Happy Birthday, Jessica and Pooh Bear!

14 Oct

Today is Winnie the Pooh’s birthday. I’m not sure if it’s his exact birthday, since he started as a child’s stuffed animal and then became a character in A. A. Milne’s beloved book series, but October 14 is often recognized as his birthday because it is the date of the first printing of the original book. I’ve been a Pooh Bear lover for a very long time (the classic Pooh; not so much the Disney Pooh). When Madison was born, I couldn’t wait to paint a classic Pooh mural on the wall of her room. And when she outgrew it 5 or 6 years later, I was almost in tears as her new favorite color of paint was rolled over Pooh and his friends.

Today is also my niece Jessica’s 13th birthday. She’s officially a teenager! Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday she was having a Little Mermaid birthday party with her cute little party hat on. This year, she’s going shopping at the mall with a friend to celebrate her big day. Happy Birthday, Jessica! Hope your day is fabulous!

In honor of these two sweeties, I baked some cupcakes today. (What?! More baking?! My husband will be wondering who I am and what I did with his real wife!) But these aren’t just any old cupcakes. These are moist, delicious honey cakes! There’s nothing Pooh Bear loves more than honey, you know. They are lightly spiced with sweet apple undertones. Topped with frosting, they make a perfect birthday party treat or after-school snack. Or, skip the frosting and drizzle with a little honey to serve with brunch. Fabulous!

Honey Cakes
makes 1 dozen

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs (try substituting Ener-G egg replacer for vegan cakes)
1/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups grated apple (peeled)
1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat together the brown sugar and applesauce. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Blend in honey and vanilla. Stir in the grated apple.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Slowly add to the sugar mixture while blending with the beaters on low, until it’s all incorporated. Divide batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Bake until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of one cake comes out clean, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Cool a few minutes in the pan then move to a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting. Top with vanilla or cream cheese frosting, or drizzle with honey. Enjoy!

The Classic Pooh wall mural I painted. This was taken before the curtains were hung or any furniture was moved in.

p.s. It’s also National Dessert Day!

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