Cupcakes, Balloons and the Birthday Girl (My New Favorite Chocolate Cupcake & Frosting Recipe)


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Towards the end of August, Baby K began counting down the days until early September…a very exciting time for her…K’s 2nd birthday. Each day, K would ask me to help cut off and read one of the birthday links on her colorful paper birthday chain (made by friends and family on her first birthday). Each message brought joy and smiles to both K and me as we read sweet notes that read something like “You make me smile” and “I’m so proud of you.” We glued each link into her notebook and counted how many days were left until her birthday.

Everyday she would sing, “Happy birthday to K, happy birthday to Mama, happy birthday to Dada, happy birthday to (everyone she knew),” followed by “Make a wish. Blow out candle. Take it off. Eat it. Yaaaaay!” (while clapping her hands). She couldn’t wait to celebrate! Everything in our house was a cupcake, a candle or birthday related. Her plastic strawberry toy was a strawberry cupcake. Her straw in her smoothie was a candle. Her play telephone was meant for calling her Nana, Papa or Grandma to invite them to her party.

Fingers crossed she wouldn’t request anything extravagant, I asked K, “What would you like for your birthday?” Without even thinking, she simply stated, “Balloons and cupcakes.” Grateful and relieved, I assured her we could have balloons and cupcakes for her birthday. Balloons and cupcakes? Easy peasy! Right? Well, the balloons were easy as she named the colors of the rainbow, all of which were available for purchase at our nearest party store. Cupcakes, on the other hand were a bit of a challenge once K described what she thought was a cupcake fit for her birthday (more like a queen!). Everyday she would ask me, “Mama make cupcakes for K’s birthday? Cho-lit (chocolate), raw-berry (strawberry) cupcake with ra-berry (raspberry), cho-lit frosting and sprinkle coconut on it.”


Finding a gluten- and grain-free cupcake without refined sugar was the first obstacle, and then to create some sort of frosting? Just researching alone took more time than I thought. After about three days of browsing through recipes, I found this Chocolate Cupcakes recipe on Elana’s Pantry, tinkered with it to make them just right (used organic virgin coconut oil instead of the oil called for and used 25% less honey than called for). And boy, were these babies AMAZING!!! Light and fluffy yet moist and chocolatey…I could eat one a day for the rest of my life…especially when topped with the buttercream frosting I whipped up. I thought…butter…cream…well, that’s easy! I literally creamed softened organic butter with my electric hand mixer and then added some cocoa powder and a drizzle of raw honey for the chocolate frosting and some fresh raspberries and a drizzle of raw honey for the raspberry frosting. Heaven in my mouth…and K’s! Once she tasted these (topped with coconut), she was more than satisfied with our flavor selection for the party.

We were only days away and K’s anticipation and excitement level grew. Her friend, baby M, gave K her first birthday gift of the year and it could not have been more perfect…a Melissa & Doug Bake and Decorate Cupcake Set! Now K was role-playing her birthday song and making wishes with these cute frosted wooden cupcakes in liners, even topped with candles! She was SO ready for her birthday celebration!!!

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A dozen rainbow colored balloons, party decor and 100 frosted cupcakes later, we were ready to PARTY!!! On her big day at her favorite Clover Park in Santa Monica, all K hoped and dreamed for on her birthday came true. That morning she picked out her pink, fluffy birthday dress (a hand-me-down we received only a few days before ~ what perfect timing!), our matching sparkly pink TOMS and proudly wore the birthday party hat I put together the night before. Family, friends, balloons, cupcakes and being surrounded by her loved ones singing “Happy Birthday” to her, K felt so special and overwhelmed with love. Her face was full of joy and minutes after her birthday song, chocolate and raspberry buttercream frosting! She couldn’t get enough of it…even after all five cupcakes she devoured (apparently some friends and family decided to sneak them over to her, all of which I thought was one of the two cupcakes she originally had)!


It was a very special day for K and thanks to her friends and family (and her Grandma’s videoing of the birthday song and K eating her cupcakes), this day will always be remembered by the birthday girl.


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