If you want to step up your cupcake game and really impress, these lemon meringue cupcakes are the way to go. And they have a healthy twist, which means they’re practically guilt-free. Featured in healthy blogger, Nicole Maree’s cookbook The Healthy Convert, this recipe is just one of more than 50 allergy-friendly sweet treats you’ll find inside for bakers wanting healthier alternatives and recipes that suit their food intolerances.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes



200g (7 oz) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
150g (5ó oz) rapadura sugar
½ teaspoon ground sea salt
250ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) rice milk, room temperature
80g (2 ¾ oz) unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Lemon curd
125ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
30ml (1 fl oz) tinned coconut milk
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
¼ teaspoon turmeric
60ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) maple syrup

400g (14 oz) tin salt-free chickpeas, chilled overnight
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
145g (5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan forced/340°F). Line a 12-hole standard muffin tin with silicone cupcake liners.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cornflour, sugar and sea salt together. In a separate bowl mix the rice milk, applesauce, vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the wet mixture to the dry and fold through until just incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners until they are three-quarters full. Bake for 40–45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into a cupcake comes out clean. Stand for 5 minutes before turning out, topside up, onto a wire rack to cool.

To make the lemon curd, combine all the lemon curd ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium–high heat. Whisk continuously for 5–7 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely.

Cut a deep hole in the top of each cooled cupcake with a small piping tip. Be careful not to cut through to the bottom of the cupcake. Fill each hole with lemon curd.

Drain the chickpeas and reserve 145ml (5 fl oz) of chilled chickpea water (aquafaba) in a large glass or metal mixing bowl. You want the bowl to be completely clean and free of grease. You can use lemon juice to clean the bowl and rinse before use. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the chickpea aquafaba and cream of tartar on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Continue mixing and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time until it’s incorporated. Once all the sugar is added continue whisking for a further minute. Add the vanilla and whisk for another 30 seconds.

Spoon the meringue into a piping (icing) bag with a large star-shaped nozzle and pipe it onto the cupcakes. Place under a preheated grill (broiler) until lightly golden, or use a small blowtorch to brown them.

Serve immediately and enjoy!


This is an edited extract from The Healthy Convert by Nicole Maree, published by Hardie Grant Books.

Makes 12 | Dairy free | Gluten free | Nut free | Vegan