If you’ve limited your baby’s sugar consumption during her first year, you may want to consider baking her cake at home (instead of picking it up at the local bakery) so you can better control the ingredients used. For a not-too-sweet—yet still super delicious—recipe for chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting, try this one on for size.
Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
1-1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1-1/4 cup low-fat vanilla or plain yogurt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups unbleached cake flour or all-purpose flour
1-1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting pans
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (we suggest sweet cream butter)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 cup powdered sugar
1-1/4 cups of fresh strawberries (hulled and halved), cherries (pitted) or raspberries
2-3 tablespoons of white or dark chocolate shavings
TO MAKE CAKE:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with oil or melted butter. Dust the pans with a some cocoa powder and tap out any excess. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add first 6 cake ingredients (applesauce through vanilla). Using mixer, beat on medium about 3-4 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients (flour through salt) and mix until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. Equally divide the batter between the 2 dusted cake pans. Use a spatula to help smooth and even out the batter.
Bake on middle oven rack for about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool in pans for about 15 minutes. Using a knife or spatula, gently loosen the layers from the pans. Turn each pan upside down onto wire racks. Remove pans and let the cake layers cool completely, about an hour.
TO MAKE FROSTING:
While cake is cooling: In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla, about 3-4 minutes, until soft peaks form.
Slowly add powdered sugar in 1/4 cup increments, continuously beating until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Chill in fridge until ready to assemble cake.
Once thoroughly cooled, place bottom layer of cake onto cake plate or serving platter. Place 1/2 cup (or more!) of frosting on top of the bottom cake layer. Use a knife or spatula to evenly distribute across the top. If using fruit, distribute pieces evenly across frosting. Place the remaining unfrosted cake layer on top of frosted bottom layer. Evenly distribute remaining frosting across the top and then around the circumference of entire cake. Optional: Sprinkle top of cake with white or dark chocolate shavings. Serve and enjoy the festivities!
Store refrigerated for up to 2 days.