Pumpkin + Sage Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

IMG_2900

IMG_2912

 

IMG_2896

IMG_2906

IMG_2914

While Insta has proven to me that the ~hip~ people of the world have been spending their weekends partying in bunny costumes, I have spent mine doing laundry, petting my hedgehog, and watching Stranger Things.  *raises the roof*.  I just got back from Toronto, where my friend Stephen took me to all kinds of breweries, Niagara Falls, aaaaand (!!) I had poutine for the first time!  Where can I get poutine in Reno??  I need it more frequently in my life!  Usually when it comes to deep-frying foods at home, I dodge it like it’s hot (the messssss), but for poutine, I might be willing to pull out all the stops.  Or maybe I can rig it with some extra-crispy tater tots right out of the oven?  Canadians: would that be sacrilege??

On another note, I will be spending my Halloween night eating white chili with my cousins and taking the kids trick-or-treating!  I found an amazing vintage 1960s dress at a thrift store the other day that I was planning on utilizing in my costume, but now that I’ll be walking around in the cold weather, I’m thinking of pulling out my classic Rosie the Riveter costume and calling it a day.  It’s almost a tradition at this point after all.

IMG_2922

IMG_2928

IMG_2909

A couple of weeks ago, I surprised my parents for their birthdays by coming home from London a week earlier than I told them.  (Although, they did end up going on vacation for their birthdays, so I had to pretend I was still in England for a few extra days yikes!).  I showed up at their front door and rang the doorbell cake-in-hand.  They were so excited, we went to a delicious steakhouse for dinner, and then we celebrated with this cake for dessert!  It was exactly what I wanting, and they loved their birthday present (me, obvs).  This cake was the perfect addition: a lightly sweetened pumpkin cake with a touch of sage flavor and a sticky brown sugar icing that tastes faintly of caramel and butter.  It’s the perfect fall dessert and makes a great addition to a Halloween party or even a Thanksgiving dessert table (it has sage in it after all!).  Plus, you can decorate it like a pumpkin or turkey or something if you really want to make it festive.  Obviously, I went the easy way with a few sage leaves and a rustic ‘happy birthday’ sign.  Have a spooky night!


Pumpkin + Sage Cake with Brown Sugar Icing
Serves 6-8

*Cake is for High-Altitude baking.  Please refer to alternative measurements if you do not live at high-altitude!*

Cake Ingredients

1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. + 6 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder*
1/2 tsp. baking soda**
1 egg
1/2 c. Tbs. buttermilk
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350* F.  Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans.  Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a small bowl.  In a medium bowl, cream the brown sugar, sugar, egg, buttermilk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.  Add half of the flour mixture and half of the milk.  Then add the remaining flour mixture and milk.  Divide the batter between the two cake pans.

Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick shows a few crumbs.  Let the cakes cool.  Meanwhile prepare the icing (below).  Level each cake, and cut each cake in half so you have 4 even layers.  Spread frosting between each layer, stacking them until there are 4 cake layers.  Frost the outside of the cake.  Decorate as desired.

* Use 3/4 tsp. baking powder for regular-altitude recipes.
**Use 3/4 tsp. baking soda for regular-altitude recipes.

Icing Ingredients

1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. milk
1 3/4 – 2 c. powdered sugar

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add brown sugar.  Boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Cool to lukewarm – add milk.  Gradually add powdered sugar, and beat until thick.  If it becomes too stiff, add a little hot water to thin.  Frost over cake!

IMG_2903

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Atmosphere by Joy Division

 

 

Advertisements

Budapest 2017

IMG_4054

IMG_4086

budapest 1

IMG_4068

IMG_4072

IMG_4055

One of the best parts of traveling throughout so many countries was being unexpectedly and pleasantly surprised by cities I knew little to nothing about.  Enter Budapest, one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to!  I had a concert in London planned out for a random weekend in July, and I needed a place to visit for a few days in between Luzern and London, so off to Budapest I went – and I’m so glad I did!  Budapest is such an amazingly historic city filled with all kinds of nightlife, hip coffee shops, food, and culture.  I was there for only one full day, but I already can’t wait to go back!!

I stayed in a cute little airbnb with a loft bed – something I thought was a good idea until I had one too many limoncello shots at an Italian restaurant down the street courtesy of the owner who had a massive crush on me – in a great area of town near many of the most popular sites.  I rode on the oldest subway in Europe, ate TONS of paprikash, and bought a hedgehog toothpick holder!  I walked from Buda to Pest, saw all of the historic sites, paid tribute at the Shoes on the Danube Bank monument, and fell in love with a  coffee shop.  The people were so nice and welcoming, and I had the most beautiful day exploring such a cool city.  Budapest, I love love love love you!!

