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Monday, September 22, 2014

Gray's 1st Birthday: Spiced Applesauce Cake

“when i have said my evening prayer, 
and my clothes are folded on my chair, 
mama and papa switch off the light, 
i'll still be 11 months old tonight. 

 but from the very break of day, 
before the children rise and play, 
before the darkness turns to gold, 
tomorrow i'll be one years old… 
one kiss when i wake, 
one candle on my cake. 

 a goodnight kiss for the eleven month old 
to send him to sleep and to dreaming. 
and blessings to the one year old 
who'll be carried from bed in the morning.”

And so it happened. Today, on the first day of fall, our baby turns 1 year old. I've held this body and looked at this face change every day and night for 365 days. We have only been apart for an hour or so here and there. Gray has completed our family. It's a bittersweet ending to the infant chapter of life at our house. And, as the old story goes, it went by so fast.

Spiced Applesauce Cake
from Smitten Kitchen

For cake
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup walnuts (optional), toasted, cooled, and chopped

For frosting
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square or round cake pan. I had no trouble getting my cake out of a nonstick pan by just buttering it, but if you don’t have a nonstick cake pan or are a little nervous, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter that too.

Make cake: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts (if using). The batter will look a little curdly and uneven but don’t worry, it will all bake up perfectly in the end.

Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely. You can speed this up, as I always do, in the fridge.

Make frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated. Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.


  1. Oh, that darling poem caused me to burst into tears (yet again, according to my husband). My daughter (and first born!) is 6mos old *already* and while I joyously celebrate each day her growth and learning, my lower lip trembles with the thought of her being 'my itti-bitti' for only a short season...oh, gosh- okay, off to mop up these tears with some of that delicious comfort food you've posted!

  2. Athena - I couldn't agree more! Don't worry...she'll feel like a baby for a while. Sometimes my 4 year old still appears so tiny to me. Enjoy every minute! XO


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