Category Archives: Our Family

Baby Birds’ Pumpkin Smash Cake with Cinnamon Frosting – Gluten Free and Low Sugar

I’m very excited to share the recipe I developed for a healthy and delicious pumpkin smash cake! Baby Bird’s Banana Smash Cake is one of my most popular posts on Pinterest and in search engines. It is a healthy cake with no refined sugar or artificial coloring. This year we went pumpkin picking to celebrate both our youngest Baby Bird turning 1 and Little Bird turning 3. So of course we had to have a PUMPKIN smash cake and pumpkin cup cakes. I kept the sugar low by using just half a cup of maple sugar. Although we are not gluten-free, so many of our friends are. To be perfectly honest: these came out BETTER than the traditional cup cakes I made for the guests.

Pumpkin Smash Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting - gluten free and low in sugar

The cinnamon frosting is mostly cream cheese with a little grass-fed butter. I wanted to use maple syrup to sweeten it, but we were out. I ended up using a little organic powdered sugar, but less than a quarter of what most recipes call for. Our pumpkin picking party fell on an unseasonably hot 100° day… the candy pumpkins on top of the smash cakes started melting. But the cake was delicious and I can’t wait to make it again! Maybe as a full-sized layer cake.

Healthy Pumpkin Smash Cake

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Smash Cake Recipe

Prep: Let all ingredients for the pumpkin smash cake sit out at room temperature. Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of 1 or 2 ramekins. Grease well with butter. Line a muffin tin with a dozen cupcake liners for the rest of the batter. Preheat oven to 350° F.

In the bowl of a good mixer, add:

  • 12 tablespoons of softened butter
  • ½ cup of maple sugar (brown sugar would also be nice)

Beat on high until light and fluffy. Add

  • 3 eggs, ideally at room temperature

Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each until well combined. Add

  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ cup of yogurt

Mix well. Add

Mix on slowest speed until just incorporated, then add

  • 2 cups of pureed, cooked pumpkin OR 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin (follow the instructions here if you want to cook the pumpkin from scratch – but I won’t tell anyone if you use the can…)

Mix until incorporated, then add

Scoop into the ramekins and any remaining batter into the muffin tin. Bake the muffin/cupcakes for about 15-20 minutes and the ramekins for about 40 minutes. Cool completely or even overnight before frosting with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.


If you follow this blog, you will know that I am all about making things from scratch. They only time I have mentioned using a mix for anything was when I made my own pancake mix to take camping! But I have to say, I loved using this gluten-free mix! I have had so many not so great gluten free baked goods, and tend to avoid them.  This mix is a household staple as Papa Bird uses it at least weekly for his special pancakes. It was nearly a year before I realized it was gluten-free! I am not affiliated with Pamela’s, although maybe I should be! I am an Amazon Affiliate, though, and do receive advertising fees for qualifying purchases made through links on this site. Thank you for your support!

4.5 from 2 reviews
Baby Birds' Pumpkin Smash Cake with Cinnamon Frosting - Gluten Free and Low Sugar
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten-Free
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A low-sugar, gluten-free pumpkin cake or cup cake recipe, perfect for a healthy 1st birthday party "smash cake."
  • 12 tablespoons of softened butter
  • ½ cup of maple sugar (brown sugar would also be nice)
  • 3 eggs, ideally at room temperature
  • ½ cup of milk
  • ½ cup of yogurt
  • 2 cups of Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice blend
  • 2 cups of pureed, cooked pumpkin OR 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
  1. Let all ingredients for the pumpkin smash cake sit out at room temperature. Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of 1 or 2 ramekins. Grease well with butter. Line a muffin tin with a dozen cupcake liners for the rest of the batter. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In the bowl of a good mixer, add butter and maple sugar. Beat on high until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each until well combined. Add milk and yogurt and mix well.
  3. Add 1 cup of Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix and the pumpkin pie spice blend. Mix on slowest speed until just incorporated, then add the pureed, cooked pumpkin. Mix until incorporated, then add 1 more cup of Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix.
  4. Scoop into the ramekins and any remaining batter into the muffin tin. Bake the muffin/cupcakes for about 15-20 minutes and the ramekins for about 40 minutes. Cool completely or even overnight before frosting with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.