IMG_4056

IMG_4057

budapest 2

IMG_4070

IMG_4064


What to do!

  • Fisherman’s Bastion – a part of the old city that has beautiful architecture with an even more amazing view!
  • Hungarian Parliament Building – one of my favorite buildings to take pictures of in Budapest!  I didn’t tour it, but I would absolutely recommend looking around!
  • Hősök tere – a famous square that has tons of cool sculptures and places to walk around.
  • Matthias Church – right next to Fisherman’s Bastion, so you can either take a tour, or just look at the detailed architecture.
  • Chain Bridge – this bridge connects Buda to Pest, has great views, and is a quick walk across and back!
  • Shoes on the Danube monument – a heartbreaking, yet beautiful, monument built to remember the Jews who were shot in the Danube River during WWII.  It’s not a common touristy visit but definitely important.
  • Ride the oldest metro – Budapest is home to the oldest subway, (Line 1!) and while it may not be the coolest thing to do in Budapest, it’s still fun to see the old railway cars and subway stops.
  • Borlap – a somewhat touristy restaurant, although I noticed plenty of locals there as well!  Their chicken paprikash was my favorite meal I ate in Budapest, and they also had yummy aperol spritzes!  They are also located right near plenty of other great bars!
  • Kaffeine – a very impressive coffee shop over in Buda that has delicious espresso drinks as well as pour-overs yay!  The baristas know their shhhtuff, and they have a Black Eagle espresso machine!  The street it’s located on had some other great restaurants and shops I wish I had time to check out.

IMG_4081

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: Take it Easy – Triathalon

 

Interlaken + Luzern 2017

IMG_3976

IMG_4031

IMG_4019

interlaken1

IMG_4040

IMG_4010

IMG_3935

After having the loveliest couple of weeks in Italy, I took a train from Milan to Interlaken, Switzerland.  It was honestly probably one of the most beautiful rides of my journey – taking a train through the Burnese Oberlands was incredible, especially cozied up in a cute carriage with a cup of tea in my hands.  10/10 recommend.

On top of the amazing train ride, Interlaken itself was one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been – everything looks like a Christmas card, and I seriously can’t imagine what it must look like in the snow!  A holiday dream, I’m sure.  Everything is so close that I spent my entire time strolling around the town visiting cute restaurants and walking along the river, which I swear, must be colored with blue no. 1.  Plus, after spending so many days sweating my balls off in France and Italy, I was stoked to be in a colder climate wearing – get this – a coat in July!  I found a cute little café playing Leonard Cohen, and even though the waitress thought I was insane, I drank tea in the rain and watched people walk along the river.  One day, I wanted to be outside and see a view of the city – I decided to forgo taking the fernicular to the top of the mountain, but ended up following a trail nearby that brought me to the most beautiful little clearing where I saw a view of the entire town as well as the neighboring areas.  I went in my ankle boots, which were not the ideal shoes for a hike, but when in Rome (Interlaken)!

IMG_3948

IMG_3986

interlaken2

IMG_3955

IMG_4041

After Interlaken, I took another train over to Lucerne where I stayed in the prettiest Airbnb that was just a five minute walk from the lake!  I saw Old Town and the Kapellbrucke, dined on sunny patios, and visited cute local shops.  I spent my nights watching the sunset while sitting on the beach.  Behind me, locals hung out on the grass drinking, bbqing, playing games, smoking, and laughing.  At dinner, I would eat cordon bleu with mayonnaisey french fries and hoppy, local beer.  I also spent a lot of time hanging out in a specialty coffeeshop called Café Tacuba, where the owner let me use his espresso machine and even taught me how to roast coffee!  All of his coffee comes from farms his friends and family own in El Salvador, and he always had the nicest people hanging around the shop for me to make friends with!  It was the coolest.

