Roasted Beet Layer Cake with Coconut Beet Frosting & Red Currants

March 2015

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rohn

The Urban Farmer’s brother shared this quote with a vast room full of people. His goal was for them to reclaim their lives through health and nutrition. His motives were personal, his words eloquent, and his intentions honest. He used the quote to encourage his audience to align with others on the same nutrition track- a safety in numbers/accountability approach. I sat in the audience, considering some significant ties I had recently cut, and that quote resonated with me deeply. As it turns out, there’s a scientific/psychological truth to this idea of changing in response to our sphere of influence.

Roasted Beet Layer Cake with Beet Frosting & Red Currants //

I discovered this link while listening to an episode of Invisibilia entitled Entanglement (lately, I am a voracious podcast listener, and I highly recommend the series). The story starts by describing an episode of Candid Camera. A man enters an elevator alone. Two people join him and face the wrong direction. The original man looks puzzled, but continues to face the door. Then a third person joins the elevator and also rotates away from the door. This is the final straw that causes the original man to follow suit. This is called Conformity, and it’s when your mother might interject, “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”

However, as the hosts of Invisibilia described, “whether you want to or not, all day long, you are engaged in a kind of synchronized dance with the people with whom you come in contact.” Psychologists call this intense and rapid mimicry Contagion. We subconsciously imitate activities like breathing patterns, blinking rates, tones, fidgeting, etc. Animals do this as well. We are wired this way, primitively, but what’s really intriguing is how we take on each other’s emotions too. Psychologists call this Emotional Contagion. Our faces leak our emotions- fear, grief, shame, joy, etc- all transferred through tiny micro expressions. My mind returned to the Jim Rohn quote, and the Emotional Contagion theory added a whole new level to surrounding oneself with truly positive, uplifting people.

Roasted Beet Layer Cake with Beet Frosting & Red Currants //

I’m fortunate. The Urban Farmer and his people are good people. They love and support each other. They’re warm and welcoming. They care deeply for those around them. They’re the type of people you want to count amongst your five, to surround you, to influence you. Thus, when it came time for the Urban Farmer’s mama to celebrate another year of life, I wanted her celebration to be sweet, rosy and wholesome. This cake was for her.


Here’s to the Positive Influences!

Roasted Beet Layer Cake with Coconut Beet Frosting & Red Currants
(Gluten-free, Grain-free)

About This Recipe: My main goal for this cake was to create a dessert with a very low sugar content and to use coconut flour effectively (I had a major coconut flour FAIL recently). The combination of almond flour, coconut flour and arrowroot (crucial for a gluten-free recipe) yields a very light and spongey cake. The roasted beet adds a light sweetness. The whipped topping is naturally pink from a roasted beet puree making this cake a beautifully wholesome dessert!



Donut o’ the Month for @Jojotastic: Roasted Beet & Rosewater

February 2015

Fun fact about me: I’m pretty weird.

Some have politely called me “different” or “unique,” but when it comes to dancing around the kitchen like a crazy person, “weird” is probably the most appropriate word. Luckily, I have the Urban Farmer to add lyrics to my songs and moves to my dancing. You say “enabler,” I say “cohort.”

Roasted Beet Donuts by With The Grains 01

When frying donuts, there are timed increments (submerge, wait, flip, wait, remove, repeat). With so many donuts to fry, these increments collectively form a significant period of standing around and waiting. I might fill this period of time with dancing or making up songs about my dog, which I sometimes let slip in public. When it comes to making roasted beet donuts, I may dance and sing this song, pun very much intended!

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This installment of my kitchen dancing antics and my Donut o’ the Month series for Jojotastic was inspired by lingering Valentine’s sentiments. This holiday, filled with its fair share of clichés, makes me think of rosy hues, roses by the dozen, and red hearts filled with assorted mystery chocolates. Since last month’s donut featured chocolate, I focused on pink tones and roses. Not one for dyes, I channeled the hues and pun power of the beet, which made a most lovely and surprising bright pink crumb au naturel.

Roasted Beet Donuts by With The Grains 02

As for the Valentine’s Day rose cliché, I’ve tiptoed in the realm of rosewater treats, and I thought a rosewater element thematically appropriate. Tastefully, I was a bit skeptical, but the faint floral note is addictively delicious! One bite, and you too will be singing and dancing in your kitchen. We got the beet, we got the beet, go eat the beet….yeaaaah!

Roasted Beet Donuts by With The Grains 03

Roasted Red Beet Donuts with Rosewater Glaze (Gluten Free)

About This Recipe: Since the name of this blog is With The Grains, grains being plural, one of my recent goals is to explore a wider variety of flours. For this recipe, I chose Bob’s Red Mill’s Organic Brown Rice Flour, which makes this bright pink donut one for the gluten-free friends. However, all donut lovers will be happy to know, the crumb was still light and fluffy, so there’s no texture or taste sacrifices. Plus, the brown rice flour packs a lot of nutritional benefits, as do the beets!

Brown rice flour is high in protein, iron, fiber and vitamin B. It’s rich in manganese, which helps in the proper development of bones and cartilage. One serving of brown rice flour supplies more than 20 percent of the recommended amount of magnesium, phosphorus and copper, as well as 11 percent of potassium and more than 100 percent of manganese.

All that from a donut!


Go eat the beet!