Updates from the Baby Birds Farm

Hi friends! It’s been a while since I checked in. We have been busy this summer with Papa Bird growing his artist representation business (Burd and Co.) and me continuing my private practice in peripartum mental health (Abigail Burd, LCSW). Little Bird has been taking dance lessons, Baby Bird is sprouting teeth and eating everything we eat, and both girls are learning to swim (a good skill to have here in San Diego.) Last weekend we snapped a rare family photo at a friend’s wedding.

bird family

I wanted to share some recent articles of mine that have been published elsewhere, plus an interview that turned out great.

First: How to Keep Your Relationship Healthy After Baby explores my top 6 tips for healthy relationships on the website for my psychotherapy private practice. Useful not just for postpartum couples, but for any relationship.

strong relationship after baby

Next: I was interviewed by a writer friend. You may remember Gill’s excellent writing from this post. Her website focuses on well-done, in-depth interviews. I was honored she chose me. I guess she has always been curious about what therapy is like from the point of view of a therapist and she raised great questions.

Interview with Gill

Next up: A fresh salad idea featuring Strawberries, Salmon and Green Pickled Strawberries was featured on the Ergobaby Blog. You might remember the strawberry pickles from this post. I am still an affiliate of Ergobaby and use their carriers daily.

strawberry salmon salad

Finally: I launched a monthly newsletter for my private practice. You can read the first edition here. Next month will feature 6 daily habits for staying healthy and balanced. If you have any interest (or just want to support), please subscribe here:

Subscribe to the Abigail Burd, LCSW Monthly Newsletter

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Strawberry Picking and Green Strawberry Pickles

Strawberry Picking

Last weekend we celebrated Papa Bird’s birthday with a fun family day at Suzie’s Farm. They held their annual “Strawberry Jam” last Saturday and we all had so much fun, picking strawberries and eating yummy food. Little Bird loved apple picking as a tot and felt right at home with the plants and chickens.

strawberry picking

We started off picking organic strawberries. Every plant was filled with the most perfectly beautiful, sweet and flavorful berries. (At home, Little Bird tends to pick all of our strawberries while they are still green and small.) I did get some temporary hives from stinging nettles, but they went away.

strawberry picking

Next I sampled strawberry chutney, drank a strawberry and basil kombucha, and made green strawberry pickles with Austin from the San Diego Fermenter’s Club. Little Bird loves them. They are mild, slightly crunchy and have a hint of strawberry flavor. You can find the recipe for Green Strawberry Pickles here.

green strawberry pickles

Green Strawberry Pickles Recipe

After all that hard work, I was ready for a grass fed burger made with strawberry jam, and a beet and quinoa salad from Green Truck. The cold and windy weather discouraged our plans for eating ice cream from our friends’ Calexico Creamery, but we took home a pint of (what else?) Fresa and a pint of Mexican Cocoa. Little Bird and I hid out from the wind in a teepee and she gathered twigs and sticks to build a play fire.

organic strawberry jam

Check back tomorrow and I will share the best recipe for strawberry jam! It has hardly any sugar in it and no pectin. The only other ingredient is a lemon…

–> Update: Strawberry Jam now posted HERE.

All Lined Up…

It has been a little while since I posted. We have been busy! More on that below. Seeing all of our pretty green and brown eggs lined up into rows made me happy. (Our hens had stopped laying for a little while during the winter.)


Happily, I feel like a lot of other things are getting lined up over here at the Baby Birds Farm. I went back to work, Papa Bird started a new business, and I started a small private practice, focusing on maternal mental health.

In other news, my last post, on using the Bar Method to Prepare for Birth, had its fifteen minutes of fame. My local studio, Bar Method San Diego, shared the post on their Facebook page. That was nice, but not totally unexpected. Then, within  24 hours, other studios around the country and the National Bar Method page (with 20,000 followers) also shared the post. Here’s to all the happy Bar Method mamas! Hope they are encouraged, if I could have an easy, unmedicated birth, they can, too!

ps. If you aren’t following Baby Birds on Facebook, click here and do so now! If you already “like” the page, but don’t see a lot of my posts in your feed, you may have to like and comment on a few posts to let Facebook know that you want to see more of the posts. (FB is weird like that.)

The Birth of Baby Bird #2 from the Eyes of Our Doula

A note from Mama Bird: If you enjoyed our birth story in the last post, then I thought you might be interested in hearing about it from the point of view of our sweet doula, Karen Sousa. She wrote this sweet letter to our baby a few days after her birth and has given me permission to publish it here. You can learn more about Karen at her website and her Facebook page.

