I said I wasn’t going to be ‘that Mom.’
That Mom that makes her kid a naturally-sweetened birthday cake. Ugh. I kinda hate myself for this, except…these maple syrup sweetened cupcakes are DELICIOUS. You won’t even notice they’re not ‘normal’ cupcakes…you’ll just notice the deep maple flavor. Even the raw batter is lick-able. I like to think of them as ‘better for baby’ babycakes. Is the maple syrup sweetened coconut whipped cream on top too far? Wait, don’t answer that.
So, let’s back up. I’ve told you before that I didn’t read any parenting books before Camille was born. I only read books about how French children eat. Books like ‘Bringing up Bébé’ and ‘French Kids Eat Everything.’ All I knew is that I was NOT going to have one of those kids that only eats white foods. No no no. And I would never bring my kid to your house for a dinner party and pull out goldfish crackers and fruit snacks for Camille to eat instead of the homemade dinner you lovingly made. No no no again.
Anyway, those books told me that when you deny kids something (like sugar), they want it all the time. A little bit of the real thing in moderation sets them up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
I knew this.
And I’ve been denying her sugar anyway.
I just can’t do it. She’s such a good eater; I’m worried she’ll stop eating her vegetables once she tastes sugar. Truthfully, that is what’s holding me back.
When she was 7 months old, I was licking an ice cream cone with her on my hip. She leaned in for a lick. She enjoyed it, but didn’t beg for more. Then, when she was 10 months old, I was making oatmeal cream pies from my cookbook, and she was parked on my hip while I was smooshing the marshmallow filling between the cookies. Out of nowhere, she just went for it. Both hands grabbed that cookie, and she knotted up her fists around it and started shoving it in her mouth as fast as she could. I couldn’t really do anything but laugh. I felt like she earned it because she fought for it so hard and held it so tightly in those sweet little fists. I let her eat about 1/2 a cookie sandwich, which if you’re doing the math (and I totally am), it was a whole cookie plus marshmallow filling. And I stressed about it so much.
I tried to get over it. Then, at 11 months, I was eating this caramel carrot cake during snack time and she was eating something boring like peas. I gave her 3 little bites of the cake without the frosting. She liked it, and asked for more.
And here we are. A maple syrup-sweetened cake for baby. Well, at least it’s not whole wheat or gluten free, ok? I want her to know what real cake tastes like, after all. But side note: I did make these cupcakes for a kid’s second birthday and used white whole wheat flour, per request. It totally works here, but they do taste kinda blah because of it. When I make it with regular all-purpose flour, they taste like a real cupcake that you would buy at a bakery. Yes, they are that good.
The frosting? It’s nothing but whipped coconut cream and maple syrup. And it’s so good, I’d eat it off a shoe. I actually add it to my tea lattes during the afternoon sometimes.
I’m still feeling guilty, 600 words later.
My best friend Esther made her kid a watermelon cake frosted with yogurt and decorated with blueberries for his first birthday, and well, bless her heart. I think it’s neat. Esther’s kiddo had never had a drop of sugar on his first birthday. He probably still hasn’t! I wish I could be more like Esther.
But I’m not. I’m a sugar pusher, baked-good peddler, making-my-living in the sugar bin gal. And it’s time Camille found out.
And meanwhile, she was all ‘THANK YOU JESUS FOR THE CAKE!’
My little Southern evangelist, she is.
Serves 1 cupcake
Naturally sweetened maple syrup cupcakes for baby's first birthday cake!
15 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (grapeseed)
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 14-oz. can of coconut cream, refrigerated overnight
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 325, and line 8 cups in a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, beat with an electric mixer the melted butter and oil.
- Stream in the maple syrup and keep beating.
- Next, add the egg and beat until combined.
- Sprinkle the flour, baking powder and salt evenly over the batter, and beat just to combine for a few seconds, then add all of the milk at once.
- Beat everything until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
- Divide the mixture into the prepared cups.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- To make the coconut cream, you really should refrigerate the can overnight. And the bowl.
- When the cupcakes are totally cool, make the frosting: scrape all of the coconut cream out of the can and into a cold bowl (do not add the little bit of coconut water or juice in the can--just the thick, white cream).
- Beat with an electric mixer on HIGH until light and fluffy. Add the maple syrup, and beat to combine.
- Taste the frosting--if you want it sweeter, you're going to have to add powdered sugar because any more maple syrup will make it too thin. Sorry, bub.
- Frost the cupcakes and serve.