When my son first started school, I thought birthday parties would happen every once in a while. But by the time you figure in 20+ classmates and all the other school-wide celebrations throughout the year, you quickly realize these events happen on a pretty regular basis, and it can be really overwhelming for the mom of a child with type 1 diabetes.
When the school nurse has to try and communicate with me by phone how big a birthday cupcake is and how much frosting is on it, it’s pretty difficult to make a good guess at the carb count. Instead, having an equally good cupcake with pre-counted carbs ready for my son is the ultimate win-win.
So here, I’m sharing my recipe for the perfect freezer-friendly cupcake. The idea is that you can make a big batch of these, send them to school with your child and have either the nurse or the teacher store them in the freezer. The morning of a birthday or other class party, the teacher can pull a cupcake out to thaw, and your child can enjoy his or her (carb-counted) treat with the rest of the class.
When I developed this recipe, I wanted it to fit three criteria: simple, delicious, and healthier than the average cupcake. It took some experimenting, but fortunately, I was able to achieve just that.
Simple: This recipe’s base is a boxed cake mix. Using a mix cuts down on steps, and those who don’t love baking need not feel intimidated. Just a handful of ingredients are all you need for the cupcakes and homemade frosting.
Delicious: Not only do these need to taste good fresh, they need to taste good after being frozen and thawed. The addition of pudding mix and Greek yogurt makes these cupcakes super-moist and helps them retain that fresh-baked moisture through the freezing process.
Healthier: The recipe calls for coconut oil (which I prefer to vegetable oil), sugar-free pudding mix (which is obviously gentler on the blood sugar than regular), and Greek yogurt, which adds protein and fiber to offset the carbs a bit—and ups the fluff factor of the cake.
I’ve experimented with low-carb recipes for cupcakes, and while the carb count is a bonus, they simply don’t taste like the equivalent of a birthday treat for a grade-schooler. For my purposes, I need a balance between a sweet treat and something that won’t wreak havoc on my son’s blood sugar for the rest of the day. I hope you will agree that this recipe does just that! Find the full instructions and nutrition information here.
Freezing and Thawing Tips
As long as cupcakes aren’t over- or under-baked, they hold up well to freezing and taste just as good after thawing as they did fresh. For best results:
- Cover the whole top of the cupcake with frosting without leaving any of the cake exposed. This helps retain the moisture.
- After frosting, place cupcakes in an airtight container in the freezer for a couple of hours until the frosting hardens. Then individually wrap each cupcake in plastic wrap (now that the frosting won’t get messed up). Place the individually-wrapped cupcakes into a gallon-size, freezer-safe plastic bag and seal it well to prevent freezer burn, then send it to school.
- On the morning of a class party, have the teacher pull a cupcake out of the freezer and unwrap it. (If thawed in the plastic wrap, condensation can form, making for a gooey cupcake.) After an hour and a half to two hours at room temperature, the cupcake will be ready to eat.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.