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Aurora Borealis

“First stay at a B&B. We will use them more from now on.”
—JT, Manvel TX

Mary's Stories

Published June 3, 2009 in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

Our family story of how and why we came to Alaska is similar to that of many others who came from across the country for a short adventure (to work, with the military, etc.) and never left. We moved to Alaska in 1977 on a two year contract with no intension of staying. Thirty-two years later I find myself still here and calling Fairbanks home.

My daughter, who was five when we arrived, left Fairbanks at eighteen headed to college in the south. After graduation, a master’s degree, and a couple of years working, she decided to open a restaurant in a small rural town in Georgia. One afternoon as she was closing between lunch and dinner, a young man walked in and asked if he could get a sandwich to go. He explained that he had just graduated from college and had been visiting relatives in the south before heading to Washington, DC to start work.

She noticed the young man was wearing a baseball cap with the letters W&L. She recognized the lettering as the university where her younger brother had recently graduated from law school and asked if he had attended Washington & Lee in Virginia. A little surprised, the young man answered yes but added he was not from Virginia; he was from Alaska.

She too was a little surprised. After telling him she was from Fairbanks she asked him where in Alaska he had grown up. His response was a small town she probably had never heard of. Pressed, he said he was from Kake. She told him she actually knew a girl from Kate that had been her room mate when they attended Girl’s State at UAF during high school. He asked the girl’s name. My daughter said her response was as if someone had thrown a pitcher of ice water on him. He quietly answered, that’s my sister.

To his response my daughter added, did your uncle get you a job? He sheepishly nodded yes. He, his sister, and the uncle in DC were all named Chaney. My daughter had her own adventure far away from home but shortly after finishing law school returned to Alaska, as did her younger brother. No matter whether you are in state or outside, you should be careful when talking about fellow Alaskans. You have no idea how many times I have told this true story at the B&B as an example of how small Alaska actually is. For all the folks in Kake, here is a Cake recipe that was a favorite at the restaurant.

Angle Food Strawberry-Cream Cake

  • 1 angel food cake, baked or bought
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 12 oz can condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of confectionery sugar
  • 6 whole fresh strawberry
  • chocolate syrup, optional

Cut off the top of the cake one inch from the top using a bread or serrated cake knife and set aside. Now cut a tunnel in the top of the cake (the bottom portion). Make two cuts one inch from the edge of each side of the cake and two inches deep to form an empty tunnel. Tear and remove the cake inside the tunnel and tear it into bite side pieces.

Use an electric mixer and a large bowl to beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the condensed milk and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add in the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon of almond extract. By hand, gently fold in the cakes pieces and strawberries. Spoon the mixture into the tunnel of the hollowed out cake. Place the cake top on to the bottom. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, whip the cream until it begins to form peaks. Add ½ teaspoon of almond extract and confectionery sugar. Whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Slice the cake using a bread knife and place slices on plates. Garnish each slice with a large dollop of whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired.

763 7th Avenue,
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701

(907) 451-6649
Toll Free 1-888-451-6649
Fax (907) 474-8448
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