My daughter, Willow, had her 4th birthday yesterday. Yes, on Thanksgiving. She was actually born the day after Thanksgiving, but it's going to happen sometimes that the 25th falls on the holiday.
I'm never very excited for Thanksgiving for various reasons, so it was a simple thing to skip it altogether and give the day over to celebrate Willow's arrival.
Here's the story of Willow's birth, which we tell her every year.
The day before she was born, I had an emergency wisdom tooth extraction, while I was in early labor. That was an interesting experience, so interesting that I have no intention of having the other one removed unless and until I have a visible infection that's eaten through my jaw and given me blood poisoning.
After the dentist, I had Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws, contracting all the while. Then I had a serious discussion with the unborn Willow in which I explained that I'd had theater tickets for months so could she please stay in there until the next day? She obliged, so Jeremy and I got to see Carol Lynn Pearson's Facing East.
We went home that night and tried to get as much sleep as possible. I woke up around 3 am, contracting too much and too often to sleep. I put on some music and set about cleaning the house. Jeremy got up a while later and started filling up the birthing tub, but I had no intention of sitting quietly through this birth. Instead I started pacing, faster and faster around our small apartment.
I labored through two more hours, and then Willow's heart-rate plummeted. She was tangled in her cord and had stopped descending. The midwife moved me to the bedroom, where I laid down on the bed while she quickly assessed the situation. After some adjustment, Willow's heartbeat normalized, and a short time later, she delivered herself into her father's hands.
She was born like a tornado and she's been our Hurricane Girl ever since. She's funny and loving, ferocious and confident. She makes me laugh every day. She makes me crazy. She's the apple of my eye.
We keep birthdays simple in our home. A single gift, thoughtfully chosen -- their favorite meals all day -- a special activity -- and a cake. This year I made a pumpkin spice cake.
As I've mentioned many times, I'm suspicious of gluten-free baked goods -- most of the time they amount to little more than starches glued together with sugar and xanthan gum, which barely qualifies as a food. But I wanted to share this cake, and I was too nervous to try anything else, so I went with a baking blend and a basic recipe. The cake turned out better than I expected -- moist, delicious, and fragrant. It's still a bit high in sugar, but it's a treat. Willow loved it, and it was perfect with vanilla ice cream.
Happy birthday to Willow!
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese
1 1/2 c. pumpkin puree
3 pastured eggs
2/3 c. unrefined brown sugar (Rapadura)
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. pastured butter or coconut oil, melted
2 t. vanilla
2 c. gluten-free flour blend (I used Namaste)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. powdered ginger
1/2 t. salt
maple cream cheese:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 T. pastured butter, softened
3 T. maple syrup
3 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a Bundt pan and set aside.
Beat together the wet ingredients until well-mixed. Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl, then beat into the wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix. Pour into the prepared Bundt pan.
Bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool until ready to frost.
Process the drizzle ingredients in a blender or food processor. Turn out the cake on a large cutting board. Drizzle the cream cheese over the cake. Serve at room temperature. Garnish with crushed walnuts or pecans, if you wish.