Food and Drink

A farewell and an almond-ricotta sheet cake to end all sheet cakes

I’ve been writing this food column for five years this week. Five years amounts to hundreds of recipes, photographs and words. When I started writing for ADN, those initials stood for Anchorage Daily News, then the name changed, then eventually reverted back again. When I started writing for ADN, Obama was president and Walker had just become governor. When I started this column, same-sex marriage wasn’t yet legal in all 50 states. A lot has changed. I kept making food through it all. When I started this column, I was a home cook with young kids and a food blog. Today, I’m the head chef of a restaurant, with teenagers and a published cookbook. I kept making food through it all.

I’ve decided that my five-year anniversary is the right time to take a step back. It’s been a solid run and I’m so very grateful to the readers and the staff at ADN for giving my food and my voice a home here. I’ll still be around and you may see me pop up from time to time. And by all means, stop by the restaurant if you’re in the Soldotna area. In parting, I leave you with the sheet cake to end all sheet cakes.

This ricotta almond sheet cake is my favorite and if I ever write another cookbook, this will likely be in it. Tuck this recipe away and make it for gatherings.

A lot will change. Let’s keep making food through it all.

Almond-ricotta glazed sheet cake

Makes 12 servings


1/2 cup water

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup whole milk ricotta

1 egg

1 teaspoon almond extract

For the glaze:

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons milk

1 2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch sheet pan or baking pan. To a small saucepan, add the water and butter. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. In the meantime, to a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl, stir together the ricotta, egg and almond extract until combined. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. When the butter and water have come to a boil, add it to the mixing bowl and whisk briskly until a batter forms. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl. Bake for 18-20 minutes until set in the center and golden on the edges. While the cake is baking, make the glaze. To the same small saucepan, add the butter and the milk. Cook over medium heat until the butter is completely melted. Add the powdered sugar and almond extract, whisking until smooth. Keep warm. When the cake is done, pour the warm glaze over the warm cake. The glaze will set as it cools. Cool the cake before slicing into 12 squares.