Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Carrot Cupcakes for My Sweet Little Birthday Girl

One year ago today I held my sweet little Ellis Lily in my arms for the first time.  She was so perfect, everything so tiny and still covered in soft tufts of hair.  We spent the first week of her life in the hospital, waiting not so patiently for her jaundice to improve so we could take her to her new home.  I could only spend a few minutes with her every 2-3 hours and I cherished every one of them.  She would snuggle so closely to me and I would marvel that  this little girl was mine.  How could I have gotten so lucky to have two gorgeous children is still beyond me.

Ready for her cupcake

During the first two months of Ellis' life, she did what most babies do; she ate and slept.  Sure she fussed a little in the evenings, but she was such an easy baby.  I would constantly brag that having two small children wasn't that hard, what was all the fuss about?  I would soon come to eat my words.  At two months colic hit Ellis and our family like a ton of bricks.  For the next two months the soundtrack to our lives was Ellis screaming.  If she was my first I would have holed up in my apartment until it passed, but I had my son Liam to think about so we tried to go about our lives as best we could.  Ellis screamed at the park.  She screamed bloody murder in the car.  She screamed at playdates, and everywhere in between.  And then finally at four months the fog started to lift and I finally started get to know and understand this little person.

Ellis is a little cuddler, when I ask her for a hug she puts her arms around my neck and squeezes tightly.  She loves to curl up against me at night, and when she wakes I can see her big eyes looking up at me to make sure I'm still there before settling back in.  Ellis loves music.  'Music' was her first sign and she loves to dance at her music table.  She adores her big brother, her eyes light up when she sees him and she follows him around all day.  She always wants to be a part of what he's doing, and bless him for the most part lets her.  She laughs at all his antics.  Watching them play and laugh together is one my most favourite things in the world.

Hmmm, what is this lovely thing?

Ellis is a mama's girl.  She wants to be in my arms all day long.  This can get a bit annoying when I'm trying to make dinner, but when she crawls towards me at top speed with a huge toothy smile on her face I can barely stand the cuteness.  She loves her Daddy to bits too, and smiles from ear to ear when he walks through the door at the end of the day.

Yup, she's her mother's daughter

Ellis is a sensitive girl.  The slightest thing not going her way will bring forth the most sorrowful cries you've ever heard.  She has so many moods which are written all over her face, she has the most expressive eyes (and eyebrows, haha) I've ever seen.  Everyday I am thankful that she is part of my life and that I get to watch this gorgeous creature grow up.

For her first birthday I made her some yummy carrot cupcakes, which she, and the rest of the family, thoroughly enjoyed.

Best and Easiest Carrot Cake
from Nick Malgieri

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
4 large eggs, at room temp
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 pound carrots, rinsed, trimmed, peeled, and grated
3/4 cup walnut or pecan pieces, coarsely chopped (I left these out)

24 prepared muffin tins

Set rack in middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. 

Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to mix.  Set aside. 

Place brown sugar in mixing bow and use large rubber spatula to work in eggs one at a time.  Whisk in the oil. 

Whisk in the dry ingredients about 1/3 at a time.  Use a large rubber spatula to mix in carrots and nuts.

Divide batter into prepared muffin tins, bake until risen and firm, about 20 minutes.

After about 5 minutes remove from muffin pans and let cool completely on wire racks.  Once they are cool, frost!

Cream Cheese Frosting
From Baked Explorations

3 cups confectioners' sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until is completely smooth.  Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until smooth.  Be careful not to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.  (The filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover the bowl tightly and put it in the refrigerator.  Let the filling soften at room temperature before using.) 


  1. Happy Birthday to Ellis! Your carrot cupcakes are perfect for this special celebration. It is always nice looking back to the day that Ellis was born...I do that too when I celebrate my son's birthday...

  2. Happy birthday to your little one! Great dessert to celebrate such a big milestone, plus it's healthy, right? :)

  3. I love this post! So sweet. Cupcakes look great.

  4. Happy Birthday, beautiful!!! You're adorable! And Mama's cupcakes are delicious!

  5. Aw, happy birthday to your little one. Great cake and gorgeous child!

  6. Happiest birthday to your little one! I love that you made her a 'healthy cupcake'! My children are grown and flown and I sometimes miss those toddler days fiercely!

    Just got Nick Malgieri's book, BAKE and am really liking it. Are you a fan? I like his tutorials on handling dough and breadbaking.

  7. Aww what a sweet post! Happy Birthday to your little girl. The carrot cupcakes look sooo good! :)

  8. Your daughter is beautiful and happy birthday to her! I found you through Sweet as Sugar Cookies and am your newest follower! Looking forward to seeing more wonderful recipes. Your cheese danish looks killer! :)


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