IMG_3933

IMG_3993

IMG_4036

IMG_3992

IMG_4030

luzern1

IMG_4011


Things to check out in Interlaken:

  • Ladelokal – the cute little café along the river. It’s perfect for a cup of coffee or tea, and they have nice pastries as well!
  • Maharaja Indian – delicious chana masala and roti!
  • Restaurant El Azteca – so, I wouldn’t recommend going all the way to Switzerland if you’re in the mood for really good Mexican food. However, if you’re from Mexico, the American west coast, or anywhere else where delicious, authentic Mexican food is around every corner, this was one of the best Mexican restaurants I found in Europe!
  • Take a quick hike! – if you go near the fernicular, you’ll see a little trail off to the side. Take it, walk past the “zoo”, and you’ll eventually reach a point on the trail where there’s a little clearing.  There’s some nice picnic tables and an amazing view of the town!  If you want a longer hike, you can go all the way up to the top for a panoramic view!
  • Walk along the river – there’s so many incredible views to see walking along the river. Get a coffee or tea and walk around the entire town.  It’s amazing.

And in Lucern:

  • Café Tacuba – obviously, I’ve already crushed hard on this place. It was the first specialty coffee I had in over 2 weeks, and I was excited!!
  • Mirch Masala Indian – there’s a very lovely patio and delicious vegetarian Indian food!
  • Old Town – cute shops and cafes with outdoor seating!
  • Visit the beach – there’s a park right next to Lake Luzern that has a great beach area although there’s plenty of places to sit along the lake! It was my favorite spot to hang out after dinner, and the view is stunning!

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: I Warned You by Good Morning

 

Venice + Lake Como 2017

IMG_3892

IMG_3908

IMG_3920

IMG_3926

Are you guys tired of seeing my Italy posts?  It was one of my longest trips (besides London), so I have a lot of material (and this is without sharing so many photos, and I’m not even writing about Lucca/Milan, because they were quick trips, but still.  That’s how much Italy stuff I have).  However, I’m just going to keep telling myself that no one is sick of my Italy posts yet, because not loving Italy is something I can’t quite comprehend.

Anyways, after San Gimi, I went over to Venice.  I was only there for one night – I actually was supposed to go for two nights, but my mom called me and told me that she recommended that I stay in San Gimi another night, because Venice is absolutely mad crazy busy with tourists in the summer.  I’m so glad I stayed in San Gimi another night, although I did still have lots of fun during my night in Venice!  I still can’t quite get over staying in a town on top of a giant pool of water – my train went right over it, and then my mom picked me up at the station and we waited like, ½ an hour for a water bus, and how weird are water busses?!  After, we walked around Venice for hours looking at pretty masks and all of the buildings.  Pro-tip: If it’s June in Venice, the sidewalks will be so packed you literally cannot walk more than a couple steps at a time.  If you’re not patient, like yours truly, it’s maddening.  A local told me the best time to go would be in late April-early May.  Anyone have any tips on this?  I’d love to visit again!

IMG_3914

IMG_3899

IMG_0861

IMG_3906

IMG_3903

Also!  If you get a chance to get out at night after all the tourists have gone to bed, Venice is so amazing!  I got super lost, ate some ice cream, and saw some of the most beautiful sites.  That was by far the best part of Venice in my opinion.  After I got back to my hotel, my mom snuck me into the hotel room, and I shared a bed with one of my aunts and my mom.  It was a squishy night for sure.

After Venice, we took a train ride over to Milan where we saw the Duomo!  So, so gorgeous.  Also, we found a really lovely restaurant that we ended up at twice!  However, the highlight of the Milan trip was our little day-trip to Lake Como.  We took the funicular up to the top of the mountain and ate at the loveliest restaurant, and I had the BEST roast with polenta.  Then we took a boat trip around the lake and got gelato, and it was a perfect day!  All in all, such a lovely day trip and a nice way to end my stay in Italy!

IMG_3888

IMG_3923

IMG_3890

IMG_3921


Some fun things to see in Lake Como/Milan (honestly I wasn’t in Venice very long, and I can’t even remember the name of the only restaurant I ate at.  Sorry!)

  • Boat Ride – Take a boat ride around the lake – we found the hour long tour was plenty! Then, get some gelato across the street from the boat station!
  • Fernicular – the fernicular goes to the top of the mountain in Lake Como and has absolutely the most stunning views and some cute shops! Definitely go if you can.
  • Ristorante Bellavista – this restaurant is located on the top of the mountain in Lake Como which you can get to by hiking or taking the fernicular. The beef + polenta dish was amaaaazzzzzininininggg!!!
  • Ristorante Il Tavolino – Our favorite restaurant in Milan we went to twice! The waiters were very sweet and got us way drunk on limoncello shots both nights!
  • Frank – a nice cocktail bar in Milan! Good whiskey!

xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Creature Comfort by Arcade Fire