“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.
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.
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
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!
Gluten Free Roasted Beet Layer Cake
1 cup organic almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup arrowroot starch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup half & half (or almond milk)
1/3 cup organic Agave syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
5 large eggs (local/cage-free)
1 cup roasted beet puree
1/4 cup organic melted coconut oil, cooled, plus more for greasing pan
1 teaspoons pure orange extract (or zest of 1 orange)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients until well combined.
Using a silicon spatula, slowly fold wet ingredients into dry until batter is wet and mixed well.
Grease an 8-inch springform pan with melted coconut oil. Pour in cake batter and level evenly with silicon spatula. Bake for 50-60, minutes or until a toothpick placed in the center of the cake appears clean. Let cool for 25 minutes.
Remove cake carefully from the springform pan and transfer to a plate. Place cake on a lazy Susan or a cutting board, and cut cake evenly in half using a long serrated knife. Set aside.
Roasted Beet Coconut Cream Frosting
1 (15oz.) can full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight
1 cup organic whipped cream cheese
1/4 cup roasted beet puree
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic confectioner’s sugar
Scoop out thick coconut cream from the top of the can of chilled coconut milk, and save the clear liquid for other uses. Combine the coconut cream and the rest of the ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until light, fluffy and combined.