Cupcakes have always brought a smile to my face. Small little cakes topped with a mound of frosting, this single person dessert always wins my heart over when I see trays of different flavored cakes and icing proudly displayed at a local bakery or cupcake shop. But for people with celiac disease, cupcakes made with wheat flour must be avoided unless a gluten-free variation is available.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Elana Amsterdam, author of the newly released cookbook, Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour. She shares with us a gluten-free Strawberry Cupcake and Strawberry Meringue Frosting recipe as well as telling us about her sons’ favorite cupcakes.

Alice: Celebrating a child’s birthday with a special treat at school is something many children look forward to. For children who live a gluten-free lifestyle, can you offer some suggestions on your favorite gluten-free treats the whole class will enjoy?

Elana: My older son has celiac disease (so do I), and my younger son is gluten intolerant, so I bake gluten free treats for both of them to bring in to their classes for their birthdays. The boys love it when I bring in cupcakes. My younger son asks me to make the Raspberry Cheesecake Cupcakes from my book Gluten Free Cupcakes for all of his school celebrations, while my older son requests the Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting. Of course, sprinkles are a must for them and something their classmates enjoy as well. The best part is none of the children know that they are eating super healthy gluten free treats –they just see (and taste) yummy, adorable cupcakes.

Alice: How is baking with coconut and almond flour different in texture and taste than all-purpose flour?

Elana: The combination of coconut and almond flours is surprisingly “normal” in taste. The number one factor in baking for little ones (or anyone) is taste –children will spit out food that they don’t like, they are the most honest taste testers. The children love the gluten free cupcakes that I bring in for birthday celebrations. The second most important thing is ease of use; people get freaked out when the see gluten free recipes with 14 different ingredients. The recipes in my book Gluten Free Cupcakes are simple (one of them has only 3 ingredients!) and none of them have long lists of complicated ingredients, which makes these recipes a plus for moms. Finally, the recipes are packed with nutritious ingredients (I wouldn’t ever tell that to the children I’m serving them to), so I’m sneaking healthy food into the children in the form of cupcakes, which make me really happy.

Alice: Thanks Elana for sharing all things cupcakes with us today.

Elana and her publisher, Celestial Arts, have given us permission to reprint one of Elana’s favorite cupcake and frosting recipes from her book.  I’m so excited to share it with you!  Enjoy!

Reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour. Copyright © 2011 by Elana Amsterdam, Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo Credit: Annabelle Breakey.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Frosting

  • Prep Time: 10 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 25 min(s)
  • Total Time: 35 min(s)
  • Servings: 8

A recipe for Strawberry Gluten-Free Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Frosting from Elana Amsterdam's new book, Gluten-Free Cupcakes.


  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh strawberries


  1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 8 muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Blend the wet ingredients into the coconut flour mixture with a handheld mixer until thoroughly combined, then fold in the strawberries.
  3. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into each prepared muffin cup.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 1 hour, then frost and serve.
  5. For the frosting: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the agave nectar to a boil, stirring constantly. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 6 to 10 minutes, watching constantly and stirring occasionally, until the agave nectar darkens slightly from its original amber color, then remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. In a deep bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks using a handheld mixer. Be sure to push the beaters around the bowl to incorporate air into the whites. This step is important; if your egg whites are not whipped to stiff peaks, the recipe won’t work. Stop whipping as soon as the egg whites are stiff; overwhipping will result in egg whites that are dry and grainy. The foam of the whites will be stiff enough to stand up in well-defined, unwavering peaks.
  7. Drizzle the warm agave nectar very slowly into the egg whites, while whipping with a handheld mixer, to keep the peaks stiff. The meringue will
  8. become pearlescent and shiny.
  9. Allow to cool to room temperature, then fold the strawberries into the meringue. Use right away.

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5 Responses to “Gluten-Free Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Meringue Frosting”

  1. Aviva Goldfarb Aviva Goldfarb

    These are beautiful and I know all the families who can’t eat gluten will treasure this book.

  2. Kelsey

    Can you substitute the agave nectar for honey?

    • Alice

      Hi Kelsey,
      I spoke with Elana regarding your question and she told me she has never substituted the agave syrup with honey but doesn’t see why it wouldn’t work.

  3. sara

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! A friend was just diagnosed with celiacs so I’m eager to try this recipe.