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Magnolia Cupcakes


I need your help.

You see, my husband and I have been having a big debate.

Our baby girl is turning one in just a few weeks. I’ve been looking forward to taking that messy picture of her.

You know… the one with cake and icing all over her face. That priceless picture that will forever celebrate the fact that my husband and I made it one whole year with a kid.

My husband agrees that she can have a cupcake… but here’s the kicker… he doesn’t want her to have any icing. WHAAAAAAAT?

How can you have a cupcake with no icing? Is that even legal?

He thinks that’s way too much sugar for her.


But…. a few Sunday’s ago I made some whole-wheat pancakes. I cooked up a little one for M, cut it up, and gave to her for breakfast.

My husband was appalled that I gave her a pancake without any syrup. He was acting like I had broken some sort of cardinal rule.

My reply… “Our daughter can have syrup on her pancakes but no icing on her cupcakes?!”

Moving on…..


Every Friday I meet with my Mommy Happy Hour group. I hosted this past Friday.

One of our boys celebrated his first birthday… so naturally, I made cupcakes.

Having never made cupcakes from scratch before, I turned to the tried and true recipe used by Magnolia Bakery in NYC. They have some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever tasted.

I made the classic Vanilla on Vanilla. I threw a little coloring in the icing for some fun.

You can get the recipe for the icing here, and the recipe for the cupcake here.

I didn’t have a pastry bag so I just used the ziploc bag method where you snip the corner and use it as a pastry bag.

They were delicious!


So… what’s your opinion in the icing debate?

I’m not a fan of regularly giving a child sugar… but its her birthday…. maybe I can put a thin layer of icing on hers?

34 Responses

  1. Jessica @ How Sweet said on April 28, 2010 at 8:54 am

    It’s a birthday! Give the baby some sugar! I’m probably not the best to ask.

    (Plus, you need to get pics with the icing all over her face. :))

  2. Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly said on April 28, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Those look delicious! As for the icing debate…it is her 1st birthday for goodness sakes! It happens ONCE and she onlt has ONE birthday a year…give the cutie some icing!!!

  3. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said on April 28, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Syrup yes, icing no? That’s a total double standard. Maybe you can ice the cupcake with maple icing?

  4. Mia said on April 28, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Give the child icing! When you and your husband celebrated your 1st birthday were you not given cake with icing? Not only does she turn 1 only once in her life, but you don’t feed her sugar everyday, right?
    I make a lot of smash cakes for one year old birthday parties. Every single one of them has enjoyed the celebration even if they mainly just play in the icing rather than eating it. 🙂

    • Estela - Weekly Bite said on April 28, 2010 at 9:43 am

      My husband and I both have pictures of us on our first b-day with icing 🙂 I agree! This only happens once in her life 🙂
      And we don’t give her much, if any sugar at all… so I think it should be okay 🙂 Hopefully all of your comments will convince my husband 😉

  5. Leah @ Simply Fabulous said on April 28, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Yes, she definitely should have icing! It will be so sweet to see it all over her face…she’s turning 1. She doesn’t have it everyday. I say do it 🙂

  6. adrienmelaine said on April 28, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Give her the icing! You probably had the icing when you were younger and happened to turn out just fine. I think giving a child sugar on special occasions isn’t a problem, it’s when they get it all day any day of the week that problems start happening.

    One of my friends realized she hadn’t given her little girl an ice cream cone, so at 4, she got her first one and didn’t eat the cone because she didn’t know what to do with it.. much to my girlfriend’s delight! haha

  7. carolyn said on April 28, 2010 at 10:24 am

    you can tell him another RD voted for frosting! besides, doesn’t that make for the cutest messy pictures? love that orange color!

  8. Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries said on April 28, 2010 at 11:06 am

    While I am generally an advocate for limiting sugar, IT’S HER BIRTHDAY! I’m turning 27 tomorrow and can’t wait to devour sweets with delicious frosting! It’s a day for a special treat!! And, you need the pictures! They’re so memorable!

  9. Gelareh @ Nutritious Foodie said on April 28, 2010 at 11:23 am

    These cupcakes look really good.

    I have to be honest and say.. since we don’t have a kiddo I don’t know how i feel about giving kids sugary stuff… I think really a mom knows better. But I do agree that everything and anything in moderation is ok.

    I have to admit that I love my cake/cupcake with lots of icing 🙂

  10. Aunt Cindy said on April 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Given I don’t know about the nutrional value, or lack thereof, but how about some sugar-free Cool Whip? It would still give the “messy” effect.

  11. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman said on April 28, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I think cupcakes without icing is considered child abuse in most states. Besides, she’ll probably get more on her face than in her mouth. At least it’s out there on the Internet forevermore, so she’ll know this debate existed by the time she’s Web savvy (which is like 6 nowadays) and will know who to blame for the icing-free celebration!

  12. Granny Deb said on April 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    If he still says no then Granny Deb will bring them (with pink icing of course…..) !

