The post office and store in Tanana, Alaska. Photo: Pat York

Alaska Natives bring communities together with unique recipes made from cake mix

Cake brings Alaska Native communities together, The New York Times reports.

Cake mix is easily found in many rural Native villages because it tends to last longer on store and kitchen shelves. But with milk and eggs sometimes in short supply, bakers add their own indigenous touches to the recipes, blending salmonberries, sea gull eggs and even whale meat into their recipes and presentations, the paper said in a report from Julia O'Malley, a third-generation Alaskan.

“I mixed orange Jell-O with two cups of bright orange salmonberries. I poured it on top of that cake and I threw it in the fridge,” Donna Erickson of Unalakleet, an Inupiat village, told the paper of one of her popular concoctions. “People were just like, ‘Wow, can you make that again for me?’”

Cakes also represent more than just food. They are used as prizes in fundraisers, also known as cake walks, to help pay for medical, educational and other types of projects.

For those wishing to enjoy a taste of Alaska Native cake, The Times has published a recipe for Mom’s Famous Rum Cake , which comes from the mother of Cynthia Erickson, the owner of the only grocery store in Tanana, an Athabascan village.

Read More on the Story:
In Alaska’s Far-Flung Villages, Happiness Is a Cake Mix (The New York Times September 17, 2017)