It’s a Sweet Week for Non-Dairy Desserts & Sweet Potato Cupcakes


photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

Contributed by Shannon Sarna, blogger and content editor at The Nosher.

I hate pareve desserts. Hate. Despise. Abhor. Loathe. Detest. Any other synonyms I missed?

In my culinary endeavors, I am first and always a baker. I love using butter, heavy cream and buttermilk whenever possible. So pareve baking is truly the worst challenge with which I have to contend as a kosher cook.

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

But in my never-ending quest to create pareve desserts that don’t “taste pareve” I have a few tried-and-true, quality nondairy desserts that always satisfy. And when someone takes a bite and says incredulously, “this is pareve?” I know I have done my job well.

When I test out pareve dessert recipes, the number one thing I look for is minimal alterations. You will never find me making a pareve cheesecake dessert or something that would require more than 1-2 ingredient swaps. Breads and cakes that use water-rich vegetables like carrots, zucchini and sweet potatoes in particular produce a very moist result. .

Here are some of my favorite parave dessert recipes:

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting,  Recipe BELOW. Click here for Toasted Marshmallow Frosting.

Hershey’s Chocolate Cake  Click here for recipe. To make this cake pareve just substitute vanilla almond milk or coconut milk for the regular milk the recipe calls for.  I recommend using Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder. It will not come out the same without a deep, rich cocoa powder.

Citrus Angel Food Cake from Zoe Bakes, Click here for recipe.

Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse from the New York Times, Click here for recipe.

Zucchini Bread from Food and Wine, click here for recipe. 

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

Note from Liz:

The power of social media never ceases to amaze and thrill me. I “met” Shannon through The Nosher, a great resource about Jewish food on My Jewish Learning. After following each other on twitter and FB for a good few months, we finally met for real over late afternoon tea and macarons on a frigid day in NYC.  A mutual friend, who first told me that I just HAD to meet Shannon, joined us for our first cup. We had lots to talk about. I felt relieved to have more than 140 characters in which to share all that excites us in the Jewish food world.  And I’m grateful to friends and readers who go out of their way to connect like-minded eaters.

I was honored to be highlighted in a Blogger Profile on Nosher, here.

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

12 cupcakes

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

This easy non-dairy recipe was shared by Shannon Sarna, blogger and content editor at THE NOSHER.

From Shannon: I have been making this recipe for sweet potato cake for years and people are always shocked when I share that the recipe is dairy-free. And now it’s your turn to wow guests with this sweet treat.

When paired with Martha Stewart’s simple Marshmallow Frosting Recipe it makes the perfect Fall dessert. And hey, this totally counts as a serving of vegetables, so have two.


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 40-50 minutes ofr until soft. Let cool.
  2. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out flesh. Place in a food processor fitted with a blade and pulse until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add pureed sweet potatoes, sugar and oil to a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture in batches; beat just until blended.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line and grease muffin tins. Fill muffin trays until 3/4 full.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out cool. Allow to cool.
  7. Make frosting.
  8. Pipe frosting in a swirl on top of each cupcake. Using a hand-held blow torch, gently drag the torch across the frosting, toasting the frosting until just lightly brown.


Find the recipe for Marshmallow Frosting by clicking the link provided in the post above.


  1. I feel the same way about pareve desserts. But when they are good they are really really good. That angel cake looks delicious, as do the cupcakes.

    Terrific writeup for you Liz. Mazal tov!

  2. I am always on the search for a new parve dessert! I cant wait to try these! I always find myself serving the same thing! I recently came accross and found a few keepers! Cant wait to try these!

    • I know Kim’s work and admire it also! Let me know how you enjoy these parve desserts. Feel free to email me or better yet, contact me on my FB page for Kosher Like Me.

  3. ALl of your recipes sound yummy! One of my pet peeves is when recipes call for “ingredients based on size”.. 2 medium sweet potatoes??? Does that come out to 2 cups? (See this a lot with banana bread recipes… 3 medium sized bananas! :( ) Please give me an idea as to how many cups or oz. when making your sweet potato cupcakes. Thanks! Nice article Nice pics!

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