Birthday Wishes

Today is my little brother’s birthday.

He is twenty years old today, twenty years of laughing, learning, growing, and thriving with every curve-ball thrown his way. He’s more than my blood, he’s my lifelong friend. It hasn’t always been easy, in fact sometimes it was downright hard. I was bossy. He was stubborn. We’ve both grown up a lot since the days of our backseat bickering, and our relationship has been in constant evolution to become something I cherish with all my heart.

Austin, I love you so much! Your visit this past weekend was a much needed tonic.

These are my birthday wishes for you this year:

Trust your intuition. When everything is a mess, get quiet, and just listen. You know what to do. Take chances on love. Girls are confusing. They have no idea what they want. We’re all trying to figure this thing out. Love ‘em anyway. Choose Joy. Rugby. Trivia Night. Whatever. Life is short, keep doing the things that make you happy. Take a ginger or turmeric supplement. Okay, I’m trying to sneak this in here. They help with inflammation. For your back, (cough) rugby. Spend more time at the ocean. The cure to everything is salt water. This is coming from someone who spent four months on a boat. Trust me. Buy a journal. And use it. Write stuff down, get it out, no erasing. Trust the process. Invest in an ice cream maker. Seriously. Your friends will love you. Screw the system. You’re more than just a number. Get out there and experiment. Ask for help. Find a mentor. There are people who want to capitalize on your potential. Pray. Call it what you want, God, The Universe, Nature, Hayden, Hare Krishna, I don’t  care. They’re waiting. Ready to listen. Plan an adventure. Hit the road. explore. Go alone. Pack a Clif Bar. Don’t stop dreaming the big dreams. Remember underwater roller-coasters?  Let your mind wander and keep dreaming. Keep loving. “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” You rock at this. Keep loving. Keep giving.

August Birthdays call for something light and fresh. Alice recommends that leftovers be toasted the next day.

Alice Waters’ Angel Food Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream and Orange Zest 

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Sift together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt.

In a medium bowl or in a stand mixer with the whip attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Whisk in the water, lemon juice, and cream of tartar. Keep whisking until the foam is very soft, holds a slight shape, and has increased 4 to 5 times in volume. Whisk in the final 3/4 cup of sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture forms glossy, soft peaks. The mixture should not be stiff or dry. Sift a fine layer of the dry ingredients over the whites, and fold them in with a rubber spatula, gently and quickly. This is easier with four hands. Call a neighbor! Continue sifting and folding until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 10- by 4-inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When done the cake should spring back when touched gently. Invert the pan to keep the cake from sticking or deflating. (If the cake pan has legs, turn it over onto them, otherwise invert the tube pan onto the neck of a beer bottle.) Let cool.

To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife around the inside of the pan and around the center tube. Gently push up the bottom, using the knife to help guide the cake out, if necessary. Use a sharp serrated knife into water between cuts to help keep the cake from sticking.

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • orange zest (for the end)

With an eclectic mixer, combine heavy cream, vanilla, almond extract, and sugar on low. Increase speed to high and whip the mixture until it thickens to 2-3 times it’s size and is no longer a liquid. Top cooled cake with cream, strawberries, and zest of one orange.


  1. Melissa @ thefauxmartha

    Oh my goodness does this look tasty! Love that you put almond and orange zest in the whipped cream. Yum!


  2. la domestique

    Major warm fuzzies!


  3. Jacqui

    Beautiful. You sound like a wonderful big sister and your wishes to him are positive notes I think everyone can take along with them. Especially the one about the ice cream maker :)


  4. Snippets of Thyme

    Oh how I loved this post. The photography was so ethereal and matched your words to your brother perfectly. It almost brought tears to my eyes as I love watching the relationship grow between my teen son and daughter. They have so much in common and are slowly becoming each others friend. I love all of your tips to him. So wonderful.


  5. Pure2raw Twins

    Happy birthday to your brother.

    And yes never stop dreaming big!!!



  6. Fresh and Foodie

    You have the most thoughtful, beautiful blog, and this cake is just as beautiful. I love the simplicity of angel food cake — especially with freshly whipped cream. What a lovely birthday treat.


  7. sara

    so sweet, you are so wise. I wish you were my big sister :)


  8. Maria @ A Platter of Figs

    Aww… this is my first time visiting your blog and was deliciously surprised by this post. I have a younger brother, and oddly enough although we are not very close now, these are wishes I would still wish for him. Maybe it is time I give him a big ol’ hug and tell him how I wish nothing but the best in the world for him. Thank you for a beautiful post.


  9. Maria @ A Platter of Figs

    Aww, this is my first time visiting your blog and was deliciously surprised by this lovely post. I also have a younger brother and although we are not very close, oddly enough I would wish him all of these lovely wishes. Maybe it is time I give him a hug and tell him I think the world of him. Thanks for a beautiful post.


  10. Cookie and Kate

    Oh girl, do you know how much I love angel food cake? My grandmother bakes me one from scratch every Christmas, for my birthday.

    I love my two younger brothers dearly and, now that I’m thinking about it, I should tell them that more often. Thanks for the reminder. :)


  11. kellypea

    Absolutely lovely. Photos and recipe, words and loving advice. Very. My brother’s birthday was earlier this week, so we’re celebrating Sunday with his fave — a lemon meringue pie. I hope it’s light enough!


  12. the good soup

    You sound like such a big sister! I can say that because I sound like such a big sister as well. I love us. I mean really, what would the world do without our advice?

    I’ve been thinking about making an angel food cake for a while now. What did you do with all the egg yolks? My usual use for spare egg yolks is lemon curd, which may even go well with angel food cake? (I don’t know because I’ve never tried it!) But that’s a WHOLE LOT OF LEMON CURD. Maybe lemon curd and mayonnaise… I have to get over this egg yolk issue and just make the darn cake!


  13. Maria @ Scandifoodie

    Gosh I love these photos, the atmosphere and the cake! Just beautiful!


  14. Julia

    My little bro just turned 27 last month, WHOA, we’re getting OLD! haha. He’s in Japan (in the Air Force), so I didn’t get to spend his b-day with him, and this post totally makes me miss him. We’ve grown A TON! We still back seat bicker though 😉


  15. talley

    you have me dreaming of birthdays. There are some big birthdays coming up in my family and our favorite cakes are – angel food cake, spice cake and raspberry layer cake. Next birthday I’ll be sure to make this angel food cake. It looks magnificent. Thanks for a great post and lots of inspiration


  16. Maria @ Orchard Bloom

    Lovely post, and the cake looks delicious too.


  17. Happyolks. » Boyte Creative (the blog)

    […] Cake batter from :: Birthday Wishes […]

  18. Sara/Matchbox Kitchen

    Whoa! This looks pretty darn delicious. Toasting it the next day sounds really good too.


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