Sprinkle Cake and Turning Thirty

One of the values of The LovingKind is to celebrate well, so as I, and several of my friends, are turning thirty this year, celebrating well is exactly what we have been doing! Instead of the common complaints about getting older and woefully bidding your twenties farewell, we have approached this new decade with excitement and expectancy.

 All photography by  Jacob Blount

All photography by Jacob Blount

Perhaps Jennifer Garner’s character in “Thirteen Going on Thirty” said it best with her mantra “thirty, flirty and thriving.” While these days I focus all my flirting on just one cute boy, “thriving” is exactly what I and my friends intend to experience and pursue in our thirties.

One of those 30-year-old birthday friends is Callie of Luv Cooks (her special day is quickly approaching in October!) and we decided to round out our series of culinary posts (see parts one, two and three) with a birthday celebration! Not only do we have a sprinkle cake that would bless any celebratory heart, but we also made our own top ten list of why we think 30 is awesome! If you’re in your thirties, looking forward to your thirties, or well beyond that decade, we hope this list reminds you of the sweet gifts that come with every new stage of life. Wherever you are, bake up this cake, sprinkle it to your heart's delight and celebrate the gift of today.

Top 10 Reasons why we think 30 is awesome:
See if you can guess which ones are mine and which ones are Callie's! 

1.  CONFIDENCE- Your thirties bring a new confidence in who you are, what you want, and the comfort to go out and get it.

2. FUN- I don't know about y'all, but I am so ready to enter into one of the most fun seasons of my life. I am finally at the point where the things that used to stress me in my 20's (ahem, frizz, breakouts, exams, breakups, setting dish towels on fire while cooking blue box macaroni and cheese) have finally loosened their grip and I am ready to go full-throttle into a life of joy, laughter, and FUN. Taylor Swift albums? Latest YouTube video about an owl and a cat who are BFF? Late night crafting with girlfriends? Listened. Watched. Sewed.  You know why? B/c life is amazing and oh so fun.

3. GIVING BACK- At thirty you feel more grounded in your life experiences and like you have more to give back to others.

4. SELF ACCEPTANCE- This point is similar to the FUN one, except a bit deeper. Alright foodies, go with me on this: I think as we grow up, we realize, and own the fact, that how we are made is uniquely wonderful. For years, I've struggled with feeling like too much and not enough at the same time. Finally, I am making peace with that feeling. I am who I am, and pray that I grow daily into the woman I am supposed to be. Can I get an amen everybody?!

5. SOPHISTICATION- Thirty is a sophisticated age. Just try saying, “Hello, I’m thirty.” and you’ll understand what we mean.

6. PURPOSE- I am SUCH a believer that everyone has a greater purpose in this life. Whether it's baking for your neighbors down the street, saving lives, encouraging your friends- everything we do for other people matters. And I'm realizing that my purpose in life is much too important to let fear of failure and fear of other people's opinions run the show. It's time to rise on up, put your big girl pants on, and live out the way you were made to bless this earth.

7. CONTENTMENT- You no longer feel like you “should be out doing something fun” instead of what you really want to be doing, which is spending a Friday night in with pizza, ice cream and Netflix.

8. ADVENTURE- Travel has been on my bucket list for years, and it's about time I start the journey. To be honest, life as a freelancer and blogger is not the most lucrative of careers, BUT this wanderlust has made me rethink how I spend my income. I think that's part of turning 30 too; clarifying financial needs/wants. Because as much as I want that pumpkin spice latte every morning, is it really worth my eventual trip to Paris? Umm, no. Cafe and croissants here we come, amis!

9. BUILDING- After stepping out of the whirlwind that can often be your twenties, your thirties are a time where you get to really build upon the things that are important to you, whether that is your career, a family, creative outlets, a home, or a new adventure! 

10. FRIENDSHIPS- And speaking of amis (French word for friends, I learned that this morning), it took me 29 years to realize just how important friends are. I want my 30th year to be one of renewed commitment to the ones I love; the ones who have stood by me, and the ones I couldn't imagine my life without. They have become my family, and I want to not only treat them just as fabulously as they have treated me, but figure out small ways to show them I'm grateful for their kindness, prayers, love and bouts of unrestricted belly laughter.

I would love to know one of your top reasons why the age you're at is awesome!

Sprinkle Cake recipe

Oh, and the featured "essential kitchen tool" for this post is a celebratory heart! Through this culinary journey with Callie, I've learned that what truly makes work in the kitchen special is your heart for the people you're serving.

For the cake (Recipe taken and adapted a bit from King Arthur Flour):

What You Will Need:

       2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend

       1 2/3 cups sugar

       1 tablespoon baking powder

       3/4 teaspoon salt

       3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

       4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg

       1 cup almond milk

       2 teaspoons vanilla extract

       1 teaspoon almond extract

       neon pink gel food coloring

What you Will Do:

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8" x 2" or 9" x 2" round pans; by greasing and flouring; or lining with parchment, then greasing the parchment. Note: Make sure your 8" round pans are at least 2" deep; if they're not, use one of the other pan options. 

2) Mix all of the dry ingredients on slow speed to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the temperature of the butter, how much it's mixed, and granulation of the sugar used.

3) Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the structure of the cake. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Make sure and scrape here!

4) In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, 1/3 at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Keep on scraping!

5) Pour the first half of the vanilla batter evenly into each cake pan. With the remaining batter, add a few drops of food coloring, and beat in the mixer until you reach your desired level of pinkness. 

6) Now, using  spoon, drop dollops of the pink batter on top of the vanilla batter, in a circular pattern, using the same amount of large dollops (about two tablespoons) in each pan. Then, using a toothpick or wooden skewer, swirl the pink batter into the vanilla batter until it is well distributed (it took me about thirty seconds of swirling). So pretty!

7.) Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for 8" or 9" rounds. A toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean when done. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan, (careful, the pans are hot!), cool on a rack, and frost. 

For the frosting, I adapted this recipe a bit from All Recipes:

What You Will Need:

       1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

       2 cups confectioner's sugar

       2 tablespoons almond milk 

       a few drops neon pink food coloring (depending on your level of pinkness here too)

What you Will Do:

1      Cream room temperature butter with the the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until fully incorporated. 

Pour in milk and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add food coloring, and beat for thirty seconds until smooth or until desired color is reached.

You are now ready to celebrate and enjoy!