Doula Karen Sousa

This is the third post in a series on why and how I pursued an “all-natural” or medication- and intervention-free birth. I had an amazing experience and am now passionate about birth education and choices. I believe that all kinds of births are awe-inspiring miracles and life-changing experiences. I don’t believe that one kind of birth is necessarily better than any other. But I do believe that the current American medical system does not educate women and families on all the options that are available. Please check back for new installments in this ongoing series, which includes our birth story. Use the subscription box to the right if you would like an email notification when new posts are published.

Baby Bird’s Birth Part Three: From the Eyes of Our Doula 

A sense of relief and confidence bubbled up inside of me as I spoke with your Mom and Dad at their prenatal appointment. After a few questions and answers I could tell that they had what it takes to attain the kind of birth they had hoped for. It was your mother’s convictions verbalized with authority and your father’s intentions of protection. I know from experience, that will give a woman power to birth. I also know that the power of a woman’s mind is the most important variable. I instructed your sweet but strong momma to really believe in the tools the Hypnobirthing education would give her. That believing in that relaxation technique and truly practicing it now will surely pay off. And she sure must have listened!

Your mom was a relaxing master! I remember she called me in the afternoon of October 2nd 2013 with an explanation of what seemed to be some prelabor that came and went. I was excited! But I was remaining patient along with your patient mom to see what would happen next. She was going to try to sleep, but that didn’t work out so well. So then she went to make some food. I didn’t hear from her for a few hours so I figured maybe it was just a sign of something to really come in the next few days or so. Boy was I wrong! To the best of my knowledge, she was so good at relaxing, she must not have even known the power that was behind her surges. Surges that we would soon find out were quickly opening her cervix!

At 4:59pm we spoke one more time on the phone and I told her it seems early. Again, very wrong! The surges were only just beginning to be in a set pattern, they were about 6-8 minutes apart. I figured I would probably leave within the next hour depending on if it continued for that hour or not. Yet, while on the phone a surge came and I listened to her breathe through it. She said that they weren’t intense and that she was just breathing to get into the habit of relaxing through it. I wasn’t exactly convinced. I thought to myself, hmmmm I bet they’re more intense then she even realizes. I still couldn’t be sure but when she said for the last one she asked her husband to be with her, then it began to settle in. I started to get ready to leave and asked her to check in with me in an hour, but I was prepared to leave sooner. It’s hard to know when to go when those mommies are so strong they barely ask for help!

Sure enough only a couple minutes later at 5:05pm your Daddy called. He said, “She wants you to come now but no rush.” I still rushed J. My kids got picked up and I was out the door. I got to your house in the later part of the hour. On the way there your Dad texted me saying that she had thrown up. Good thing I was already on my way because little did we all know, she was already nearing the end! I quietly opened the door and saw your Dad there. I asked him if it was intense when she threw up and if he was timing the surges. He said he lost track of the timing because he had to help her when she was throwing up, understandably. This was my first sign that it was going fast. The next thing that happened wasn’t really a sign, more like a billboard.

I went into the bathroom and found your mom there in the tub. The first thing she said to me was “I feel like I have to push.” I turned and looked at your Dad and said, “okay, we should probably go,” as gently as I could because I’m sure he wasn’t expecting that. Your mom started to explain that she was pooping and not sure about the pressure she was feeling if it was poop or not. I asked her if she could feel your head, she said no. Hmmmm I though, could it REALLY already be time? I’ve never seen labor go so fast! So I asked her if she was feeling the pressure during surges only. Her reply was yes. I asked her if she had pooped much that day, she said yes. Okay I debated again, we might really need to go now. When your mom told me that she had a dream she was pushing the baby out in the bathtub and in her dream holding you in an ambulance, I thought, there’s that powerful mind! She then said “I feel like having this baby in the bathtub.” I responded, “Okay, well hunny I’m here for you. Are you sure that’s what you want?” Your dad asked what she said and I told him. That was a pretty awesome look on his face!

