Few desserts capture the imagination and culinary artistry like Baked Alaska. This spectacular dessert combines the contrasting elements of fire and ice, resulting in a visual and taste sensation that never fails to impress. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of preparing a classic Baked Alaska, complete with a luscious cake base, ice cream filling, and a perfectly toasted meringue exterior.
For the Cake Base:
- 1 pre-made sponge cake or brownie layer (homemade or store-bought)
- 1/4 cup raspberry or strawberry jam (optional)
For the Ice Cream Layer:
- 1 quart of your favorite ice cream (flavor of your choice)
- Plastic wrap
For the Meringue Topping:
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Heatproof serving platter
- Offset spatula
- Kitchen torch or broiler (oven with broiler function)
- Plastic wrap
1. Prepare the Cake Base:
- If using a store-bought cake or brownie, ensure it is at room temperature.
- If the cake has a domed top, level it with a serrated knife to create a flat surface.
- Place the cake on a heatproof serving platter.
2. Add the Jam (Optional):
- If you’d like to add a layer of jam for extra flavor, gently warm the jam in a microwave or on the stovetop until it’s easily spreadable.
- Spread a thin layer of jam evenly over the top of the cake. This step is optional but adds a delightful fruity touch.
3. Create the Ice Cream Layer:
- Line a bowl or round container that matches the size of your cake with plastic wrap, leaving excess plastic wrap hanging over the edges.
- Soften the ice cream slightly by letting it sit at room temperature for a few minutes. Then, scoop it into the lined container, pressing it down firmly to create an even layer.
- Fold the excess plastic wrap over the ice cream and place it in the freezer to harden for at least 2 hours or until it’s very firm.
4. Assemble the Baked Alaska:
- Once the ice cream is firm, remove it from the container using the plastic wrap overhangs.
- Carefully place the ice cream layer on top of the cake base, ensuring it’s centered.
- Return the assembled Baked Alaska to the freezer while you prepare the meringue.
5. Make the Meringue:
- In a clean, dry mixing bowl, using a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk the egg whites on low speed until they become frothy.
- Add the cream of tartar to stabilize the meringue.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium and gradually add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks.
- Mix in the vanilla extract until well incorporated.
6. Cover the Baked Alaska with Meringue:
- Remove the Baked Alaska from the freezer.
- Working quickly, spread the meringue evenly over the entire cake and ice cream, making sure to seal the edges completely to trap the ice cream inside.
- Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to create decorative peaks in the meringue.
7. Toast the Meringue:
- There are two methods to toast the meringue: using a kitchen torch or the broiler function in your oven.Using a Kitchen Torch:
- Carefully use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue by moving the flame back and forth over the surface. Hold the torch about 2-3 inches away from the meringue.
- Continue until the meringue is evenly browned to your liking. Be cautious not to burn it.
Using the Broiler:
- Preheat your oven’s broiler function.
- Place the Baked Alaska on an oven-safe tray and position it under the broiler.
- Keep a close eye on it, as the meringue can brown quickly. Rotate the tray if necessary for even browning.
- Once the meringue is golden brown, remove the Baked Alaska from the oven.
8. Serve Immediately:
- Slice and serve your Baked Alaska immediately while the meringue is still warm and the ice cream is cold.
- Enjoy the harmonious contrast of the toasted meringue, velvety ice cream, and the cake’s soft base.
9. Garnish (Optional):
- For a finishing touch, you can garnish with fresh berries, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, or a dusting of powdered sugar.
10. Revel in the Culinary Triumph:
- As you and your guests savor each mouthful of this delightful dessert, take a moment to appreciate the magic of Baked Alaska—a dessert that marries fire and ice in a heavenly union of flavors and textures.
Baked Alaska is not only a dessert; it’s a culinary spectacle that leaves a lasting impression. This recipe allows you to recreate this iconic dessert in your own kitchen, impressing friends and family with your pastry prowess. So, gather your ingredients, unleash your inner dessert artist, and enjoy the sweet extravagance that is Baked Alaska.