. I've made this recipe subbing butter and brown sugar (and also used an 8x8" glass dish), which turned out great! Today I'm going to use a little less sugar... 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Just made your spiced applesauce muffins. Yum. They are fantastic and such an easy recipe. I will be making it as a cake for the vegans in my life as a substitute for the normal chocolate one I bake for them. These are the best muffins I have ever made.

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you for such a great recipe! We have some kiddos at Vacation Bible School who cannot have eggs, milk, or nuts.
    These were perfect! So yummy!!

  8. 5 stars
    Just found this recipe, and OMG the perfect egg-free (for me) dairy free (for him) muffin! Light, fluffy, delicious! THANK YOU very much!

  9. I made this recipe as mini muffins for my daughter's preschool class and I just know it's going be hit. I used half whole wheat flour and half white all purpose flour. Usually I don't care for whole wheat in my muffins, but these are delicious. My only complaint is that they are a bit on the sweet side. Next time I'll cut the sugar down to 3/4 of cup and see how I like it. Thanks for great allergy safe recipe!