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Food and Drink

How Alaska eats: Cake wreck confessions

  • Author: Julia O'Malley
  • Updated: March 15, 2019
  • Published March 15, 2019
This blood orange-thyme snack cake is easier than it looks. (Julia O'Malley/ADN)

Newsletter #

Every year about this time I make a very easy gluten-free cornmeal cake with blood orange glaze, which was originally inspired by a blood orange-rosemary corn muffin recipe by Maya Wilson. My version has morphed into a different cake altogether. Sometimes I bake orange slices into the top, and it still uses Maya’s pink, blood-orange glaze. This year, when I was planning to make my blood-orange thyme cake, I envisioned it was going to be THE MOST GORGEOUS CAKE EVAR.

I baked it extra carefully, and then, in what I thought was a brilliant idea, I used a mandoline to make paper-thin orange slices and I arranged them like scales on the top of the glazed cake. Sure, they were a little messy, but I thought they looked “organic.” I thought the cake looked beautiful. I really did. It wasn’t until the sobering light of the next day, when I showed to the photos of it to other people, that I realized it was, in fact, like a pastry version of a murder scene. There’s a reason they are called blood oranges. (Tasted great though.) So I baked it again. And, since I’m confessing, here’s cake wreck No. 2: If you read the recipe in print, it omits the thyme. For that, I am truly sorry. (Picks self up, dusts self off. Eats another piece of cake.)

Salmon noodle casserole (Kim Sunee)

What’s for dinner tonight? Is it frozen salmon again? How about trying Kim Sunee’s salmon-noodle casserole? Or, if you’re looking for something special, you could whip up my salmon pot pie? Maybe a pear and pomegranate salad to go with it?

Spinach salad with pear and pomegranate. (Maya Wilson/ Alaska from Scratch)

Those looking to eat out will be interested to know that Mara Severin tried the Chinese food at Jimmy’s Asian Food in East Anchorage and has a detailed analysis. Here’s her photo of the Sichuan street food classic: Dan Dan noodles.

[Read previous newsletters here. Find more Alaska recipes here.]

Dan Dan noodles at Jimmy's Asian Food restaurant in Anchorage come with minced pork, smoky chili oil, and scallions. (Mara Severin)

Food was in the news a bunch this week. Tegan Hanlon wrote about what Iditarod mushers eat on the trail. (I so want Aliy Zirkle’s granola bar recipe!) Annie Zak’s told us what genetically engineered salmon (that are reared in tanks in the Midwest) mean for Alaska. If you don’t already, support local cooking and local food news and subscribe. Have questions or suggestions for me? Email!

Here’s hoping your cake looks better than my cake.