It is that time of year for Alaskans to celebrate one of Anchorages longest and most traditional “Alaskan” times…. the Fur Rondy Festival http://www.furrondy.net/ proceeded by the Iditarod Race https://iditarod.com/ . So, what EXACTLY is Fur Rondy? Here is what we learned. The name “Fur Rendezvous” derives from swap meets where fur trappers would gather to sell their winter harvests.
Vern Johnson is considered to be the father of Fur Rendezvous. In the 1930’s Vern and other residents established a winter festival as a community event to run in tandem with the miners and trappers coming into town with the winters furs and such to be traded or sold. It was a real celebration of which most residents of Anchorage turned out for. At the time Anchorage was a fraction of the size the city is now with only around 3,000 people living in the “city”.
Bread Pudding and Fur Rondy
Many ask “how would a bakery celebrate an event like Fur Rondy and the Iditarod Race”? Like any celebration, cAKe should ALWAYS be involved! With a little research we learned one of the popular desserts in the 1930’s was Bread Pudding. You see, what else was happening in the 1930’s? The Great Depression. A time with limited ingredients and families never threw anything out that could be re-purposed into something else. What better thing to do than take your old, dried out bread and mix it into your cake batter to extend it. Innovative right? Well today here at cAKe we do the exact same thing. We rarely throw out ANYTHING away. Pastry Chef Will McDonald insist we re-purpose what we can to avoid wasting materials and ingredients.
cAKe does Bread Pudding at Fur Rondy
From this, one of the more popular items we carry in our case is our bread pudding. How do we go about? You know when you frost a cake and you cut off the tops to make it flat? Well, most toss those away. Not us, we keep it. Many ask us what do we do with left over cupcakes of the day? We take off the delicious buttercream frosting and toss the bases into our scrap bucket with the tops of the cakes. It all goes into a mixer and gets mixed together with whatever ingredients Pastry Chef Will deems is appropriate and VIOLA! Bread Pudding many people time and time again rave about while enjoying another new Alaskan favorite; Uncle Leroy’s http://www.uncleleroyscoffee.com/ Italian roast blend we use for our espresso. These two items complement each other to near perfection.
Modern day Fur Rondy has continued its tradition of bringing Alaskans together even some 85 years later. We LOVE seeing our community come out and support each other. Many stopping into our store for a hot beverage or a treat such as our bread pudding. Our hand decorated husky cookies have also become one of Anchorages new favorites. Made fresh and hand decorated, our shortbread cookies are made with real butter, not hydrogenated oils or other butter substitutes. Our cookies are decorated with royal icing and creative imagination by our baker Sean. We love to display his cookies as a form of local art.
Commonly known as “The Last Great Race on Earth,” the Iditarod Race first began running in 1973. The “ceremonial start” begins in Anchorage and the mushers complete the race in Nome, Alaska. This Last Great Race runs for over 1000 miles and is ran in 10 to 15 days!
What is nice about the Iditarod Race? For start it is truly amazing to see these dogs be so EXCITED and EAGER to make their run. The yips and howls say it all. Second, it again draws not only Alaskans to see the race but is a huge boost for the state with tourism with people visiting from all over the world. We love showing the world even here in Anchorage, they can find decadence in desserts most are accustomed to having in larger metropolitan cities. We are the only bakery in the State of Alaska to offer a silk dessert reminiscent of coming from a fine French Pâtissier.
You may ask “what is a silk dessert”? In essence, it is what most people think of as a solid pudding or a mousse but is a combination of chocolate, butter, eggs and heavy cream we can mold into various shapes and flavor combinations. They truly exemplify Alaskan decadence on this worldwide stage.
Lastly the nicest thing about Iditarod is the knowledge spring is right around the corner, which brings the “breakup” and the SUN. We hope you will come by and see us inside the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall and say hello over the next two weeks. We love meeting people in our community and from abroad while making sure you have a sweet experience at cAKe!