Little Sister Kitchen Goes (Mid)west!


One week ago,  Sam and I loaded all our worldly possessions into our car and said goodbye to the East Coast. After a brief stop in New Hope, Pennsylvania, we drove  14 hours straight, all the way to Madison, Wisconsin. We snacked on flaming hot Cheetos that turned our fingers an alarming shade of red, listened to hours of Harry Potter and S-Town, communicated in fake languages, and made too many bad puns to count.

As rolling green hills made way for farmland, the sky got bigger and we could see the rain coming a mile off. We drank sickly-sweet Frappuccinos, mastered the art of cruise-control, and crossed the border into Michigan just to say we did. We ate the worst meal of our lives in South Bend, Indiana, blasted the Dixie Chicks, and watched the sun set over Chicago. 

We watched with disbelief as our remaining time winnowed slowly from 18 hours to under an hour to 20 minutes, and then we were crossing the Mississippi and pulling up to our new apartment.

That first night my sister and brother in law brought takeout Indian food. We spread a beach towel out on the floor and drank wine out of mugs. My niece careened around the empty, echoing living room, trailing Basmati rice and trilling with joy. My sister passed me a bite of garlicky naan and Minneapolis already felt like home.

Naturally, I started baking while our whole apartment was still in disarray, with boxes everywhere and no furniture to speak of. I wanted to test out a vegan cake, in honor of my dearest friend Kiara, who just so happens to be a vegan-yogi-goddess-rock star, and who is getting married next week!

The simple lemon cake recipe from BBC Good Food yields a surprisingly light and airy crumb (yes, I am becoming Mary Berry) and is a simple enough canvas for a more decadent filling. For the latter, I used Minimalist Baker’s recipe for vegan lemon curd, which is made from coconut cream and gives the cake a little tropical twist. Make sure not to let the curd boil—just get it to bubble gently—or it won’t thicken properly. Mine ended up way too runny, but was delicious all the same!


This frosting recipe, from Loving It Vegan, resulted in a more of a glaze, which was actually fantastic. If kept in the fridge, the whole cake tastes like a perfectly-glazed, lemon-curd filled doughnut…that just happens to be vegan?!

Yes, please!

Little Sister Links:

  1. There are at least 1,000 reasons I love living in the same city as my sister. One of them is this podcast that she recommended.
  2. Being in the Midwest has me craving fresh corn, and I want to celebrate the last of the season with this foolproof salad from Ina Garten.
  3. On our second night in the twin cities, Sam and I ate here and experienced paprika-brown-butter-whipped-crispy-fried-chickpea-adorned hummus nirvana.
  4. What cookbooks are you loving lately? All of mine are currently still in a box being used as a coffee table, but here’s one I have my eye on.
  5. Quick, someone talk me off the ledge and out of buying this ridiculously overpriced (yet arguably practical?) kitchen mat!

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