I get TONS emails from readers and commenters asking about where to get nut-free cupcakes in Manhattan. My answer, sadly, is no place that I know of. Everybody Eats is in Brooklyn; Babycakes is GF and vegan but NOT nut-free; there are some others in Bergen County New Jersey; but this all equals non-convenience for the nut-allergic Manhattanite.
(If I’m missing something and you know of any place in New York City's five boroughs, please do share.)
So what’s a Manhattan-based allergic girl or allergic guy or a friend/family member to do in the absence of a safe bakery and with a birthday quickly approaching? Bake them yourself.
I made two kinds but the concept was the same: brownie mix as a cupcake with white icing. I find the brownie mixes denser, way chocolate-ier and they don’t dry out as much if you bake them a day ahead of time. Both of the mixes I used also incorporate chocolate chips which helps keep the cupcakes moist and lovely.
I used Cherrybrook Kitchen brownie mix and Betty Crocker brownie mix, both gluten-free, nut-free and vegan (made with vegetable oil and water). I used soy-based Earth Balance margarine with Cherrybrook Kitchen white icing mix and also made traditional buttercream icing with Cherrybrook Kitchen vanilla icing mix and organic butter.
We had dinner at a restaurant that I know and love: Nizza. I asked them if I could give them mixes to make me a safe cake OR if I could bring my own cupcakes in without incurring a plating fee. We both agreed the latter made the most and easiest safest sense. I love when restaurants work with you and I really LOVE having cake on my bday.
The cupcakes were so rich, my dinner party could only eat one, sometimes only half and no one thought they were gluten-free/vegan/nut-free. They satisfied the need for bday cake and were completely safe for all, especially moi. Was it annoying to bake one's birthday cake? Nah, not really especially as not having safe cake on one's bday was unacceptable. So voila, solution!