First Year Chocolate Birthday Cake

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That's my word to describe my first year with Dylan. I think I say this just about every post, but how has time flown so quickly!? How is it almost fall again,  wasn't it just winter? And um, how is my daughter ONE?! 

I don't think I fully understood motherhood until I was knee deep in it. And to be completely honest, I'm still in disbelief that I'm a mother. But at the same time, I can't remember my life before her.

What is it about the first year that makes it so memorable and such an emotional feat when you make it 365 days? Is it the sleepless nights you had maybe one too many of? You feel like you need a trophy for getting through it - all with the appearance that you are refreshed and awake! When in reality you just need a nap. Is it the accumulation of everything you have learned? I think I googled or read just about every little thing that would happen because I had no idea what was going on. Now I feel like an expert in the field. Ezcema, clogged duct, spitting up, hives, hiccups, ear infection... ah yes, totally been there!!  

Or, I think its because each month was such a milestone. First time they smile, then laugh, then roll over, then sit up, then stand, first food...first steps. It's all an emotional roller coaster.  My husband and I would clap and smile as each milestone hit, but then in the back of my mind, I was a bit sad that the infant days were so fleeting. They wouldn't be that small ever again. The stages - though feels long in the middle of the night - are so short and they are gone before you get around to print off pictures of your baby! Before I know it, I have a little girl standing next to my leg, tugging at my skirt.  

There are SO many highs in the first year. But it's not without lows or moments of doubt. And to every new mom I talk to, who is struggling through those first days, I'm instantly pulled back to my first nights with Dylan. I remember holding her and walking around her room rocking her to sleep for what was pretty much the entire night in those first few weeks of her life. I remember thinking to myself "Okay, this is what my life will be like now." And "Oh, this is why they say that parents don't sleep the first year." But, you know what?  It gets better. IT. GETS. BETTER. Those sleepless nights are not forever.  The babies begin to sleep more, the parents find their groove. And before you know it, you're celebrating the first birthday. And suddenly these hard moments you had, now those don't seem that bad. Maybe it's because you only remember the important things. You only remember how GOOD it all was. Because it was SO GOOD. 

And the best thing? Every parent has their own story. Each of our little ones are different. One parents' struggle or hurdle is not another parents. One parent is probably reading this and their kid slept through the night from day one. But their hurdle was something different. Or maybe it was something so tough that a sleepless night is nothing compared to their hurdle. And that is an important thing I've had to learn. That we cannot compare each other because we are all different. But that's what makes each little one so special! We all have our own story but all still share a bond. We all are here to support each other's journey. 

Okay, now on to the cake...

We celebrated Dylan's birthday in Forest Park; where we spend most of our days. Where we go on runs and walks daily. I like to think it's her favorite place! It sure is ours.  

Dylan may not remember this birthday, but we sure will. I was an emotional wreck that week of her birthday. Mostly because I was just in disbelief.  Why can't I hold on to those baby days forever?   

I made a small 6-inch cake for Dylan. Thinking she would dig in, but she just licked the icing off the top and then had some bites of the cake. Granted, she tasted lots of rounds of this cake before her big day, so maybe she was not impressed. "Mom, I've had this before..." Yeah, Yeah, Yeah...  

If you want a birthday cake with not a lot of refined sugar and yogurt instead of oil - make this! I made so many test batches of this little cake and I finally got it right. This recipe will make one 6-inch cake OR 12 cupcakes!  And this whipped frosting recipe is the best! Light and fluffy and not loaded with butter and sugar. And surprisingly SO EASY!  Which as a new mom, I NEED easy. Like, all the time. I only do easy now.

First Birthday Chocolate Cake

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup organic white sugar

  • 1 cup plain regular yogurt (I do not recommend Greek yogurt in this recipe - it will be too dense)

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour


  1. Place two 6-inch cake pans on parchment paper, circle around with a pencil, then cut out each circle. Place cut outs inside each cake pan. Coat pans with cooking spray or butter and dust with cocoa powder, shake out extra. Set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, maple syrup and sugar and whisk until well incorporated. Add yogurt, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, salt and whisk to combine, about 30 seconds.

  3. Add cocoa powder and whisk until well mixed. Add flour and whisk until smooth and well combined. Do not over-mix but whisk until smooth consistency. Divide batter between the 2 prepared cake pans and bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Check it around 17 minutes and see how it is baking.

  4. You can also make this in cupcake tins and fill the batter into 12 cupcake tins and bake for 15-17 minutes.

  5. When the cake is baked and cooled, prepare the whipped cream and frost the cake.

  6. You can also individually wrap and freeze the unfrosted cakes until ready to use (up to 3 months), just let thaw completely before frosting.

Maple Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or coconut cream

  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup

  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


  1. In a mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk all of the ingredients until fluffy and a whipped cream consistnecy.

  2. Frost cake.

  3. If you are frosting cupcakes, place whipped cream in a pastry bag or plastic bag with one corner cut off. Then pipe the whipped cream on to cupcakes.

Here are some photos from the party taken by the amazing, Amanda Wilens of Feed Me With Amanda!


Happy Birthday Dylan!