Last week, we celebrated one year with our little Willa, one trip around the sun. She had several low-key--though hardly quiet--celebrations, filled with good seasonal fun. Autumn is a such a great season for parties, isn't it?
In one party, we pressed apples into cider, grilled our dinner, celebrated several birthdays and kept the kids from climbing into the campfire. On our family day, we hunted pumpkins, got lost in a corn maze and opened presents, with lots of brotherly help. Twice we enjoyed pumpkin cake, yummy despite its lack of dairy. There were some handmades, though I don't have pictures of them yet. I made her a sweet little gnome doll (following instructions here and here) which is beginning to get some loving (which, in her world, means chewing. Mouth time. Serious mouth time.)  We all collaborated on some tree branch blocks, which are thus far played with more by Finn, until Willa becomes--as Finn calls her--the destroyer. It is at this point that we have to remind Finn that they are, in deed, her blocks.
She took it all in, eager and happy to be with people. And we were oh so happy to be with her, our miss girl.

Update: I decided that this would be as good a place as any to record the pumpkin cake recipe we used and all really enjoyed, so that I can find it again next year, or next time the pumpkin cake urge strikes. The one problem with so many cookbooks around here (so, so many. For years I justified it as part of my job, and then just as I was leaving King Arthur they were cleaning out their library, and how could I turn down free wonderful cookbooks?) As I was saying, the problem is that I don't always remember which pumpkin cake is the one I like. Not that I generally restrain myself to following just one recipe, anyway. You can see why I might need a system. 

So this is what we did, an amalgamation of several recipes, made dairy free for Willa and nut free for Matt (no allergy, just a preference. I think some walnuts would be the perfect thing to break up all the sameness of the texture. Maybe if it was black walnuts from our yard he would let me do it, just in the interest of, you know, local food and all. I'll have to work on this.) It couldn't have been simpler, made "muffin-style": mix the wet, mix the dry, stir together, bake. Still plenty sweet, but less so than many cakes. Just right for all-day nibbling.  

Willa's Birthday Pumpkin Cake 

4 eggs 
1 cup liquid coconut oil (ours stays solid at room temp these days, so I have to warm it slightly to get it liquid. I also make sure to use room temp eggs instead of ones straight from the fridge.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups (1 can) pumpkin puree
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350, and grease a bundt pan. Beat the eggs, oil, sugar and pumpkin until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, then stir them together, just until mixed. Pour into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Keeps very well, if you can keep your hands away from it! 

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