We celebrated my kid’s first birthday over the weekend, and BOY if the day wasn’t a roller coaster of emotions. The mixture of pride and elation and nostalgia and exhaustion and pure joy… whew. All of the feelings showed up to the party.
In fact, over the past 365 days, I’m pretty sure I’ve emoted aaaaall of the emotions. Parenthood is both harder and better than I thought it would be, and this little boy of mine – this one year old (!) – with his happy, curious face, the one that looks up at me every morning and squeaks “hi!” from his crib, makes every moment (even the middle-of-the-night-wailing ones, the throw-up-on-my-new-shoes ones, the will-I-ever-sleep-again-please-please-please ones) so very worth it.
It feels like both a lifetime ago and just yesterday that Calder was placed in my arms for the first time, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment – both of us sizing each other up, his tiny hand wrapped around my finger, the two of us clinging to each other like our lives depended on it (they kind of did). Since then, he’s grown into a sweet and playful little boy with a coating of blond duck fuzz instead of hair on his head – a boy who drums on any surface he can reach (especially if he can use a set of spoons as drumsticks), delights in learning animal sounds (so far we’ve got “bahh,” “moo,” and “roar” on lock), wiggles on command (my favorite thing), loves croissants and feels lukewarm about avocados (go figure).
Happy birthday, little man of mine. You are ONE! What a wild and wonderful ride.
Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from One Pan & Done
I usually make this lovely, moist and supremely banana-y cake in a bundt pan (and sometimes add peanut butter to the frosting), but for this little birthday affair I thought cupcakes would be more fitting — in the end, I stretched the batter to make one small (6″) round cake (for the birthday boy) and 22 cupcakes. Feel free to use either a standard-size bundt pan, 24 regular cupcake wells, or two (9-inch) round cake pans. (If you make a bigger cake – a bundt or layer cake – adjust the bake time accordingly.)
- 5 ripe bananas
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips, plus extra for decorating (optional)
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 12-cup muffin tins (24 cups total).
In food processor or blender, blend the bananas, buttermilk, baking soda and salt until smooth and slightly bubbly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour and the banana mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour, stirring gently to incorporate. Fold in the chopped nuts or chocolate chips, if using.
Scoop the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pans and bake until a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before carefully inverting onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
While the cakes cool, make the frosting: beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until very smooth. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar, about ½ cup at a time, and continue beating until silky. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and mix well to combine. Taste the frosting and adjust; if you’d like a sweeter frosting, slowly incorporate more confectioner’s sugar.
When the cupcakes are completely cool, spread or pipe the frosting on top. Sprinkle a few chopped nuts, sprinkles or chocolate chips on top, to decorate, if you like.
Makes 24 cupcakes (plus maybe a few extra).