Eating Local for Urban Families. Gluten-free and Dairy-free, too!

Sunday, June 3

Baby's First Chocolate Cupcakes

I’m not going to whine and sob about how my baby—my last baby!—is now a year old and then not even really a baby anymore! And she’s walking! And yesterday she said, “Da’nt UP!” Which means, “I want up!” Even her sister, the QUEEN of gab and sass, wasn’t talking this early.

But seriously. For some reason this birthday didn’t hit me with all sorts of panic and regret that I will never hold my own newborn babe in my arms again. Maybe I'm learning to live in the moment. Or maybe I was actually was looking forward to an excuse to have a bunch of people over, play hostess, and watch the kids go crazy in the kiddie pools.

I really like to make a big deal out of my kids' birthday parties. It's the only kind of party you can throw that’s expected to be unsophisticated, loud, with tons of sugary food and no fancy hors d'oeuvres. Compared to say, a dinner party with only real grown-ups and kids sent over to grandma’s house, it’s very low pressure.

This was my third kid birthday party and this time I actually felt like I knew what I was doing. I did an Evite instead of paper invites. I didn’t do balloons. The goody bags only had a little candy and a little plastic crap. The house was clean hours before guests arrived. My mom and I made a salad and we put out a cheese and pesto torta (these always make me feel so fancy). I actually got the cupcakes made the day before and frosted them after the kids went to bed.

But no, I didn’t make them from scratch. I’m still too intimidated to try gluten-free baking. Too much chemistry! Instead I used a gluten-free boxed chocolate cake mix from Cherrybrook Kitchen that I tested out over Mother’s Day. I really thought I’d never find anything as good as Pamela’s mixes, but this one was even better. Not too sweet, with a deep, dark chocolate flavor. Moist, but not oily. The frosting—I made it with margarine—was a little salty, but I decided it was a nice contrast to the cupcake itself. And not only is it gluten-free, it’s dairy-, eggs- and nut-free, too.

And the birthday girl, of course, thought they were delish.

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