In my role as a doula I am not trained to deliver babies so it’s always safer to have a care provider there. I would hope to always make it to the hospital or make it to wherever there was a midwife or doctor. Yet, at the same time, I trust birth. I trust birth enough to say something like “I’m here for whatever you want to do.” Thankfully your Mom put the ball in my court and said, “I just want someone to tell me if I should hold back the poop or not.” I quickly responded, “Yes. Yes, you should hold it back until we find out what’s going on with your cervix.” It was still a little confusing trying to go back and forth between whether what she was feeling was just a bowl movement or if in-fact she had really already reached the end of her labor in such a record-setting time. Nevertheless, we played it safe and got in the car.

The car ride was very surreal. I was reminding your mom not to push. The amount of strength and control it takes to not push when a laboring mother is feeling pressure is like nothing else on earth. Yet she did it the whole way there. When we stopped at a red light, I looked around and saw no one coming the opposite way so I said to your Dad, “It’s okay to run it if you want to.” His protective instincts said no and I thought, good for him. He trusts his ability to protect his family. A young guy pulled up next to us, leaned out of his window and said, “Hey bro you know you’re hazard lights are on?” Your dad rolled down his window and took the opportunity to VERY proudly say, “Ya, thanks. My wife is pregnant. She’s having the baby now.” The young guy looked in the back seat where your mom was lying and said, “OH, well haul &*% dude!” I laughed.

“Music louder please,” she asked with grace and authority. I plugged in my phone to car’s speakers. I looked back again and again and continued to see your mom smiling between surges. Absolutely incredible, I thought. I have so much respect for her amazing strength because I have given birth undedicated and I have seen many others do it too. But never have I seen someone retain that much control at the end of their labor. She even held it together in the wheel chair as we went up to labor and delivery. I really tried to shush the annoying guy nurse who assisted us up. Believe it or not, this guy was trying to tell your mom a story about another woman who came in ready to push about a month before. I wouldn’t usually be so frustrated with someone so ignorant to a laboring woman’s needs. But guess what?! The woman he was talking about was a mother I was there helping that time too! He was just as interruptive then and unfortunately he still hadn’t learned his lesson. Yet again, you know who wasn’t frustrated? You guessed it, your mom. She remained so calm right up to the room they quickly put her in as they knew to expect her since we called on the way there. The midwife checked her YES! The report was fully complete and +2 station! Another surprise ran through my head, A +2 station while holding back pushing?! AMAZING! That means you were already so low; right about to crown. It went so fast that it is like a blur to me too. I knew where they kept the ice so I ran as fast as I could to get some. I came back and it couldn’t have been more the two pushes that your head emerged out. And then your body so quickly after. It was 6:59pm. You were given to your mother’s arms at that very moment. A few tears left my eyes as I enjoyed watching your parents love on you instantly. Your mom said to you, “my baby, baby, baby. I love you. I love you baby. I love you.” It was difficult for your Dad and I to adjust to what had just happened mentally. It’s like our hearts out grew our minds. I was in awe and mostly speechless.

Your parents remained strong even still. The nurses didn’t have a chance to read the birth plan, so they had to be assertive about what they wanted. No rubbing in vernix, delayed cord clamping, and allowing the placenta to deliver naturally without any pressure or cord traction. Now what happened shortly after has been blowing my mind for days still…

The midwife gave your mom two options. Either she was going to have to give her a shot of Pitocin to lessen the heavier bleeding or she was going to go into her uterus and scrape out what she expected to be blood clots. YOUR MOM CHOSE THE LATER! THAT’S how much she’s willing to power through anything as long as it’s best for you and her. She got through that with no less grace and strength as all that had transpired before. Quickly, and sort-of even at the same time, you began nursing. Both your mom and dad cheered you on as the watched in excitement you getting “the good stuff.” A little while later, they weighed you. Six pounds, fourteen ounces, nineteen inches long and “the perfect size for my body,” your Mommy proudly and faithfully stated. Soon after that I was able to quickly convince the staff to let us take your placenta for encapsulation. I left your parents after you all went to a different room to enjoy a night of baby cuddles and love. Thank you Mom, Dad, sister, and Baby for letting me be a part.

Congratulations on your blessed life little Bird!

Karen Sousa, your Doula


Part One: Why I Pursued an Unmedicated, Intervention-Free Birth
Part Two: The Surprising Birth Story of Baby Bird #2
Part Three: The Birth of Baby Bird #2 from the Eyes of Our Doula
Part Four: How My Mama Tribe Helped My Pregnancy
Part Five: How I Used the Bar Method to Prepare for Birth