  13. Granny Deb said on April 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Can’t wait to see our little angel !

  14. Morgan said on April 28, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    a first birthday cupcake without icing is no fun!!!

  15. Dawn (HealthySDLiving) said on April 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I think icing is a REQUIREMENT on a 1st birthday! 🙂

  16. Beth @ DiningAndDishing said on April 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Give her the icing!!! A little sugar won’t hurt and it is her special day after all! Totally on your side for this one :).

  17. Heather (Heather's Dish) said on April 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    i’m definitely for the icing…it’s not a regular occurrence, and how else are you going to get “THE PICTURE”?!?

  18. Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) said on April 28, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Those look perfect! Wow!
    I would give it to her….I mean, really how much of it is she going to eat? A few bites? And it is her bday! 🙂

  19. Nicole, RD said on April 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    A CUPCAKE WITH NO ICING!? What!? Isn’t it just a muffin then? 😉 She should have the icing, most definitely! They look wonderful!

  20. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) said on April 28, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I think she needs to have icing of some sort! You have to have that picture. Do you give her cream cheese or pudding? You could do cream cheese icing with less sugar or sweetened with maple syrup. If you give her pudding, you could make it thicker than normal. Maybe it is just the “sugar” that he has a problem with. Sweeten the icing with something like maple syrup and it is win win!

    Thanks for your comments today! I am so glad that I inspired you with the muffins and I can’t wait to see what you came up with. Inspiration is what it is all about and I am totally flattered! Can’t wait to see what you decide on with the icing!

  21. cassie said on April 28, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    ummm, i’m all for cupcake with icing 🙂 there’s no other way around it.. it’s her birthday..

  22. Maryann @ Raise Healthy Eaters said on April 29, 2010 at 12:24 am

    My son just turned one and we let him have cake with icing. It’s funny to watch and great for picture taking. They really don’t eat much of it anyway. Tell him it’s no big deal!

    I don’t put syrup on his pancake either!

  23. lynn @ the actors diet said on April 29, 2010 at 2:46 am

    magnolia is terrific – my friend used to work there and i used to be able to skip the line and get a WHOLE BOX for free. it was insanity. plus their banana pudding….goodness….

    i’m not sure what i would do in your situation – i am a firm believer in not “restricting” but then again, i’m not a mommy!

  24. mrs ptb said on April 29, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Great minds think alike! We posted about the same exact cupcakes on the same day! Ha! Give her icing! All one year olds should enjoy that!!

  25. Mo said on April 29, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I say give her the icing! (That shouldn’t even be a question. 🙂 Ava has already had a taste of cake with icing at a friend’s birthday. And you know what, she still loves her veggies, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, etc. even though she has had the sweet stuff. I think if we don’t make a big deal out of it, they don’t know that it’s “forbidden.”

  26. Anna@ Newlywed, Newly Veg said on April 29, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Give her the icing!!! Definitely! 🙂

    Beautiful pics, too!

  27. polwig said on April 29, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    First of all you never know how a 1 year old is going to react. My twins were frantically scared of their 1st year cake but did devour their 2nd bday cupcake. Then there is a question of WHAT ICING? you can make it better by making it cream cheese frosting, or sweeting it with honey or agave (she is 1 she can have it)… It is her Birthday and a special day… have her decide… most likely she will eat the cake not the icing… next year is a whole new ball game.
    P.S. I did not get that frosting shot unless you count a picture of one speck of blue frosting on my son’s finger as he screams a cake photo.

  28. Nicole @ Making Good Choices said on April 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I think you should go for it, especially if you are making the icing yourself and can control what goes in it. I can’t wait to see adorable pics 🙂

  29. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said on April 29, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    put it on her tray. if she eats it and takes more, she likes it. if she doesnt, then she’s being intuitive. give her the choice. all of a tiny little bit’s worth, ya know!

  30. Jenn ( said on April 29, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Oh, heavens, yes! Let the child have icing. She’s only 1 year old, but these are her most perceptive years. I wouldn’t introduce unhealthy relationships with food. Special occasions, like birthdays, are definitely the way to practice moderation. I think that being too restrictive can lead to unhealthy habits due to feeling deprived and feelings of resentment.

    If I’m ever fortunate enough to have a child, I would definitely let them enjoy various foods and the importance of staying active. Over-thinking things like cupcakes isn’t necessary, IMO. 😀


  31. sophia said on April 29, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    lol, what kind of twisted logic is that? Syrup but no icing? Perhaps he’s confusing syrup with maple syrup or agave nectar. I say let the dear chld have her icing! It’s just one day, and what a priceless picture that will bring!

  32. Naomi (onefitfoodie) said on April 30, 2010 at 5:34 am

    haha syrup on ‘cakes but no icing on cupcakes?! yes hes crazy indeed!! wow those look deicious! 🙂 and beautifully made!!

  33. Carolyn said on April 30, 2010 at 11:26 am

    No icing? Is that even an OPTION? It’s one cupcake and besides with all the smushing and mashing and playing M really won’t be eating all that much of it. Tell him to let her live a little, she’s only 1 once!!