Last week Calla turned one. I had envisioned her first party to be something magical. Decorations everywhere, a cute theme with matching food to nibble on, and a spectacular cake to smash and eat.
Time got the best of me, as it usually does, and the party went on in a smaller, simpler scale. A delicious carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for the guests, and an individual Carrot Frosted Cupcake for Calla to smash and taste.
Heirloom tomato & Boccocini salad, Quinoa Black Bean and Corn Salad, Greek Layer Dip, Spinach and Bacon Dip, Pasta Salad, some veggies, candies and Chocolates, and a few Pizzas ordered last minute, was the menu.
It was a warm September evening, friends and family mingled on the deck, and a few kids played amongst us. Calla, unaware the celebration was in her honor, had fun chasing the other kids, checking out the new toys and didn’t mind one bit as everyone watched her attack her cake inquisitively and lick the creamy sweet icing.
Over this last year, the phrase ‘this too shall pass’, has never rung so true. From laying, rolling, crawling and walking. To squealing, giggling, gibbering, laughing and talking. And of course, cuddling, playing, hiding and hugging. The moments pass too quickly. Change comes and more excitement is welcomed. Each day is fun. There is frustration, there are tears, some confusion, and doubt. But there is also pride in being a mom, joy in playing with Calla, gratitude in having a healthy little girl, and love. So much love.
The only thing I know about this next year is that it will bring more of the above, in greater amounts. I know there will be some hard days, and some incredible days. I don’t really know what to expect, but I can’t wait for it.
To Calla, the cutest, happiness little girl I know. I’m so proud to be your mom and so grateful to have you in my life. I love you! xoxo Mom
I went back and forth deciding what kind of cake to make for Calla. Healthy, no sugar, no fat, no excitement? Well a first birthday is a pretty special occasion, one that happens only once, and so we decided a little sugar would be fun. So we went with an incredibly moist carrot cake.
Carrot Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 2 – 9inch cakes
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups finely grated carrots
Preheat oven to 350F
Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter, then lightly flour them.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. In a large bowl, whisk sugar and oil until blended. One at a time, whisk in the eggs. Then combine flour mixture to wet mixture. Stir in carrots.
Divide batter between two cake pans, as evenly as possible.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester (or toothpick) inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until combined and smooth. Mix in vanilla and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar one cup at a time, and beat on high until light and fluffy. For a sweeter icing, add more sugar if desired.