“Well, it’s not actually my birthday….”
Growing up, my family did not have birthday parties because every person’s birthday was near a major holiday which made parties a bit difficult. Either life was too busy to plan a party or everyone else was too busy and unable to come. So, we developed a family tradition of going to see a movie as a family, followed by pizza and ice cream cake.
I never really thought too much about how my family celebrated birthdays until I had children and their friends began inviting them to birthday parties. It seemed that every 3 year old in preschool was having a party, and not just any party, but a big blowout party at some special location charging exorbitant amounts of money to entertain the entire preschool class for two to three hours.
Never one to follow the trends, I was not inclined to throw a big birthday bash, but I did come to see how celebrating our children’s birthdays with others, even on a small scale, could be special. Unfortunately, two of our children were born in the summer and one just before Christmas which made parties difficult. So, we began a tradition of hosting birthday parties a month or two before their actual birthdays, which confused people but allowed our children to experience the joy of marking their birth with friends.
All my thoughts about birthdays swirled together this week when a mom asked about a dilemma she had: Her young daughter did not like either chocolate or yellow cupcakes but wanted cupcakes for her birthday party. She also is allergic to eggs, wheat, soy, and dairy, and can’t eat bananas or berries for non-allergy health reasons. The mom needed a suggestion for something which would be “special” for her daughter’s party.
I had just the thing: cinnamon chocolate chip cupcakes. Chocolate chips make everything special, or at least according to my children! And cinnamon is a different but complementary flavor that is not yellow or chocolate cupcakes. And if you add cinnamon frosting, it’s a hit with everyone, children and adults alike.
Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
(makes 24 cupcakes)
2 2/3 cup gluten free flour blend (I used a whole grain sorghum flour blend by Bob’s Red Mill for this recipe)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp egg replacer (I used Bob’s Red Mill for this recipe)
1 cup Enjoy Life mini chips
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 cup “milk” (I used coconut milk for this recipe since the girl was allergic to dairy and soy but any other type will work too)
1 cup solid “fat” (I used coconut oil but a vegan soy free butter or vegan shortening will work just as well)
2 cups coconut sugar (folks can always use sugar if that is preferable)
1 cup additional “milk” (I used coconut milk for this recipe since the girl was allergic to dairy and soy but any other type will work too)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and egg replacer. Stir in the chocolate chips, and set aside.
- Mix the ground flax seed with the milk and set aside.
- Cream the coconut oil (or chosen fat) with the coconut sugar (or sugar), scraping down as needed.
- Add the additional milk to the thickened flax seed mixture, and add the flour and the wet ingredients to the creamed sugar mixture, alternating dry and wet in batches, blending just until all the ingredients are incorporated into one another.
- Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins.
- Bake for 15 minutes until the cupcakes are golden and puffed and firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with only a dry crumb or two attached.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool for a five minutes in the tins, and then remove them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
- Frost with favorite frosting and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Cinnamon Frosting: Cream 1/2 cup vegan butter or coconut oil or vegan shortening with 1 cup powdered sugar. Add 1/4 cup coconut cream and blend well. Mix in enough powdered sugar to make a soft frosting. (Usually another cup.) Chill the frosting in the fridge until ready to frost the cupcakes.